Thursday, June 15, 2017

Telling You What's Goin' On

What kind of McMusical stuff is there to enjoy in the remaining days of June? A list of such follows (and there’s lots more stuff going on in July, so check back.)

This Saturday (June 17), The Sparks Band plays at The Hody Bar & Grill in Middleton (Wisconsin, duh!). Scratch that itch for rockin’ to radio rarities of the 60s. Beer also available. The Sparks Band (Mark Loder, Rich Larson, Tom McCarty) display their distinctive retro repertoire starting at 9 pm.  

Then, Wednesday, June 21 Big Wes Turner’s Trio celebrates the return of playin’ partner and good buddy Gary Hendrickson. Big Wes’s boys participate in Make Music Madison with a performance at Talbot Studio & Gallery (2118 Atwood Ave.) Rain or shine.
5:30 to 7ish pm.

On Friday, June 23, The Sparks Band rides again at Sprecher’s, in the outer limits of Middleton (Wisconsin, duh!) Doin’ it on the deck from dusk 'til dark. Eat, drink, and rock-n-roll next to Middleton’s last cornfield. (Inside if it rains.)

Wednesday, June 27 the Birddog Blues Band sets up in the City Park Pavilion in downtown Janesville. Bring your lawn chairs for this city-sponsored set. Early evening.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Gig (Part II)

(Note: Second parts generally make more sense when they follow first parts. If you haven’t already read Part I, be sensible and see the previous post first.)

From there it was a breeze down into Blanchardville, in which the smell of French Fries wafted from one of the several bars on a compact stretch of "downtown," and through which the Pecatonica River flowed. Then approximately 12 miles (19.3 km) of uneventful hill-and-dale driving down 78 to Argyle.


Through Argyle, turning on to Hwy 81 and crossing a bigger, stronger Pecatonica (it meanders around the terrain between the two towns, picking up volume from at least three other streams). 

So I headed due West. Darlington is a mere 15 miles (24.1 km) away. The final and easiest leg of the trip. “Home free from here,” I said to myself.

But I’d be lying if I told you that all of my journey’s trials and tribulations were behind me at this point, but haven’t we beaten this poor horse sufficiently? Let’s cut to chase and talk about the gig itself?

Despite taking this turn rather than that, and overshooting one mark or another, and bad addresses, and lack of cell coverage, etc. etc. etc., I arrived with time to spare and was delivered to the welcoming camaraderie of my bandmates. We set up on a deck attached to a smallish hillside barn converted into a comfortable home that faced south and an opposite grassy slope too steep for cultivation but ideal for pasture. 

Holsteins grazed back and forth and up and down as we played. Children played games in the flats at the bottom of the dale. Friends and family visited around tables set up on landings along the slope. A true rural idyll.

We played with our backs to the house and protected by a canopy. The three of us hadn’t played together for nearly two years, but all the old tunes fell into place nicely and the relaxed party-goers were appreciative. Life was good.

Halfway through our third set rain starting falling, but the roof over our heads let us finish. We packed up. It was nearing dark.

I took the longer, easier way home. If you want to play, you’ve got to travel.

A note regarding the photos:
Because I took pictures only when the vehicle was stopped, much of the lovely SW Wisconsin landscape is missing from this account. Just as well. Because photos really don’t do the experience justice. You need to be there, and I recommend that you go. The journey is the destination.