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Thursday, March 11, 2004 04:52 am

Now playing 3-11-04

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Green Mountain Grass Underground City Tavern Friday, 10pm

Things are greening up outside a bit, just in time for the annual celebration of St. Patrick's Day. And to us in the nightlife (and daylife) business that means an excuse (like we need one) to hit the bars, down some suds, and catch tunes by the barrelful. As the luck o' the Irish would have it, Saturday is the parade and counts as round one -- still plenty of time to recover for the actual date on Wednesday. Isn't it wonderful? St. Patty's Day is one of the few holidays we get to celebrate twice.

On Saturday, Marly's Pub (of course) leads Celtic diversions with the Brownstone Buskers from Peoria sprinting off the blocks at noon, daring to go up against the 19th annual St. Patrick's Day Marching Band Parade. Stone Ring Circle, Springfield's Celtic rock revivalists, grab the baton from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Then hoping you've had enough or that you won't be able to tell the difference by that time, Roxschool forgets the Irish andruns for the finish with a romp through the rock & roll songbook from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Hey they probably do a U2 tune or two, right? Other than that you may be hard-pressed to find anything close to songs from the Emerald Isle in our fair city this week. On that note -- the folks at Lucky's on Second and Jefferson booked the Suns of Circumstance all afternoon on Saturday in hopes of entertaining leftover parade observers. It's also the grand opening of the bar this weekend. We wish the building good luck in its newest incarnation. Oh, if those walls could talk!

Now back up to Friday and get red -- Redd Skyy, that is, when the country rockers check into the State Bar and Grill. The hometown boys plus their Louisiana cohorts are getting entrenched in Nashville, coming closer to realizing some real success in the music biz. On March 21, they return to the Bluebird Café, one of the most prestigious and career-making nightclubs in Music City, USA. Make sure you pick up a copy of Naked in Memphis, their most recent CD and you might want to get it signed. You never know . . .

The Underground City Tavern is doing its part to get the green in with two bluegrass bands this weekend. Hey, it's a stretch, but you and I both know bluegrass is really green. To further confuse the issue, Friday's band is Green Mountain Grass and Saturday's is Broken Grass. And they say the grass is always greener on the other side of the bar. Or is that only during the Barstool Open? Next!

Of course, you could forget all this nonsense and go see Rachael Lee and Jazz Express at the Lime Street Café on Friday and Saturday. Ms. Lee is always good and always timely no matter what the color or the occasion.

Other delightful combos performing this weekend include BigFur at Dempsey's and House of Nasty at Docker's on Friday. Jill Manning is at Sun's Up Koffee Kafe in a CD sale celebration plus performance, and a mysterious dance band from Florida called For if the Flies floats into Jazz Central Station on Saturday. And a special notice for blues maniacs: Popa Chubby at the State Bar and Grill on Sunday.

Keep those Irish eyes smiling, Danny boy. It's all over, but the greening.

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