I really like using the word “fair” when writing about the State Fair, but I’ve already done it a fair amount of times over the years, so to continue to do so now just wouldn’t be fair to you, and of that I’m fairly certain. Fair enough?
I’ve always liked the laid back atmosphere of the Twilight Ballroom wherever the venue was located. It’s just a completely different vibe than the rocking beer tents and it’s nice to have an option. On Saturday at 7, The Kevin Lucas Orchestra plays the Twilight stage (they also played on Aug. 12). The KLO hails from Carbondale and their new single “Here I Am” recently reached number 45 on the FMQB national radio charts. As an independent band, that radio airplay is huge, both in terms of just getting on the airwaves and the actual exposure created. In the band press release Lucas states that more than 40 Adult Contemporary format stations have the single in rotation and believes that “hopefully we can make everyone proud,” by being a band from Illinois on the charts. With Lucas on percussion and marimba, the band includes drummer Jayson Murray, bassist Justin Wiley, violinist Lee England Jr. and Andy Waldron on guitar and vocals. Check them out if you get a chance, it’s a very cool and happening group making a splash on the big music scene. Also appearing in the Twilight Ballroom are local legend Bobby Remack on Thursday and sweet sounding vocalist Peggy Lowder on Friday. Don Smith Band takes the stage on Sunday, performing for his 32nd year in a row at the Illinois State Fair. Wow.
Along with the usual rocking sounds at the Budweiser tent with good bands like Escaping Neverland and Brat Pack on Thursday, Still Kick’n and X Krush on Friday and Seeing Daylight and The Machine on Saturday, they’ve slipped in a couple of surprises. On Saturday at 12:30 the Blue Gs, an acoustic, bluegrassy band with a new CD (finally) along with vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Josie Lowder and her band play in what will indeed be a righteous music goings on. On Sunday at 12:30 comes Escape Goatz featuring longtime local musicians Scott Nichols, Ryan King, Shane Bumgarner, Tim Lacy and Ed Fliege in a cool combo. According to their Facebook page, “The Goatz play the songs you weren’t expecting, and a different take on the ones you were. Most people mostly agree that this band is better than most.” See if you don’t agree. After that at 4:30 Harmony Deep does pop rock classics performed by Brian Curtis, Brian Cutright and Sam Draper.
A perceptive reader pointed out that I had not mentioned last Sunday’s Christian music grandstand concert by Toby Mac in my previous column. She wanted everyone to know it was “a fantastic evening of music” and I’m sure it was. This Sunday, fans of Christian music and others should attend the annual Power Light daylong concert at the Lincoln Stage. Several Christian music acts, including Manic Drive, Jason Gray and nationally famous Christian hip-hop band Group 1 Crew, will espouse their religious beliefs through music performance. More power and light to all, I say.
Outside the fair, Perfunctory This Band, with a late-night performance by Murder of Crows, present a pre-Jerry Garcia Tribute fundraising show at the Butternut Hut on Saturday to help offset the costs of the annual event. The tribute concert, in conjunction with the Penny Lane customer appreciation celebration, is on Sunday, Sept. 16, at Douglas Park with performances by me and the Raouligans and Dennis Maberry’s Rhythm Spirit along a couple of sets of PTB’s Grateful Dead music.
Fair thee well, my friends.
Contact Tom Irwin at firstname.lastname@example.org.