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Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009 01:39 am

Musical chairs if you dare

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While going over highlights for the upcoming week, I saw this crazy quilt of music happenings that just seemed to conversely fit together. Somehow I was drawn like a moth to the flame to present these diverse shows as one planned event, and then see what happens to the emotional stability of anyone who actually completes the mission.

First, let’s get ourselves to Norb Andy’s on Thursday night, when jazz saxophonist Frank Trompeter, accompanied by pianist Chris Miller, transforms into Frankie Rambelon, who without hesitation, but perhaps some self-deprecation, proclaims himself to be the “Finest Lounge Singer in all Sangamon County.” Trompeter, as his alter ego Rambelon, croons tunes from the Beatles, Eminem and other standards of a preposterous songbook while delving into the lost art of lounge singing, as previously practiced by such greats as Bill Murray, Richard Cheese and Will Ferrell.

Next on our absurdly abstract adventure, we detour to Taylorville’s Knights of Columbus Hall on Friday night for Metalfest 2009, presented by the Monday Night Metal radio program on WQNA 88.3 FM. Host Metal Chris (that would make him Emcee MC) promises the “most brutal show of 2009” with six bands for $5 starting at 6 p.m. My only suggestion would be to post the admission price as $6.66 just for fun, but with bands like Suffer the Wrath, What Thou Will, Grim, Us Against Them, Fallen Trinity and Wraith, it looks like that angle’s already covered, plus making change would suck. If it sounds like I’m poking fun, I’m not. These guys take their music seriously, or as Metal Chris puts it, they are, “going to tear the roof off of the KC hall. Be there or forever be a poser.” Have fun being brutal, boys.

There’s no better way to compliment a night of brutal metal than with a visit to the Sangamon Auditorium at UIS on Saturday at 8 p.m. for the Illinois Symphony Orchestra’s Mendelssohn Bicentennial performance, featuring music from the great Romantic composer of the 19th century. Works to be performed include Midsummer Night’s Dream, Scottish Symphony and, one of his most enduring pieces, the Violin Concerto in E Minor played with aplomb and virtuosity by ISO’s concertmaster Julieta Mihai.

Okay, Sunday is wind down day and here’s what we have on tap: How about checking out Stephen Tharp, a world-renowned, internationally respected organist who graduated from Illinois College in Jacksonville, performing at First Presbyterian Church at 2 p.m. Tharp’s incredible resume includes playing for the Pope (and 60,000 other people) during the Supreme Pontiff’s visit to New York City in 2008 and receiving high critical praise for his 2009 recording, The Complete Organ Works of Jeanne Demessieux. This guy is incredible and should not be missed.

Now, after that, we’ll take a break for the next couple days and conserve energy for the biggest party night of the year, Thanksgiving Eve. I’ll list the many and manic shows scheduled for that night in next week’s column, but here’s a heads up on the annual Harvest Hoedown held at the Illinois Theater in the Illinois Building on the fairgrounds behind the world’s tallest Abe Lincoln replica: Our old buddy Vince Herman from Leftover Salmon and St. Louis exports with Springfield roots, Alabaster Brown, headline the show with the Bourbon Bluegrass Band, Reel Channel Cats, and Luke Turasky Project filling out the bill. Get more info at www.myspace.com/harvesthoedownfestival.

This brings to a fulfilling and fanciful end our bit of genre-hopping that covered nearly a week of shows. I won’t be able to see any of these events because I get to work/play all weekend, but I’d be curious to know if anyone out there accomplishes this tour de goofy escapade of ridiculous proportions. If nothing else it would make for interesting stories around the Thanksgiving table next Thursday.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com
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