Today we bring you the first installment of our Best of Springfield Music 2019 series! We know we are two weeks or so into 2020 already, and we meant to post this yesterday, but we got caught up rearranging our venue space for the future! Sorry!
Thanks to all of you who voted on our poll last month, we have compiled top ten lists of your favorite shows, songs, and albums from Springfield bands from the year 2019. This year once again we are teaming up with Activator Magazine, which has published all of these results in their January issue, which you can pick up for free at our store and plenty of other locations around town! Here are the top shows, and we have featured write-ups done by different members of the Springfield music community! How fun! We will be following this up with your top voted songs and then releases in the next coming days! Let’s dive right in!
#1. Downhome Music Festival @ Downtown Springfield (July 26th & 27th):
Downhome Fest never disappoints. It is refreshing that they have built their reputation as one of Springfields best music festivals while showcasing 100% original music from the Springfield area. As in years past, Downhome has offered a wildly diverse lineup providing a little something for most everyone. Each year you hear music from up and coming bands as well as some old favorites. It’s no surprise that it ranks highly on everyone’s favorite shows list every year. If you haven’t had a chance to check out Downhome yet, get after it. Personally, I caught several noteworthy performances over the course of the two day Fest this year. Thanks to events like Downhome Fest and some new venues springing up, downtown original music/art are thriving in Springfield. So, before you think you need to leave town to catch a good show, think again. Your next favorite band could be playing on a stage right in your own backyard! Until next time, Zesty – Shawna Phillips (The Complaint Line)
#2. Shonen Knife, The Hooten Hallers @ Rock N’ Roll Hardees, September 30th
Every once in a great while, a concert occurs in Springfield that boggles perception. One recalls with skepticism, for instance, the 1987 Dead Milkmen / Mojo Nixon show at Prairie Capitol Convention Center. Or That time Wu Tang Clan legend Raekwon the Chef did a set at Bar None on a Tuesday night in 2011. Add to this list the surreal but easily verifiable fact that Japanese pop-punk icons Shonen Knife played an enthusiastically received set on the outdoor stage in the parking lot of Hardee’s on Stevenson Drive this past September. As the trio tore into “Twist Barbie” I remember looking around at the crowd and literally wondering if I was dreaming. But no- it was all too real.
– Scott Faingold (Activator, Epsom)
#3. Chance Reiniesch, Vincent Sebastian @ Dumb Records, August 24th
Having the release show at Dumb Records was such a treat! It was a simple production with just a guitar, piano and drums supporting me, but being able to interact with my supporters in a beautiful space made me feel like a rockstar. So grateful for the Dumb Records team.
– Chance Reiniesch
#4. Mac Xavier, Satisfy, Spiff, 36 N Brimstone, Deion @ Dumb Records, November 9th
November 9th, 2019 was an incredible night of talented artists, laughter, and high spirits as DB Entertainment’s Mac Xavier, Satisfy, Spiff, and 36 N Brimstone put on an unforgettable experience for Springfield’s Dumb Records! Roivas of 36 N Brimstone kicked the party off with a vicious set showcasing his remarkable lyricism. Following one of the most passionate performances of the night by King Deezy, Satisfy took the stage by storm and captivated the Springfield crowd! Dumb Records was packed, primarily due to the amazing talent in the co-headliner Spiff! Fresh off the release of an instant classic, Yellow Kelso, Spiff give his fans a taste of the entire album before finishing his set with a fresh feeling single titled “Tropics”! As the night came to an end, Mac Xavier capped the night of with his amazing live performance. Performing an original remix to 0–100, and covering “Swimming Pools” by Kendrick Lamar, Mac kept the audience engaged and put on one hell of a show! DB Entertainment and the artists they represent would like to thank Dumb Records for the opportunity and consideration as well as Activator Magazine for the recognition and appreciation!
– Deion Brown (DB Entertainment)
#5. Kate The Band, Moss Jaw, Treadles, Vincent Sebastian @ Radon Lounge, November 9th
It was a warm Saturday in November, there was a slight chill that evening. Walking on South Fifth you could here a subtle rumble from the basement of one of the Craftsman style homes. Coming up the driveway the arrow shaped sign reads ‘Radon’, it’s outlined with lightbulbs and pointing to the basement. You descend the stairs and enter the room, the art is to the right, and the pinballs to the left. I made some new paintings, and Jeff just refurbished another classic machine. There’s a rich, lush sound that fills the room as you walk in further. The rhythmic pulse of locals Vincent Sebastian, layering synth beats with a live band, then adding layers of vocals and vocal distortion to the mix. Creating atmospheric pop with a good beat, lyrical substance and a whimsical feel. Next up is, Moss Jaw, who came down from Kalamazoo, they brought a big, warm sound with them. A four piece band, with keys, creating dreamlike soundscapes with enchanting melodies with enough distortion to fill the room with electricity. There’s clapping, a moment of quiet, then the talk, and the shuffling between sets, you can hear the pinball machines and smell the coffee. Treadles is setting up, they came up from New Orleans and played this show as a power duo, bass, nice crunchy guitar riffs and raw and powerful vocals. There was an emotional charge to the set, with quiet, melodic, introspective moments and loud screeching howls. They had the honesty of one telling the whole story. Kate the Band played the last set, a local trio composed of key players from other bands. They’re unique with a tight rhythm section and the synergy of two strong female vocalists. One number began soft with the ambiance of Kate’s guitar and her voice low and gentle, like faint memory. Then the drums, and the bass, the tempo picks up and you’re up, out of your seat; Jess’s voice harmonizes with Kate’s and the tone has changed, it’s bright and clear as day, like an epiphany. A beautiful sound, and a cohesive variance of tone and energy. There’s the clapping, cheering, shuffling, and the talk is inspired as the people disperse. Each band was sincere, and each had it’s own sound, and there was the feeling of having shared something real and beautiful.
