Sound check: Mississippi Heat brings the blues outdoors in Aurora; OK Go anniversary
The Venue moves into its September lineup of outdoor events, OK Go celebrates an anniversary and Elgin Fringe Fest kicks off.
Outdoor blues at The Venue
The Chicago area usually affords at least another month of good summer-esque weather, and The Venue is taking advantage. With a September full of outdoor (and one or two indoor) shows, organizers plan to keep things hot in Mundy Park, which runs alongside the downtown Aurora music room. This weekend kicks off with the blues of Mississippi Heat Friday, and follows up with The Smiley Tillmon Band with Kate Moss on Saturday and “Celebration: The Music of John Prine and Steve Goodman” as performed by local veteran folksters (to benefit the Fox Valley Music Foundation) next Thursday. Check out themusicvenue.org to see the month’s full lineup and to keep track of other upcoming events.
Mississippi Heat at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, $15; The Smiley Tillmon Band at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, $10; and “Celebration” at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, $15. All shows are at Mundy Park adjacent to The Venue, 21 S. Broadway Ave., Aurora. (331) 212-8490 or themusicvenue.org.
OK Go anniversary
When Elmhurst’s Dan Konopka and rock band OK Go formed in Chicago in the late ’90s, did they have any clue a few years later their music and videos would be celebrated internationally? Who knows. But this week, in honor of the 15th anniversary of the band’s breakout studio album — the critically-acclaimed “Oh No” — OK Go has released HD remastered and upgraded versions of their groundbreaking videos for “Here It Goes Again” (remember the treadmill video?), “A Million Ways,” “Do What You Want,” “Invincible” and “Get Over It.” Visit the band’s YouTube page to relive that moment when you first wondered “HOW did they do that?”
• Following up the May release of “All Together Now,” a song and video the band wrote and recorded while quarantined after lead singer Damian Kulash and his family contracted COVID-19 this spring, OK Go is bringing people together (alone) through a massive collaborative art project. On the band’s educational website, OK Go Sandbox (okgosandbox.org), the band members have issued a challenge for young minds to express themselves cooperatively with someone else — long-distance or otherwise — through a creative project, sharing it online with the hashtag #ArtTogetherNow. See the site for more details.
Elgin Fringe Fest
Elgin’s annual celebration of art and music — Elgin Fringe Fest — is doing things a little differently now in light of this year’s pandemic. Starting Friday, Sept. 4, Side Street Studio Arts is once again serving as home base for the visual arts component of the fest, with a free featured gallery — open from 3 to 7 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays — and a host of hands-on experiences. Most performances, however, are moving online, where Fringe Fest fans can enjoy the music, comedy and dramatic bits for a 48-hour rental period for $5, a $50 festival pass (with access to all performances) or a $100 Forever Fringe package, which also adds two buttons and an Elgin Fringe Festival commemorative poster to the festival access. All proceeds benefit the artists involved. Visit elginfringefestival.com for schedules, passes and additional information.
Art and F.L.A.M.E.
Speaking of art, if you happen to be enjoying the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Chamber Arts Stroll this Friday, drop by the parking lot of the Gorton Community Center at 4 p.m. to catch a performance by F.L.A.M.E. (findingloveamongmyecho), a young Lake Forest band that plays a good mix of classic rock, grunge-era hits and original alternative songs. The band recently won Fan Favorite at the Bitter Jester Original Song Competition this summer, so F.L.A.M.E. is a band to watch.
The Arts Stroll continues throughout downtown Lake Forest through Thursday, Sept. 10, but Gorton Lot Live is from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, at the Gorton Community Center, 400 E. Illinois Road, Lake Forest. For more information, visit cityoflakeforest.com.
The blues when you want them
The Chicago Blues Network’s YouTube page is bringing the blues to your home network. Starting with last weekend’s broadcast of the Chicago/Kalamazoo Blues Party, the channel will also feature livestreaming and on-demand performance videos, including the new “Virtual Trading 4s” concert and conversation series hosted by Dave Specter at 7 p.m. the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month.
• Brian Shamie is a Daily Herald multiplatform editor and local music junkie. Email him at email@example.com, find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter (@thatshamieguy) or Instagram (@chicagosoundcheck).