As we slip past the last weekend of April-ing and into the merry month of May-be, the live music just keeps coming on like the showers and flowers of spring. This week there are many of the usual suspects in the regular spots, a few new players at different places and a heartfelt loss of a major force in our music community.
By now, many of you will likely already know of the passing of Mark Kessler last weekend. Mark, owner and operator along with his brother Gary, of the one-and-only Recycled Records downtown store of many things, left this world right after Record Store Day was done for 2022. If there is a fitting passing, somehow that could be it, but I don't know what to say other than we've lost an incredible supporter of local live music and a great friend to musicians and music fans, as well as a caring, decent and also opinionated, hardworking guy who gave his mind, heart and soul to his business, family, friends and customers. Reading through the many tributes on Facebook could give you some idea of how Mark, through his work at the store and in support of live music events, was a force in making things happen in this town, but any number of written words, no matter how sincere, can ever come close to describing the far-reaching impact his actions, big and small, known and not, had on our community. I could list several personal points where he helped me in my life and career, as could many folks, but let's just say, goodbye Mark, we will miss you so much, even as we continue to experience the legacy you left behind for others to share. Oh, and I can hear that laugh, just now...
As I believe Mark would want, we must go on, and so it goes, as live music comes back with a passion and a pulse. Friday delivers the big bonanza of bands as usual, including Ocean State Quartet at Boone's, Kapital Sound at the Curve, Deja Voodoo at Long Bridge, myself with those Raouligans at George Ranks, Lick Creek at Motorheads, Silver Lake (from Decatur) at Weebles, Angel Brown at Lime Street and Jonnie Concaroo upstairs at Harvest Market.
Special events Friday include an "Evening of Jazz and Blues" at the Legacy Theatre featuring Josie Lowder, Victoria Capo and Johnnie Owens with an all-star backing combo and Greasy Gravy, an "acoustic-styled" duo of Matt Hendricks and Rick "Cookerman" Sherry, upstairs at Broadgauge in Petersburg. For something a little different musically than is usually covered here, how about a self-described "Barbershopry" concert, when the Land of Lincoln Chorus sings classic country-western hits at the Sugar Creek United Methodist Church in Chatham (they repeat on Saturday) or the UIS Choral Concert, featuring Tsai Chan as director at the UIS Studio Theatre (events happen at the theater this Saturday and Sunday, too).
On Saturday we welcome Buckhart Road back into action, when Marty and Tom land upstairs at Harvest Market for their first show of 2022, while Charles Tiner, our local representative to the International Blues Challenge in the solo/duo category, entertains at Third Base for a "Road to Memphis" fundraiser to help defray costs for his trip to the upcoming Memphis contest. Downtown, Buzz Bomb Brewing Company celebrates a birthday with "a full day of beer, music and mayhem!" outside the brewery, rain or shine, during BuzzFest, featuring the Soy City Stranglers, Master Bastard, The Rolling Sixes USA, Billy Fury Acoustic and Corncob + Coombs.
Please check our music listings for even more stuff to do. And goodbye Mark, one more time.