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Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 10:01 am

Various November varieties


The Aspect plays songs of the Beatles at Casey’s Pub, Fri., Nov. 16, at 8 p.m.

Every once in a while it’s fascinating to take a look at all the music out there in the big picture rather than focusing in on one subject. With all the happenings this weekend, plus the upcoming Thanksgiving feast of music next week, that once in a while is now.

First, what’s up with all the open mics? I made my meager living as a musician in the early 90s supplementing big gigs by hosting open mics during the weekday-off nights. There are many musicians out there still performing who I met as a host and while participating in other musicians’ open mics. I think it’s great to see a variety of open jams and open mics and open stages for many styles of musical forms, but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this many at one time in IT’s Pub Crawl. With a new batch of players working the open mics, soon the Springfield music scene will reap the benefits, as new faces join the main music market using the open stage platform to transform beginners into somewhat seasoned performers. So get out there, you, and play something, or go support that person who wants to go play but needs a nudge. Music is a wonderful thing, however experienced.

Here’s a couple of good and interesting local folks out making good and interesting music. Loud Clouds, featuring Chris Trudeau, Tad O’Brian and Joann Trudeau, improvise instrumental music on the steel drum, hand drums and guitar at Donnie’s Homespun this Thursday. Mulligan Munro, with Mark Butler, Kate Heilman, Don Wright and Mark “Doc” Hudson plays “full-tilt Irish-American folk music” at the Walnut Street Winery Thursday. Friday, listen to the sweet and sublime sounds of the Brad Floreth Trio at Robbie’s, 5:30 to 7:30, then later, catch Springfield’s only Queen tribute band, Black Queen, at Catch 22 with Kamikaze Krush and Ghetto Ghosts or go see Frew and Jugan at Guitars and Cadillacs Saloon.

The Aspect returns to rummage through the Beatles closet again and this time they’re at Casey’s Pub on Friday night. It’s always fun and informative as Brian Curtis, Bill McKenzie, Jeff Helton, Troy Roark and Lori McKenzie delve into the Fab Four’s nearly 300-song catalogue. Set lists concentrate on side two of Abbey Road and other songs from the latter stages of the band’s illustrious career. Stump the Band, as always, allows the audience to request a Beatles tune, testing the band’s knowledge in impromptu Beatlemania.

Come on out to hear two brand-spanking new bands playing the Tin Can Pub on Saturday. China Ryder has Brad Benecky of Perfunctory This Band and other memorable musicians doing hard-edged and stripped down versions from the best of the best jambands like the Grateful Dead and Phish. Pet Names plays original rock/alternative tunes with a mix of eclectic covers by Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Pretenders and other bands on the cooler side of things.

For interested songwriters, Micah Walk, Josie Lowder and yours truly are hosts of the Special Songwriting Studio at Lincoln Land Community College on Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. A part of the community classes offered by Lincoln Land Community College, the course code is CEW 122-40. Bring along some songs or pieces of one or simply just the desire to figure out how to write a song and interact with your friendly instructors.

Be sure to watch the Pub Crawl listings for more exciting music on the local scene and pace yourself for the upcoming biggest party night of the year on Thanksgiving Eve.

Contact Tom Irwin at