click to enlarge July is a-jumping
Sarah Borges and band land at the Gin Mill this Friday with special guests the Wolf Crick Boys.
Hi there, all you happy people, and welcome to another edition of "Now Playing," your portal to local, live music, as this mortal likes to see it anyway. Here's hoping everyone had a fine Fourth as we go on blasting through the "Jewel-Eye" days like who knows what.

I do believe we will start with Thursdays again this week, as the once most-neglected night of entertainment has blossomed into the most happening, as summer trots along. The Levitt AMP concert series, our free and open-to-the-public, downtown weekly summer music evenings on the Y-Block, plays host to a two-time, Grammy award-winning group, Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience. We could also take a hike to Petersburg to take in a street concert on the square by Chasing Denver, the popular country duo of Chris and Victoria Kemp, or head to Sherman for a big show by our pals, Off the Wall, at the very cool village park amphitheater. To add to the pot and up the ante, Chris Camp and His Blues Ambassadors roll into the Curve Inn for a night of bluesy songs and straight-up blues, plus Jose Gobbo curates an evening called The Art of Jazz at the Pharmacy Gallery and Art Space downtown. And if cool acoustic covers are your thing, Tim Duggan plays the patio at Casey's Pub at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Meadowbrook, while Curt Smith corrals the tunes outside at Curate in The Gables.

For something completely different, but firmly in the world of music, Unity of Springfield presents Healing Crystal Bowls Meditation for an evening of "soothing, healing vibrations, sending harmony, peace and balance into our community world," which surely is sorely needed now.

If you're ready for the weekend proper, let's get right to AbeFest, the big deal of this weekend. This two-day event happens at the BoS Center outdoor space with major names mixed with area artists to make for a cool time of hip music on the big-time stage. Friday, John Waite, probably best known for his 1984 smash hit, "Missing You," headlines with our very own Josie Lowder Band opening the show, and FEEL, a St. Louis-based band with Springfield's Tyler Armstrong on lead guitar and vocals, landing in the middle spot.

On Saturday, you get 90s platinum-selling band Filter, led by singer Richard Patrick as headliner, with Harlem Hayfield, the rockin', soul sextet from Decatur sporting one of the best band names ever opening up the concert, plus siblings Jocelyn & Chris covering the middle spot, bringing their "two analog souls hell-bent on inciting a new rock revival" to task after filling a spot on NBC's "Today Show," as well as rocking some good levels on the Billboard's Triple A Top 40 charts. Tickets are available online or at the door, so go enjoy some AbeFest, OK?

On Friday, downtown is hopping like the old days (not quite, but almost) when rocking Americana mover-and-shaker Sarah Borges hits the Gin Mill (old Bar None) accompanied by her band, including our friend Keith Voegele on bass and the legendary Eric "Roscoe" Ambel on guitar. Look out for a wild time, as those rascally Wolf Crick Boys open up the show. This, folks, as they say, is a hot ticket.

Then down around the corner, a killer duo from upper Illinois, the Ex-Bombers, blow it up at Buzz Bomb, while Mike Burnett makes it happen at the Brewhaus, just a few blocks away.

And with that, I'm going to leave Saturday, Sunday and all the rest of the days of the week (in order) for you to peruse and ponder. And believe me, there's plenty there. See ya.

Tom Irwin

Tom Irwin, a sixth-generation Sangamon County resident, has played his songs and music for nearly 40 years in the central Illinois area with occasional forays across the country. He's contributed to Illinois Times since 2000 by writing Now Playing, a weekly music column, as well as features stories and other articles...

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