Let the fireworks begin!

Not two days ago, I'd promised the kids I'd do something fun with them, since we spent the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend with our friends at our house, none of whom brought kids to play with. So I promised Stella and Sammy I'd do something them-oriented on Monday. And about 1 p.m., I had a flash of inspiration. "Hey, Stella, run outside, feel the weather, and tell me if you think it's warm enough to go to Cool Waters."

And of course, it would have been 45 degrees out and she would have answered in the affirmative. But it was the mid-80s, nobody predicted it would be at all this warm, which meant that Cool Waters was tolerably not busy! We had a wonderful time, getting little sunburns, not waiting in line for the tube slides, and just splashing about.

Well, that was Monday afternoon. Monday night, as well all know, was a different story and I'm about fed up with this cool cold weather. But I did catch some good tunes: Lumberhorn on Friday night at Zad's, but couldn't enjoy them because the sound wasn't mixed for vocals, and as (spotted in the crowds) Paul "The Fly" Lawson points out, "These guys are the best stage banterers this side of ...." Again, do I have to go to the Port of Hamburg just to be able to hear what they say?

Also spotted in the crowd, IROCKZ's Trans Am Dan Schultz, who handed me their terrific new CD (titled "Yeah, That's Right") and tried to convince me to hit their show Saturday night. He put forth a compelling argument to do so: it's the kickoff for a quick midwestrn blast tour they'll be doing with the legendary Deniz Tek. (Jesus, I can't believe there's people you can run into in bars who have heard of Deniz Tek.) But, I told him, while I am indeed a fan of both IROCKZ and Chief (who was also on the bill Saturday night), there was a Mighty Deer Lick show at this very place at the same time, and let's face it, Deer Lick shows aren't as plentiful as they used to be. Schultz shouldn't feel too slighted. I ended up being so tired on Saturday that after I read Sammy his bedtime story, I kind of passed out alongside him and after I awoke, I noticed it was 1:30 am and I'd probably missed the Deer Lick.

But I got a fill on Friday, anyway. After the Lumberhorn were done, and I traded gossip with the boys, I braved a walk down the block to Caroline's to catch the Liam Ford Band (formerly Liam Ford and the Band in Black) there. I don't know if it's the name change, the fact that they're catching on and playing out more, but they are getting livelier and more adventuresome these days. Maybe they're gearing up for the wild summer festival season, but still, liked them and so did the crowd-- a rather mixed crowd for Caroline's. I'll even start to admit that they're a rockabilly band now. Popped back to Zad's to say hi to the Lumberhorn's Heather, with whom I traded Twitter usernames, and got the skinny on the new Lumberhorn CD that they've been working on. They've been telling a lot of people about this -- and apparently this has been a work in progress for a couple of years now, but maybe since they're going public with it, that's forcing them to get a move on and release this thing already. I know the disease: I can picture them re-mixing and re-tweaking, and re-recording and I have something to tell them. It's a piece of advice I got from a very experienced Project Manager, who I interviewed for a PM industry newsletter. Her top piece of advice? "You have to know what 'done' means." It's probably done, boys. Time to ship already.

Finally a nitecap with the ironically named "Whispering" Jeff Platt, who was pouring drinks next door. He's moving the Suds Club to the new Bomb Shelter which really does look like it's going to be the correctplace for a weekly celebration of locally brewed beer.

So the summer festival season kicks off this weekend with Riversplash, and if it doesn't get rained out (which seems to be Riversplash's curse), there's plenty of crown pleasing cover bands to start off the season with. Riversplash plays it safe-- nobody breaking new ground here, but the bands they get are the best at what they do. Friday night you get Substitute (Andy Pagel's Who Tribute band), and really, it's hard to be successful at covering the Who, but they do it amazingly well -- especially their rhythm section who are obsessed with their (now dead) counterparts. They're preceded by Mark Shurilla and the Greatest hits (good for the afternoon) and followed by Buckethead, whose schtick might be necessary to get your attention, but guitar playing is good enough to hold it once you've gotten past that stupid bucket on his head. Saturday night, the bill is packed, and all I need to know is that the Five Card Studs are on it. They should prime everybody up for the big Miller Lite Ride for the arts on Sunday (which I'm going to have to miss -- bummer!) Both nights will prime you for the fireworks season, as it has been a full six months since we've had fireworks -- geez, cheeseheads, how did we cope?


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