Memorable Memorial Day weekend music

Georgia Rae fiddles around at Buzz Bomb this Saturday night.

If you're among those who count Memorial Day weekend as the official kickoff of the summer season, and I don't know why you wouldn't since most of America does, then welcome to the much-anticipated event. For us here at Now Playing central that means the outdoors venues all seem to be open for live music performances, and we couldn't be more happy and excited to see such a thing unfold. And the holiday weekend only reinforces this fanciful time with an extra day to behold the extreme level of quality and quantity that is our local music scene. So for now, let us proceed to the party.

Just as the silly saying goes that you can't say you've been drinking all day unless you start in the morning, you should not be able to say you've partied all weekend unless you start on a Thursday, so let's see how one might go about fulfilling this requirement. Right off the bat, I spy Chris Camp and His Blues Ambassadors obliging us with an appearance at the Curve Inn by blues-a-fying the known world, as well as the Pentagram String Band from nefarious Kansas City way Satan-izing in a colorful blue-grassy style at Buzz Bomb. Thomas J. Beverly lands at Curate for an acoustic night, while Nate Cozadd hosts an open mic jam at Casey's Pub and the Sam & Kortney Open Mic continues at the Blue Grouch.

Friday night takes us on an adventure with Johnnie Owens buttering things up downtown at Terra Ferment and Angel Brown sweetening the sounds at Boone's, while Carl Bopp drops into Lime Street (on Saturday as well) and The Tangents play by el lago's edge at El Taco Guapo. For the full-on band experience, Sushi Roll takes the cake at the Blue Grouch, The Elderly Brothers don't act their age at Weebles, Brandy Kristin revives the rock at the Curve, yours truly and those Raouligans square off at George Rank's and Maui Grimm mows 'em down at Mowie's Cue. In a double header of unimagined possibilities to longtime friends of our music scene, Mike Burnett heads the Suns of Circumstance into Danenbergers, followed by the Rick Mari Band in what could and should be an epic night.

Yes, it's now Saturday on Memorial Day weekend, and I count 19 venues having live music with a couple showing more than one act booked. That's just wild and wooly, plus ridiculously wonderful. For a heavy-duty time, check out the Curve hosting Phantom Lordz (a locally-based Metallica tribute band) with special guests Cemetery Gatez and Master Bastard as the Main Gate presents Robot Army, Al'Maculate Conception, Blind Mind and Before the Fire Dies, while Weebles winds it up with Menace to Sobriety.

For something completely different, may I recommend the acoustically electronic fiddle stylings of Georgia Rae at Buzz Bomb or the rhapsodic sounds of Rhodes and Battles Trio at Harvest Market upstairs at the Mezz? Down south, Lick Creek runs into Motorhead's Motordome, The Cocktails drink up at the Blue Grouch, Roxschool teaches the TRN Club a lesson and K-R Music (Kathy Kitchen & Rick Meyers) docks at Pier 55.

The Sunday before a holiday becomes a second Saturday as local big bands the Groove Daddies bring it to Danenbergers, Off the Wall bounces into Motorheads, UNCHAiNED get turned loose at Weebles and Branded burns up the Curve as the Wolf Crick Boys howl with the wind at Mama Lee's Sandbar.

If you think there's more than this out there, you'd be right, so peruse our music listings and go enjoy your summer kickoff holiday weekend.

About The Author

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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