What to do besides OTW this Labor Day

As everyone knows, On The Waterfront festival pretty much monopolizes the Labor Day weekend celebration as the only thing to do at the end of the summer. Although OTW offers the “Best of Rockford” and quite a few nice international acts such as Willie Nelson and Jethro Tull, sometimes it just seems like a little too much. Actually, a few area bars and restaurants are keeping their doors open in the hopes of enticing jaded festival-goers to relax and spend less than the $14 it takes to pass the OTW gates to see some music.

Kryptonite is one such bar hosting bands (as always), but there might be some problems actually entering the club via Stewart Square, which is within the OTW boundaries. Chris Wachowiak, owner, said that if you merely tell the gatekeepers that you’re headed to Kryptonite, “there shouldn’t be a problem.” I can’t promise that this is the case, but go ahead and try because Thursday, Aug. 28, EIEIO will be featured on their stage at 9:30 p.m. for $10. Friday, Aug. 29, The Heavils and One Little Sin will blast through the club hosting an evening of hard rock ‘n’roll. Rock-a-billy singer/songwriter Unknown Hinson will take the stage Saturday, Aug. 30, at 10 p.m. with a $5 cover charge (see last week’s TRRT music review by Frank Schier). Sunday, Aug. 31 will round up the weekend with members of Cheap Trick’s brood in The Snaggs and Harmony Riley (same time, same price). Good luck getting in—it’s not their fault of the location.

Minglewood is fortunately outside the gates at 117 W. Jefferson St., and will be showing music all weekend kicking off with Thursday’s Jamband marathon, which starts at 9 p.m. and features Electric Medicine, HooDoo and Cosmic Donkey. The cover should be between $3 and $5. Friday’s entertainment includes Starrunner, Tyrannosaurus Sex and Stendek. Bands start at 8 p.m. with a $5 cover. Saturday will feature performances by Bohemian Soul Tribe and Proteus, beginning around 8 p.m. with a $3-$5 cover charge, and Sunday’s entertainment will be Tres Hombres. For more information and details about price specifications, call 961-1795.

Leisure Tyme on N. Main St. is another venue open to the public not included in the OTW circuit with no cover charge. Friday night, hard-rockin’ rhythm and blues band Moose, from Stockholm, Sweden, will grace the stage in the billiard hall at 9:30 p.m. They’ve got a great performance résumé having played with Elvis Costello, Graham Parker and Roxette. Stop by, have a drink and check out the band. The North End Commons always offers something new to do.

Big Cities will feature Pistol Pete, as always, on Thursday at 9:30 p.m. with no cover charge. Saturday also features Moose again at 9:30 p.m., this time for $2. On Friday, take a drive up to Delavan, Wis., to visit Taste of Europe Coffee House, 118 E. Walworth St. Mark Prokop will perform at 7 p.m. Bring a photograph of anything and Prokop can improvise a song about it within minutes! Show starts at 7 p.m., and you can call 262/728-9778 for cover and details.

Right outside the OTW gates in the old Brewhouse (Rockford Marina and The Pink Cupboard), there will be an Antiques and Collectibles Flea Market fund raiser for Beta Sigma Phi. Admission is merely $1, and many area antique shops will be participating and include Chris’ Antiques, Whispering Willows, LuLa’s, Trinkets & Treasures, Extreme Surroundings, The Gift Box and The Pink Cupboard. Food vendors and many other private dealers will be participating. There is no button necessary to enter, and it is located off Madison Street, just north of the Riverview Ice House. The Antiques & Collectibles Flea Market will be open Saturday, Aug. 30, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 31, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Now, if none of this appeals to you, or you feel like a traitor not attending On The Waterfront every single year, my advice would be to check out the Ethnic Stage, which is booked by Craig Nagus. He has a fabulous lineup of groups this year, as always, that includes Celtic rock, zydeco, Swedish music, and other great ethnic genres. Check out The Prodigals, Friday, Aug. 29, at 9:45 p.m. If you’re feeling more ethnocentric, make a stop by the Oldies Oasis to find out what they have going on.

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