Friday, July 06, 2007

I Like American Music

As you might remember, this blog called last year’s American Music Show one of the best, if not the best, evenings of live music in the history of Springfield. All indications are that this year’s show will be just as strong so I feel confident in issuing an entreaty to you, the entertainment-starved community. Go see the show. We must support those who would provide us quality music or we’ll be forever damned to Grandstand-level performers.

It would be easy for the organizers of the Taste of Springfield to sign-up some local bands to take the stage and provide background music during the festive eating binge. There’s nothing wrong with local bands, except that, well, they’re local and you can hear them most every weekend. But instead of giving us more of the same, they’ve made the music the highlight of the evening by putting it in the hands of someone who knows good music. You may not have heard of many of the bands set to perform, but you’re bound to like them.

For my entertainment dollar, the Bottle Rockets are the main draw at this year’s show. I’ve seen them several times in the past, opening up for Uncle Tupelo and later Wilco, and they never failed to put on an energetic performance. They have a lot of great songs to draw upon. Brian Henneman is a terrific songwriter who injects a lot of emotion into his fairly straightforward lyrics and puts a little pop in his alt-country numbers. Gravity Fails is a personal favorite.

The Romantics get the official top billing and will probably draw the most enthusiastic response of the evening. I’ve seen them once before, when they opened for the Kinks in Champaign back in the early 80s. I don’t remember being blown away by their performance, although we were sitting up pretty high in the Assembly Hall and only made our way past security and closer to the stage when Ray and Dave started playing. Binky the Broken Bassist (see pics below) said they played a show with the Romantics and they were tearing it up. I think we can expect a rawer, garage rock sound than some of their hits might indicate.

I’ve only heard one track from the Shazam, but it’s a kicker. Sean Burns compared them favorably to Cheap Trick, and I’ve also read comparisons to Badfinger and the aforementioned Kinks. I’m a big fan of power pop when done right (Big Star, the Posies, etc.) I expect an experience similar to what the Woogles provided last year, i.e., a band that I hadn’t heard going in but still blew me away with every song. Silvio Dante and Paul Weller like the Shazam, so that’s saying something.

I’m not too familiar with Rex Hobart, although I know I’ve heard some of his stuff on WQNA. He gets credit for naming his band the Misery Boys, which is so much cooler than the Blowfish.

The Damwell Betters provide the local flavor and I’m looking forward to hearing them along with the nerdabilly stylings of Crazy Joe and the Mad River Outlaws from over Ohio ways.

The only disappointment is that Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles aren’t returning. Maybe next year?

We saw them in Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago and they’re in fine form promoting a great new album. That’s them below performing in Wisconsin and another shot from earlier that evening where they proved to be lovely dinner companions (the east coast rockers sat on one side of the table and the Springfield groupies were on the other.)

It’s also unfortunate that the Second City troupe was booked at the Hoogland on the same night as the American Music Show. I would liked to have seen them and the two events will probably draw from the same crowd, but live music almost always trumps live comedy.

And apparently Saturday kicks off the 150th anniversary of someplace called Ashland, but since that’s a week-long celebration, there is really no reason not to be in downtown Springfield on Saturday night. Is there?


Kicking it in Port Washington.


Sarah, Rob, Mike and Binky


Russ said...

Ok, I'm sold. Sean Burns should hire you to do PR.

SOCS said...


You are sooooo naive.

You make a shout out to Sarah Borges yet exclude the music stylings of James Blunt?

Michele said...

Hey, Ashland RULES! If only the Cherry Stoners were playing .............