– Will Redwood (local artist)
#6. Holy Pinto, Foam Fangers, Blushe, Sadface Killer, Marble Teeth @ Dumb Records, October 31
The past few years, I’ve put on a Halloween show at BXS and really had a good time doing it. Last year, we went all out doing a big spider on the ceiling and having Chili Bowl Mullet Man at the show with great punk bands however; I do gotta say this year’s Halloween Special at Dumb Records was one to remember! It was a SUPER SNOWY NIGHT on Halloween during the week but the place was still packed with Ghouls and Galecki-s. The Old Man even bobbed for apples in the venue. Water got everywhere and I had to clean it up. The lineup was a stacked one; Foam Fangers / Blushe / Holy Pinto / Sadface Killer / Marble teeth, and what might have been even more impressive was the lineup and free Pizza. I ate a lot, took a nap, and moshed during Holy Pinto’s set which included both a wall of death and a conga line. For the first Halloween I’ve done in the space I’m just excited for next year. Out of all the shows that go on during the year, the Halloween one is always one I look forward to planning. Big ole shout out to my mom Jill for helping get everything ready and set up for the show with me.
– BJ Pearce (Bottom Bracket, Kate The Band, Prevention)
#7. Hallowicked @ The Mansion, October 19th / 20th (?)
Saturday, October 20 marked the sixth annual celebration/packed set list of Hollowicked, hosted by Paperboy Entertainment, courtesy of local artist/promoter extraordinaire Deezy Da Paperboy. This year’s event was the biggest one yet, with a long list of performers rocking the Mansion (34382 E. Frontage Road near Virden) along with the pool house stages. Performers included Animals With Human Names, Meezy Killafield (with special guest, Mariah), Cornbread 217 (aka Trash Panda), Joe Dividends, Dre Lotto, Kall Me Hunnit, Kid Ziggy with Papa Luke, RJC, & Danny J, Hollista Wayne, Prophet, Zamm2Turnt, Garcia, City, $ojo The Poet, Brandon Daz and Alpha Gang Music Group, as well as a blowout performance from Deezy himself before the man of the night, Montana of 300, rolled in and blew it up. Montana gave a frenzied and energetic performance that had the entire pool house literally going crazy. Extra respect and recognition to Aaron “Uncanny” Phillips – DJ, hype man, and host extraordinaire, who helped keep the energy alive and the acts organized.
– Ken No (from Nov 2019 Activator)
#8. The Skatalites @ Levitt AMP Music Series (June 6th)
The Ska-Talites’ Levitt Amp Concert Series performance put an exclamation mark on Springfield’s surprising cultural richness. This seminal band that laid the Ska Music foundations for Reggae in the 1960s came to whare their signature versions of instrumentals including the James Bond Theme and vocal numbers, setting everyone to smiling and dancing. The 2019 touring band sounded as good as ever, with no need for gimmicks or fancy PA wizardry. Warm sparkling “Queen of Ska” Singer Doreen Shaffer was a member of the original Ska-Talites in the 1960’s; Drummer Trevor “Sparrow” Thompson has played shows wih Bob Marley and the Wailers, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer and Bassist Val Douglas has worked with Bob Marley and The Wailers, Toots & The Maytals, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Peter Tosh, and many others. The organizers took a chance, hiring a famous band representing a nearly unknown music style, and the 1,000s of all ages who came were just thrilled this could happen on the Y-Block in Springfield. Congratulations Levitt Amp Series!
– Frank Trompeter, (Jazz musician)
#9. Foamfest @ Rock N’ Roll Hardee’s, November 2nd
Foamfest was located at the infamous rock and roll Hardee’s. Where the Prevention, Blood Soaked Boogie Bandits, Complaint Line a Line and Foam Fangers, made a lot of noise for all of Springfield to hear. They hope to get more bands on the bill for next year and make it a annual music festival.
– Shaun Kerr (Foam Fangers)
#10. Homeless Gospel Choir, Mikey Erg, Jon Snodgrass, Looming @ The Radon Lounge (September 27th)
Every year, when these lists come out, I try to lock down those moments throughout the year. The Local Drags and Black Box EPs, seeing “Midsommer” twice, and feeling when I saw Mikey Erg’s name on a flier. To all you Ergsheads reading this, you know the feeling. “Wait, he’s playing in Springfield in my friend’s basement? And I have a babysitter??” Not to mention Looming, Hopeless Gospel Choir, and Jon Snodgrass of Drag The River are playing too. Pretty surreal. The Radon Lounge, stand-alone, was a great venue (RIP). But Jeff absolutely aced it with this one. We got to crush sletzys all night and saw “Pray For Rain” live. Hard to top that. Thank you, Jeff.
– Cory VanMeter (Night Night Boy)