Vince’s Notes: Block 5 Festival set for Sept. 14

By Vince Chiarelli

This Saturday, Sept. 14, the annual downtown Block 5 Festival will be held on the 500 block of East State Street. Gates will open at 6 p.m., with shows from 7 p.m. until midnight.

Last year’s event brought more than 1,000 people to the downtown event. The mission of Block 5 is to promote the heart of downtown Rockford and maintain the traditions of the River District community by way of encouraging cuisine, arts and culture.

This year’s festival will feature food and beverages from the various restaurants in the 500 block of East State Street. As for the music, Sandi Kohn, event organizer and MedicineMan Creative owner, says, “We have a great time with some local bands that play a variety of sounds, and this festival really allows us to continue to show the entire community the uniqueness of downtown and its local businesses.”

My band, The Vince Chiarelli Combo, will be starting out the night, playing a variety of music, such as Italian-American music, jazz standards and pop.

The second band of the night is Whalebone. Whalebone is an eclectic group of musicians, each possessing a unique musical personality. The music offers elements of funk, rock, blues, R&B and jazz — the epitome of musical fusion. Together, this RAMI (Rockford Area Music Industry) Award-winning band delivers an incredible experience.

Whalebone consists of six phenomenal members: Stephen J. Benney plays infectious guitar chords and brilliant solos as he heads up the band as their soulful lyricist and charismatic frontman. Daniel Frye is the backbone of the band — an incredible percussionist and drummer who adds a funky flash to every song Whalebone plays.

Chris Schach holds Whalebone together by producing chords, notes and timbres that are hard to find in any other bass player, also lending a hand as backup vocalist. Ryan Swanson (saxophone) and Chris “Johnny” Picot (trumpet) create that brassy funk-laden mood-setting element as the band’s dynamic horn section. And last, but not least, Paul Van Altena infuses Latin-driven funky rhythms into the songs of Whalebone as their resident percussionist.

The final band of the night will be King of the Demons. King of the Demons is composed of Jesus Correa, Jon Miller, Jon Mosher, Rick Zillhart and David Slater. Their music is definitely original, and has elements of psychedelic, outlaw country, honky tonk, cussin’ and more. You will definitely not want to miss this band.

This event is made possible by the following Block 5 businesses: Irish Rose; Abreo; The Office; Social; Deli Italia/Trinacria; Vintage 501; Bamboo; MedicineMan Creative; Minglewood; Plush; and 5 Spa, and is sponsored by the River District Association, SupplyCore, RLDC and LaMonica Beverages.

Please contact Vince Chiarelli if you have any original Rockford music or radio suggestions. He can be reached at

From the Sept. 11-17, 2013, issue

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