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Tuesday, May 13, 2003 02:20 pm

Now Playing 2-20-03

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Old man winter has been having a regular party lately, with us as his uninvited guests. Not deterred were some patrons of the arts and partakers of the spirits. A few shows were cancelled last weekend, but the Robbie Fulks concert at the Underground City Tavern was not thwarted by the inclement weather. And just when it looked like Viele's Planet was in for a lonely night, the joint was flooded with the highly excited fans of the Pimps and Harmony Riley. Yeah, it takes more than a blizzard and freezing temperatures to keep a good nightlifer down.

This Friday you can get a glimpse of the sun--the Suns of Circumstance, that is. They set the standard for Springfield bar bands, with a run through the 80s and 90s as the groovingest, rockingest, partyingest group in town. Now they get together once in a while to dust off the classics and crank up the scene. Check them out at Breaktime from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on West White Oaks Drive in the old Scoobie & Stix complex behind Kohl's and Cub Foods. There's no cover charge, and you can squeeze in national touring comedian Troy Thirdgill at the Funny Bone Comedy Club while you're hanging out.

For you golfers who prefer to knock your balls around a tavern instead of a fairway, be sure to sign up for the Barstool Open, Springfield's annual charity outing (ining?). The competition starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, and you'll need four players per team. So hurry to your favorite downtown watering hole and sign up. The $100 entry fee benefits United Cerebral Palsy; transportation is provided from bar to bar. Each establishment furnishes its own empty putt holes for you to fill and full beer bottles for you to empty. Fore! . . . more!

It's been gone awhile, but the Frank Trompeter Quartet brings jazz back to Jazz Central Station for a Saturday night frolic atop the Hilton. It's a blue-ribbon band, with an award-winning skipper at the helm and the soulful Brianna Thomas, an award-winner herself, adding vocals to the classic jazz swing group. Ms. Thomas was featured in Downbeat magazine as Outstanding High School Female Vocalist a few years back, and she's been invited twice to the international Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Clinic in Washington, D.C. Mr. Trompeter was voted Best Male Musician of 2001 by you, fair readers of the Illinois Times.

Plan ahead for next Saturday, March 1, all you rockers from the WQLZ world, when Seether, Ra, and Social Burn stop in at the Artisan's Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The all-ages show starts at 7 p.m.--doors will open at 6:30 for the general admission seats. The $12 tickets are available at Penny Lane, the Rock Shop, House of Brews, and RTD Motorsports. Wow! Rock concerts in Springfield by bands currently on the charts? How can this be happening?

It's Mardi Gras, so be sure to party plenty before Lent. If you get in the mood, the Soulard neighborhood in St. Louis has the largest and wildest Mardi Gras parade and party outside of New Orleans. Find out more at www.mardigrasinc.com or call 1-800-916-0040.

Is that a crocus I see poking out from beneath the snow?