click to enlarge Party on, February music
Astrofix plays at The Curve Inn this Friday.

The party is on, in, at and with all things happening this weekend and well into next week for that matter. We've got hot rock, cool Sammy, country love, Fat Tuesday and more coming your way in what's becoming a very busy February. And we still have two more weekends and a leap day to experience. Let's get to it and do it.

Thursdays keep chugging along with regular music doings plus a new soon-to-be-regular spot clocking in. The Pharmacy's popular The Art of Jazz series features two outstanding guitarists, who excel as composers and educators as well, when Jose Gobbo and Mark Tonelli gang up on the jazz chords and hightail it with improvisation. Motorheads hosts its monthly Thursday Night Live performance showcasing local talent including Kip Nelson, Hailey Cook, Dan Luparell, Ian Mundstock, Dereck Usher, Eric Tinsley, Roger Wainwright, Dave Mason and Smokestacks (Tad Finch, Dylan Woods and Patrick Duran) on tap for some fun musical interplay. Out at Crows Mill Pub, John Drake kicks off a Thursday night live music series with assorted acoustic acts hitting the stage weekly for as long as you support it.

CMP is also piling in on the open mic phenomenon with a Wednesday night event starting soon. Some say (those same some that always say things) there are too many open mics, but I say that just means the scene is full of talent that needs an outlet. Plus, it's always a great way to hang out with other musicians (since usually the weekends are spent gigging) and for trying out new things, whether it's developing chops or debuting new material. Long live the open mics and may they flourish and nourish the local music community.

For a Friday night rockin' frolic, Astrofix brings their unique blend of rock originals and covers with a twist to The Curve Inn, while Lateralus, a Tool tribute band, works the WineRocks stage at Danenberger Family Vineyards.

Saturday gives us a few different options of ticketed events in the entertainment world such as Prairie State of Mind playing the Bullard Country Chapel in Buffalo for a "Could I Have This Dance" country love song concert as a pre-Valentine's Day show. The Hoogland offers up a world-renowned tribute to Sammy Davis, Jr., when Kenny Jones gives an extraordinary performance as the one and only Mr. Davis, Jr. Kenny got his start doing Sammy in the Rat Pack is Back hit production and has continued to wow audiences worldwide.

There's a Mardi Gras party happening when our friends at Pole Barn Chic (on the grounds of the former Barker farm on Old Chatham Road) host their first (and planned as an annual) celebration of one of the most famous days for partying ever. Mardi Gras is on Tuesday, of course, but why not get to the party early to see a real Louisiana Zydeco band and enjoy genuine New Orleans cuisine? Tickets are available at the event Facebook page.

Sunday is the Super Bowl and that always puts a whack on the regular gigs, and though there are some, let's move on. Monday at the Alamo, Smokestacks will do the blues up just right in a rescheduled Blue Monday gig. Tuesday is the famous "Fat" one and to celebrate your Mardi Gras proper, you need to get to The Curve Inn and go crazy with the Mary Jo Curry Band as MJ and the guys will make sure you get your pre-Lent party going strong and long.

Well, that gets us here. Check the listings for all the other good stuff out there.

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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