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Thursday, June 5, 2003 02:20 pm

Now Playing 6-5-03

The Mugshots churn out rock 'n' roll for heathens, the way the Lord intended, Friday at the Underground City Tavern, in the Hilton, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Enter, if you dare, the often wonderful, somewhat terrifying, but usually satisfying world of Springfield nightlife.

Austin's Grand Champeen has truly experienced the exotic life of a traveling American band. The driven musicians willingly squeeze themselves--plus guitars, amps, drums, and other (ahem) necessities of rock 'n' roll--into an old conversion van and travel around the country. They gig wherever they can with other groups like themselves or ones slightly higher on the musical food chain, such as Slobberbone and Spoon. Right now they're "on the road again" with a Minneapolis trio, Ol' Yeller, doing gigs in Iowa City, Lawrence, Kansas, and Schuba's in Chicago, before coming to Viele's Planet at 9 p.m. this Thursday, June 5.

Get a way head start on the wearing o' the green when The Lash, a cool Celtic-rock band from Michigan, drops into Marly's Pub from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday. They've been in town a couple other times, namely on St. Patrick's Day, but they're worth a listen any day of the year. The combination of traditional acoustic and rock 'n' roll sounds is powerful and appealing. They rock "Folsom Prison Blues," and then slide right into a lilting Celtic ballad with the ease of an Irishman downing a porter with a side of whiskey while dancing a jig and eyeing the lassies. Oh, if it was all that easy.

Look around this weekend and you can't miss Obstructed View. Those wild and crazy (not mild and lazy) Rochester rockers nabbed a last-minute gig at Jazz Central Station atop the Hilton from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday. And it's as plain as the nose on your face: They'll be at the Forty-Niner Bye-Bye on Bruns Lane on Saturday night from 9:30 to 1. They do some groovy jam band stuff for all to enjoy, you'll see.

What do bowling and jazz have in common? Well, when the bowling alley has a lounge with wonderful acoustics and the management likes live music, you've got the start of a working relationship. On Sunday evening from 5 to 8 see how it comes together when the Jazz Society of Greater Springfield hosts "Sunday at Spillway" with Virgil Rhodes and Footprints. The lounge has a storied history as one of Springfield's longest lasting music venues. A bowling alley, you say? Yes, remember where you live. R.E.O. Speedwagon once played there many moons ago, before Kevin Cronin permed his hair, and when Town and Country Bowling Alley was the town's hot spot. Now you can listen to the flute and sax of Virgil and the 'Prints and reminisce about the days of yore.

Watch your step, that first one is a doozy.