To paraphrase Martha and the Vandellas, summer’s almost here and the time is almost right for dancing in the streets. Here’s a handy guide to some of the musical highlights coming to the area during the sultry summer months.
Our fair city’s very own Boondocks received the Academy of Country Music’s award for Nightclub of the Year for 2016, and their summer schedule shows no evidence of the venue resting on its laurels, with shows already on the books from Roger Creager, Sawyer Brown, Brushville, Chase Rice, Hinder (acoustic) and Midnight River Choir. And that’s just in June! For a change of pace, the Hoogland Center for the Arts (www.hcfta.org) will present local piano duo Dual Piano on June 17 and will provide a taste of the showbiz capital of the Midwest with the revue-style Branson on the Road on June 25 and 26.
Music festivals have been a staple of Springfield music fanciers for years, and a trio of longstanding fests this summer will offer an opportunity to sample a large number of local original acts in one shot. The charity-minded SOHO Fest is slated for June 3 and 4, with the artist-oriented Downhome Fest following on July 29 and 30 and Black Sheep Fest presenting the cream of the local punk and indie crop on Aug. 6. In contrast, Dumb Fest (June 10-12) also put on by the good folks at Black Sheep Café, focuses entirely on touring bands with a whopping 50 bands booked from 16 different states (plus one act all the way from Australia), including Oakland, California’s indescribable Nobunny, who will perform at the Rock and Roll Hardees (which we guarantee is a real thing).
For its part, Sangamon Auditorium has two very different concerts on their schedule, with tap dance virtuoso Savion Glover performing with jazz legend Jack DeJohnnette on June 18, followed by witty, eclectic singer-songwriter Susan Werner on June 25.
As if all of this musical largesse were not enough, the Illinois State Fair is somehow able to provide its usual Grandstand concert series Aug. 12-21, state budget be damned. This year, ’80s rock diva Pat Benatar will perform with her husband and guitartist Neil Giraldo on a double bill with Melissa Ethridge on Aug. 12; pop sensation Meghan Trainor and one-time Coen Brothers actress (True Grit) turned singer Hailie Steinfeld will both perform Aug. 13; Jake Owen takes the stage Aug. 13; Dierks Bentley, Aug. 16; hard rock kabuki artists KISS will bring their pyrotechnics and stage presence on Aug. 17; Cole Swindell plays Aug. 19; Little Big Town, Aug. 20; and southern fried rock gets its day in the sweltering sun on Aug. 21 with a double-header from ZZ Top and Gregg Allman.
Elsewhere in the region
Champaign-Urbana’s most recent addition to the area rock club scene, The Accord (formerly the High Dive), has an impressive summer roster in place with shows by Roberta Sparrow, Whiskey Shivers, Nikki Lane, Fiona Kimble, Andy McKee, Tokyo Police Club and Banditos all in June. The Kickback, The Soil and the Sun and Wild Child will perform in July. And Mother Nature and Aida Victoria both appear in August. Elsewhere in C-U, the Virginia Theater will host perennial classic rockers Chicago on Aug. 24. Also nearby, The Castle Theatre in Normal hosts June appearances by Will Hoge, Della Mae, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Hayes Carll in June, Tinsley Ellis in July and Walter Trout in August. Grunge fans might want to take a trip to The Peoria Civic Center (www.peoriaciviccenter.com) for a show by erstwhile Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell on July 11.
Contact Scott Faingold at firstname.lastname@example.org.