Its Block 5 time again; the one weekend out of the year that celebrates the 500 block on East State Street, one of Rockfords best spots for food, booze and entertainment. Sandy and Bunge of MedicineMan have lined up some of the best local and international acts for the local publics listening pleasure, and one would hazard to say this year will be the best yet.
Friday night kicks off the Block 5 with performances by Ernie Hendrickson, Whalebone, Pistol Pete and Liquid Soul. Hendrickson, originally from Rockford, is now playing the Chicago circuit, and its great to have him in town when we can. A phenomenal guitarist/singer/songwriter, Hendrickson got his professional start in The Seed Band at age 16, and has since honed his technique and skill to a truly sparkling level. Whalebone is fast becoming another one of those Rockford band names that everyone knows, blending country, blues, jazz and funk to make their own sound. Pistol Pete hardly needs a description as he has pretty much played at every venue this town has to offer since he first showed up on the music scene.
Liquid Soul, from Chicago, has trademarked a great modern sound; often times theyve been pegged as acid jazz, but their unique mix of funk, soul, jazz, hip-hop and urban dance surpasses any two-word title. This eight-piece bands influence on contemporary music as a whole is undeniable, and their long-awaited new album, Evolution,maintains that tradition of experimentation. This is a must-see show for Rockford.
Fridays sleek lineup contrasts nicely with Saturdays harder performances, which feature 420, Spindle, The Felix Culpa, and The Good Year Pimps. Even though most of these groups have rather questionable names, their reputation as rock bands precedes them. The Pimps should round up a great crowd as there isnt a person in a 70-mile radius (at least) who hasnt heard of these guys, and 420 has been building a similar following.
The 11th annual Block 5 Festival will occur Friday and Saturday, July 23 & 24, with gates opening at 5 p.m., and music beginning at 6:30 p.m. This is an all ages event, and proceeds benefit Northern Illinois AidsCare Network. Admission is $10 per night, or two for one price before 6 p.m. The 500 block of East State Street begins at the Irish Rose and runs down the road past Debs Little Italy. For more information, go to www.block5.com.