Groovatron promotes Just a NORML Fund Raiser

Groovatron promotes Just a NORML Fund Raiser

By Molly Fleming, Staff Writer

Rockford should brace itself once again. The Illinois N.O.R.M.L. (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws) benefit is coming to Lungo’s Landing this weekend, with an array of local supporting bands and guest speakers, as well as two amazing preview acts: Groovatron, from North West Indiana, and Rockford’s own Boulas Trio.

A one woman show

Sarah Stevens of Sativa’s Temple Productions, just 20 years old, has arranged and coordinated the entire event by herself. As acting secretary for the Illinois chapter of NORML, Stevens has spent the brief time that she has lived in Rockford trying to promote and encourage the state to be educated on certain legal and economic aspects of marijuana and hemp growth. A proficient singer and guitar player herself, Stevens has set up a two-day event line up of local bands to raise money for her organization’s cause.

All money raised at the fundraiser will go directly to Illinois NORML to help in lobbying state legislators for the modification of marijuana laws. Although hemp products such as clothing, jewelry, oils and hemp ice-cream bars will be on sale at the event, Stevens strongly discourages attendees from bringing marijuana, as it is still illegal. Stevens also notes that this is not a “smoke down” but rather a benefit for an organization that believes in education and modifying laws on drug prohibition.

The week before Just a NORML Fund Raiser, Stevens booked preview shows to accent the benefit at Lungo’s Landing. Groovatron from North Western Indiana will perform Thursday, September 12 and Rockford’s own Boulas Trio will perform Friday, Sept 13. “These bands are playing to get the word out, and hopefully (they will) encourage people to return for the fundraiser.” Stevens commented.

Whether one believes in marijuana use and legalization or not, the event still prom-

ises to be a good time. With an extensive line up of bands like Spear Grass, Obie Call, Dove Load, The Blues Monks, Acoustic Millennium Band, and The Seed Band, to name just a few. Music lovers everywhere will be enthralled. Guest speakers like Karen Thomas and Brian Bricker (President of Illinois NORML) will talk on topics that the general public might not know about hemp uses and related topics.

Groovatron kicks off the event September 12, at Lungo’s Landing. Rockford should be proud to host this band again, since their national date list is about a mile long. The band is a table at an ethnic diversity festival with flavors from Jamaica, Latin America, North America and occasionally India. They have been called the future of jam bands and no doubt in any listener’s mind, these young men will hit it big in the music scene in all of America. Tour dates are scheduled in Georgia (where they performed live on a Sunday night radio broadcast with Vince Welnic from the Grateful Dead), Kentucky, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Nebraska and Colorado. They are supporters of Illinois NORML, and have given their time to promote the fundraiser, and encourage listeners to attend the weekend’s festivities.

The sound

Some of the most easily recognized influences of Groovatron are Phish (if they knew how to write lyrics), 3/11 (if they were could swing), and The Seed Band (if they were just a little younger). The group also fuses jam band concepts of Moe and String Cheese Incident.

And the band is…

Groovatron is Nick Ferrer and Mark Quagliara on guitars, Tony Qualls on bass (he is a MUST SEE), Tony McCullough on alto and tenor sax, Andy Dumaresq on drums, and Steve Pesich on “auxiliary” percussion. Their new CD, Yes Have Some will be available for purchase at the show, and it is highly recommendable. Ska fans, punk lovers, Phish heads, Dave Matthew’s groupies and reggae groovers should be ecstatic to check this band out. If anyone saw them at the Block 5 festival this year, they’ll know that this is a great honor for Rockford to host. Does anyone remember the old Jeffy Checkers & The Shizams shows that used take place at That One Place on N. Main, and what a good-of-a time they were? Groovatron brings the same feeling to this venue, although their sound is considerably different.

The sum up

Lungo’s will host this band in their week-long NORML promotion. The cost for the Groovatron show is $3, and they begin at 9 p.m., Thursday, September 12. The cost for Just A Norml Fund Raiser is $10, each day. Saturday’s events, September 14, run from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday’s events, September 15, run from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For information on either Groovatron, or Just a NORML Fund Raiser, you can call Lungo’s Landing at 877-8455.

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