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Thursday, June 17, 2010 01:42 am

Mid-June gems of live music

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Cross Canadian Ragweed performs at the Sangamon County Fair June 18.

With so much to see and do where does one begin? I have no idea, but here is a bunch of cool and crazy things to do this week in no particular order, rhyme or reason other than what goes on in the grab bag inside my head.

The Sangamon County Fair kicks off this week with a truckload of live music both at the grandstand area and within the friendly confines of the beer tents. My favorite scheduled concert band is Cross Canadian Ragweed on June 18 because they rock hard and play for the sake of the music and I like that a lot. Proper titles of the commonly called beer tents are the Miller ROC House and the Budweiser Pavilion and the music offerings include the finest selection of local bands for your listening pleasure.

Another summertime standard in Sangamon County is the chicken fry. This event includes most importantly fried chicken, beer and bands, not necessarily in that order, and usually happens at a private club on Lake Springfield open to the public for the fry. This weekend the Firefighters lake club hosts a shebang of a shindig with Groove Daddies (and BBQ) on Friday and Screamin’ Vatos (and chicken) on Saturday. By the way, how would you spell the plural of chicken fry? Something to ponder while the band is on break, the chicken is digesting and you’re waiting in line for a beer.

Anybody who’s been to Norb Andy’s lately or at least tried to, surely noticed the street pulled a disappearing act. Part of the Capitol Street improvement project, the mess makes it a bit of a challenge getting to Norb’s. Proprietor/bartender Jeremy (he’s famous enough to have one name) takes it all in stride, literally, as he carries in supplies from a block away and practically, as he good- naturedly chalks up the work to needed civic progress. In the meantime he’s still booking exciting and interesting music, including our local Brazilian-inspired Samba Llamas on June 19 and Antioquia, a very cool band from the San Francisco Bay area on Tuesday, June 22. These California dreamers and social workers infuse rock-jazz jams into Colombian-based rhythms for an incredible dance and music experience. Plenty of parking is available on the street in all directions so please come and support Norb’s while listening to some fabulous live music.

And speaking of fabulous live music, Remy’s has done it again. A few weeks ago world-class entertainer and jazz vocalist Spider Saloff performed at the Monroe Street jazz club and now they’ve brought in another spectacular Chicago act for the weekend. Cecile Savage plays bass and sings plus leads the drums and piano accompanying her on an incredible journey of living jazz music. Partake in the catered meal first or come just for the music, but Springfield fans of superb vocal jazz should support and enjoy this wonderful experience.

For a special treat check out the Craig Russo Latin Project CD release event at Maya Fusion restaurant (1640 W. Jefferson) Sunday evening from 4 to 7. Come listen to A-list musicians perform jazz classics over Russo’s pulsing Cuban and Latin rhythms, enjoy the fine Mexican and Mayan styled food, participate in a tequila tasting and pick up a copy of the new CD. Sounds like a plan to me.

Also on Sunday, Parrots of the Caribbean, a tribute and salute to Jimmy Buffet, play the Hoogland at 7 p.m. Dave Albrecht, leader of the group, possesses an uncanny resemblance to Buffet and spent most of his adult life impersonating the singer-songwriter at venues in Branson, Las Vegas and across the country while eating many a cheeseburger in paradise.

Wow. And there are plenty more events going on around town, including a visit from LA band Venice coming up on June 26.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com

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