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Thursday, March 11, 2010 01:46 am

March marches on

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Antje Duvekot plays the Bedrock 66 Live! concert series at the Hoogland Center for the Arts.

Here comes the middle of March with the most famous Ides of all, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and other assorted diversions, the best of all being a feeling of spring in the air. As an astute observer of nature shared with me on Sunday, “Wow, you can smell the world getting warmer,” and I couldn’t agree more.

Ben Bedford
First and foremost let’s send well wishes to Ben Bedford, Springfield’s rising star in the singer-songwriter world. The up and comer, presently doing concerts in Europe (check out www.benbedford.com to follow the daily progress), plays on the continent until early next week and then finishes up in Britain. Kari Abate-Bedford joins her husband and singing partner for the shows in merry old England. I mention this partly because Ben and Kari are dear friends, but mostly because they are the only musicians I know from central Illinois currently touring Europe and that is so cool.

One of the best shows of the week (perhaps the year) happens this Thursday night, so I hope you’re already going or are a punctual reader of Illinois Times. Antje Duvekot, a Boston-based singer-songwriter extraordinaire plays the Bedrock 66 Live! concert series at the Hoogland with Athens’ own Molly Mathewson opening. Describing Antje’s music takes too much time and does it too little justice, so just Google her name and click on the first thing you find. Be prepared to enjoy some enticingly dark, extremely uplifting, entirely beautiful music then come see the live performance.

On Saturday central Illinois begins a stretch of celebrating most things Irish with our annual St. Patrick’s Day Marching Band Parade. The event, rocked by severe natural catastrophes and your average nasty March weather in recent years, seems due for a mild and pleasant day, so let’s just plan on it shall we. Along with the Irish party comes music and drinking, two of the best-bequeathed benefits of the Celtic civilization. Check out Marly’s Pub at noon when The Emerald Underground Celtic-rocks out with a brand-new CD for sale and then from 4 to 6 the more traditional sounds of An Irish Band featuring Rick Dunham, Gene Acree, Theresa O’Hare, Becca Heathcoat and me as members of the extended Clancy Brothers family. There’s certain to be more Irish music around town (see TEU’s band spotlight on page 22) and I know the St. Andrew’s Society pipe and drum crew plus dancers are on the loose, so do what you can to be Celtic for at least a day, if not a lifetime.

Direct from our piano bar department, Ed Clark reports on the opening of Springfield’s “first real PIANO BAR in many years” (caps come from Ed). Apparently the new owners of the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel (previously the Renaissance) are clever enough to not only get a good deal on a hotel, but also to realize the coolness factor of hosting a piano bar. Ed tickles the ivories and takes requests in the Globe lounge on the lovely house grand piano every Thursday (6-9 p.m.) and Friday (8-11 p.m.) through May. Keep your ears and eyes open for more music at the Globe.

Budding funny folks should check out Tuesday nights at Bootlegger’s when comedian Alan Perry hosts an open mic for comics. Perry describes the event as “basically a writing and practice workshop to help develop material for road shows” where working comics can try out bits on a suspecting audience. Perry, who has always welcomed and encouraged newcomers to comedy “in a weird paternal way,” recently hosted a night downtown at Bar None where “a few people performed their very first comedy set.” Remember, as they say, “comedy is a serious business,” so come on out to practice the craft or just rehearse laughing. Any way, it should be a hoot.

Here’s a heads up for a show at Unity Church on Friday, March 19 (7-9 p.m.), featuring former Springfield resident and now Evanston-based performing songwriter Kristin Lems. Go online to check out her-story of performances and recordings, especially the nationally recognized work from the heady days of the ERA attempt. More on Kristin next week. Until then, Erin Go Bragh!

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com

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