Sounds of summer
From the walking bass of ska to the oompha of big brass bands, from 30-year-old heavy metal rockers to teenage pop boy bands and from Moscow to Wyoming, here’s a look of the music that’s coming our way this summer.
Presented by the Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation, in partnership with Downtown Springfield Inc. and Springfield Area Arts Council, the first Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series will breathe new life into the vacant lot at Fifth and Jackson streets, commonly known as the Y-block. The lineup kicks off with the jazz and soul sounds of Damon Mitchell (May 30). Then, expect to hear some heavy-hitting ska with The Skatalites (June 6). The Illinois Symphony Orchestra’s Brass and Percussion Ensemble (June 13) will bring a repertoire of brass arrangements. Oro Solido (June 20) will have everyone dancing with their vibrant merengue music. Fareen Haque’s Flat Earth Ensemble (June 27) easily melds music from around the world to create a dynamic sound. The New Orleans-based Dirty Dozen Brass Band (July 11) has taken traditional brass band music and incorporated it into a blend of genres including bebop jazz, funk and rhythm and blues. The three-piece American rock band, Liz Cooper and the Stampede (July 18) combines roots-rock with indie pop. The folk duo Switchback (July 25) easily blends traditional Celtic music and Americana songs. The season will wind down with contemporary Americana music from songwriter and performer John Moreland (Aug. 1).
Boondocks, the award-winning, warehouse-style indoor music venue, will play host to a few shows this summer starting with country artist Ned LeDoux (June 28) who hails clear from Wyoming. Billy Bob Thornton returns with the Box Masters (July 20) for a fourth Boondocks appearance. Finally, Jamestown Revival (Aug. 10), will perform an honest blend of Southern country, Americana and Western rock.
Along with a mastodon and manuscripts, you will also find Music at the Museum. The Illinois State Museum’s summer lineup includes Cari Ray and Shaky Legs (June 13), who have been described as a bit acoustic blues, a little folk and a bit ragtime. Sweet Potatoes (July 11), from southern California, weave country, folk and homespun Americana for a distinctive sound. Hayes Griffin and Nate Roberts (Aug. 8) round out the summer with their unique blend of bluegrass, jazz, Irish and classical sounds.
Hoogland Center for the Arts has a diverse summer music lineup, to say the least. First, get your Broadway fix at the Dual Piano Memorial Weekend Show (May 24-26). Next, join Elvis Himselvis (June 1) for the first performance of his Elvis Top 40 Spectacular, featuring the King’s hit songs from 1956-1960. Following that performance, you can join jazz historian and performer Virgil Rhodes for A Night of Jazz with Footprints (June 1). Finally, the Blue Suede Crew (June 15) will perform a variety of classic rock ‘n roll hits.
The Legacy of Giving (L.O.G.) Music Festival (June 7-8), the proceeds from which are donated to local charities, is back this year with a diverse mix of dozens of bands on two main stages, two side stages and an acoustic stage at the south steps of the Old State Capitol. Included in the headline acts are Soul Kitchen, the Micah Walk Band and The Suburban Mystics, but class acts will be on every stage and the sheer number of them makes it impossible to list them. Kids’ area, vendor fair, food, drinks – all for $5 and all for a good cause.
The ninth annual Downhome Music Festival (July 26-27) will be a showcase of local, original music on four stages plus local food vendors, 100 different craft beers and a kids’ area. Headliners include some familiar names – NIL8, Park, Mr. Opporknockity, Big Fur, Wayward Motel and The Timmys. Things are still in the works, so keep on the lookout for more info.
This year’s Illinois State Fair grandstand lineup hits on a wide range of music genres. Megadeth (Aug. 9), still pounding the thrash metal for over 30 years, will most certainly wake up the stage after its nearly year-long slumber. Then, both Bad Company and Foghat (Aug. 10) can be counted on for no-frills classic rock. Dan + Shay and Filmore (Aug. 11) will bring some country energy the following evening. Shifting gears, but no less energetic, The Traveling Salvation Show is an up-tempo, rock-oriented tribute to Neil Diamond (Aug. 12). On tour after the release of their first album, the boy band Why Don’t We (Aug. 13) will be performing their pop. The Grammy Award-winning a cappella group, Pentatonix (Aug. 14) will be performing some cover versions of modern pop and also some original material. Then the stage sounds will swing back again to country with a performance by Nashville’s Old Dominion (Aug. 15). Snoop Dogg and Friends (Aug. 16) will change the stage energy with some rap that knows no bounds. The 21st century rock group Shinedown (Aug. 17) will deliver some of their Billboard-topping singles to the audience. Reba McEntire (Aug. 18) will close the year’s grandstand entertainment with a show that’s almost already sold out.
Elsewhere in the region
Decatur’s new Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater has a summer music lineup that just does not stop. The legendary Southern rock band 38 Special (May 24) is its opening act and the Memorial Day weekend shows will continue with Wynonna and the Big Noise (May 25) and Forever Motown (May 26). The music will pick up again the following weekend with the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young tribute band 4&20 (May 31) and Kevin Chalfant’s Journey Experience (June 1). The Decatur Municipal Band (June 19) will provide a welcome local interlude before the Eagles tribute band, Heartache Tonight (June 21) takes the stage. Songwriter and R&B groove-pop artist Jordan Feliz with Christian Day (June 29) will finish out the month. For an interesting twist on the music scene, Moscow-based musician, Leonid Vorobyev‘s band, Leonid and Friends (July 13) will cover the sounds of Chicago and Earth, Wind and Fire. Kip Moore and Drake White (July 20) will bring their brands of country music to the stage. The summer will wrap up with performances by Grammy-nominated, platinum recording R&B artist Brian McKnight 4 (Aug. 9) and Chicago 6 (Aug. 10), the band of Chicago Bears players that can also sing.
The Sangamon County Fair is keeping it country this year with Nashville native Easton Corbin (June 14) and The Outlaws and Renegades Tour (June 15) featuring Travis Tritt, The Charlie Daniels Band and The Cadillac Three. The Decatur Celebration continues the country theme with Tennessee Borderline (Aug. 3), then switches gears to classic rock/funk with Imagine That Band (Aug. 3) before bringing on Wreckless Whiskey (Aug. 4) for more country. The Castle Theatre in Normal has a packed music schedule this year including the noteworthy Black Dirt Music Festival (July 27) featuring Backyard Tire Fire, Chicago Farmer, Edward David Anderson, Matthew Curry and John Till.