Abe, corn and more
This weekend you will be forced to make choices, simply because there are so many things to do. And yes, it’s wonderful to have such entertainment issues in our community.
Thursday, the Levitt AMP music series continues on the Y-block stage with Liz Cooper (not that Liz Cooper, Morris) and the Stampede, known for “combining rollicking roots-rock with effortless indie pop cool,” to use the band’s publicity phrase. With only two more shows left after this week, “if you ain’t been going, you best get going,” as the wags near Berlin might say, while out standing in their fields. Thursday, July 18, is the birthday of the late, great music-maker, Raoul Brotherman, and also of my sister, Betsy. Do I hear a birth week party, anyone?
This weekend marks the debut of the latest downtown music fest. It somewhat fits into when and where those Taste of Springfield, American Music Show and Amaranth Apple Fest events fell in years past. Called AbeFest (nice and easy to say with a nod to the infamous and famous LincolnFest of decades ago), the happening features local and touring music artists, plus popular headliners (BoDeans on Friday, Smithereens with Marshall Crenshaw on Saturday) along with food, frolic and fun. Sounds like a plan to me. Also this weekend is the long-running and always popular Chatham Sweet Corn Festival, featuring real live community corn shucking on Thursday (some folks have all the luck) and top-notch, local live music on Friday and Saturday nights. With Chick Fritz Distributing handling the beer for both events, I think it’s safe to say, the suds shall flow like a raging river from the Fritz taps this weekend.
On Saturday, the fun never ends. Out near Oakford at the Hill Prairie Winery, join Hipbone Sam and friends for a low country shrimp boil featuring music by Mike Burnett (2 p.m.), Mississippi Leghound (4 p.m.) and capped by Jack Flash (6 p.m.), the rocking Rolling Stones tribute band organized and fronted by Hipbone. Me and the Hayburners (plus one Dooley) open it up for raconteur and movie star Billy Bob Thornton at Boondocks, while Jaigh & Jill do it all right at It’s All About Wine. The Coldpeppers play it hot at West of Wise Winery near Petersburg as Thornhill kicks it in at the Walnut Street Winery in Rochester. Johnnie Owens & Friends wind it up at Pease’s at Bunn Gourmet, Lady Carole & Her Knights top it off at the Wyndham Centre’s Pinnacle Club and Jonnie Concaroo Band stirs it in at Sheedy Shores Winery near Loami.
Even after all that, Saturday’s special event certainly is the celebration of Gary Bloom’s 70 years on Earth with a show by his longtime band, Groove Daddies, at the Curve Inn. Special guests will abound, considering the incredible reach of Gary’s music career, including longtime cohorts, Jim Troxell, Gale Pelletier, Jim Crowley and Steve Emmons. Stop by and say happy birthday to Gary as you revel in good music and hobnob with Springfield music legends.
This Sunday at Evandy’s Boatel, an interesting bar/restaurant venue near Naples on the Illinois River, our friends in Deep Lunar Blue rock the riverside joint for a perfect Sunday funday road trip. Closer to home, Brandon Santini, harmonica-playing, songwriting, singing, blues guy extraordinaire, who has been hitting the road hard and scoring on the blues radio charts, takes the Curve Inn stage at 4 p.m. Local award-winning bassist Jeff Cunningham, who joined the Santini band some months ago, is along for the wild ride, including an upcoming tour of Poland.
There’s much, much more, but not here. Check the listings to see what else is out there.