The Illinois Times: Best of Springfield 2017 (Results)


On Thursday The Illinois Times released the results for their annual “Best Of Springfield” poll, highlighting local businesses, food, musicians, and people.

This year Black Sheep was in the running for Best Small Music Venue, which we unfortunately did not win. However Southtown did get a mention in the staff picks this year as “Best Tenacious Upstarts.” From that section:

At the corner of 11th Street and S. Grand stands a veritable Mecca of youthful D.I.Y. culture, including all-ages music venue Black Sheep, Dumb Records, Southtown Sound Recording Studio, Boof City Skate Shop and a skateboard ramp. That ramp, Skank Skates, is now celebrating its 30th year and remains the cornerstone of a group of like-minded businesses which have put Springfield on the map nationally and internationally, with independent musicians from all over traveling to play the Black Sheep’s stage and then marveling at the surrounding environs. Ironically, waxing and waning local support can make daily survival a perpetual struggle but that makes the dogged dedication of the young owners and operators of these businesses even more heroic.

Thank you to the staff of Illinois Times for giving us that mention! Check out the rest of the results on the Illinois Times website, or pick up a copy of this week’s issue at various local businesses around town. We used to get the magazine inside Dumb Records but they stopped delivering it to us for some reason.


Illinois Times: Best of Springfield 2017 Finalist Voting


Today The Illinois Times have released their official ballot for this year’s 2017 Best of Springfield poll. The finalists were generated from nominees that were chosen from nominee voting that was open to the public a few weeks prior to this. You can vote for your favorite bands, musicians, artists, places, people, and events on the ballot. Find the voting for that online right here. Here are a few notable finalists that you can vote for!

The Black Sheep for Best Small Live Music Venue
The Black Sheep for Best Open Mic
Dumb Fest for Best Music Festival

We support all bands and people doing anything in this whole city and don’t like choosing favorite bands – but some of you might want to check out categories of “Best Hip Hop Performer”, “Best Original Music Band” or “Best Punk Band” to see a few names that regularly play Black Sheep.

The results for the Best Of’s will be released in The Illinois Times on Thursday, October 26th. We will once again launch our Best of Springfield Music poll on our site at the very end of the year.

Illinois Times Best of 2017 Nominee Voting (Now Until September 3rd)


It’s that time of year again. The Illinois Times has now launched the nominee voting for their “Best of Springfield” poll for 2017. Now is your chance to nominate all of your favorite local businesses, bands, musicians, and people for a chance to make it to the next round of voting. Nominee voting goes from now until September 3rd. You can check that out online right here.

The Black Sheep would likely be in the running for “best small live music venue” if we make it on to the next round. Southtown Sound and Dumb Records don’t seem to fit into any categories this year. Perhaps Southtown Sound could go for “best new business (open within the last 12 months) not downtown”?

Actual voting for the IT Best Of’s will go from September 14th through October 1st. The results will then be released in the issue of The Illinois Times on October 26th. We do our own “Best of Local Music” on our site at the very end of the year.

The Illinois Times: “Music Ties That Bind”


With two colossal punk / alternative & new wave bands from Springfield’s past reuniting this upcoming weekend at Black Sheep (Food & Money and Backwards Day) – Tom Irwin and The Illinois Times are commemorating the upcoming reunions by publishing a cover story this week with an in-depth look at the history of both bands and punk music in Springfield as a whole. The front page article is “Music Ties That Bind” – Generations of local punk and new wave musicians unite for a concert. The concert the article refers to of course is this Saturday at Black Sheep with Food & Money, Backwards Day, Livin’ Thing, and Spellbreaker and includes punk music coming from four? five? different decades in Springfield from the 1970’s to the present. From the article:

Springfield has gone through four periods of what rock music genre critics named “punk/new wave/alternative,” a style created to disturb the status quo of contemporary popular music. Our first era coincided with the appearance of “punk” on the national and international stage, when, in the mid-to-late 1970s, after a period of easy listening hits and progressive rock meanderings, pop music seemed ripe for a change. Local musicians in town reacted to this music revolution by forming bands such as Food & Money, The Strand/Condition 90, Bad Cake, Bux da Hoota, Nervous Soldier, Will To Dance and NIL8, plus many more.

You can pick up a copy of The Illinois Times at various local businesses around town including Dumb Records, or check out the full online article right here. The rest of the article includes a look at different waves of punk music in Springfield, more photos, and more.

Food & Money (1979-1982) and Backwards Day (1988-1994) will be reuniting this Saturday at Black Sheep. For more info on the show you can go right here. Food & Money also have an LP of unreleased material coming out for this reunion released by Alona’s Dream Records. Check out one of the songs from that LP streaming below.

Illinois Times: “Wise Up To Dumb Fest”


Yes, that’s right! The Illinois Times is all about that Dumb Fest too- Tom Irwin’s column this week is mainly centered around the event with a photo of Warm Bodies (above, by Garrett Fisbeck). Check out the article “Wise Up To Dumb Fest” online right here, or pick up a copy of the Times today inside Dumb Records. From the article:

Welcome to Dumb Fest weekend, which covers three days worth of very cool and extremely expressive bands, based mostly in the world of what one might call various degrees of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) punk rock music. Categorizing the music is like saying Woodstock was just a rock concert festival and ignoring the grand diversity of the artists performing. Along the same lines, a few weeks ago, the John Hartford Memorial Festival featured several groups related through bluegrass/acoustic sounds. To some, the bands might seem the same, but to devotees of the music, each artist has a distinct sound within the genre.

Dumb Fest 5 kicks off at 6:00 pm inside Black Sheep tomorrow! For a full breakdown and a schedule of who’s playing you can check out our Dumb Fe5t page right here. Time is up to by 3-day passes, but you can still pay at the door for all of the shows. Find a Dumb Fest facebook event right here.

The Illinois Times: “The Radon Lounge Keep Concerts On The Down-Low”


The Illinois Times are on a roll this week with covering things going on in the D.I.Y. music community in Springfield! Here’s another article in this week’s issue on The Radon Louge – also written by Scott Faingold who also wrote the article on Southtown Sound which we posted about earlier today. The Radon Lounge are a Springfield house venue that has been going for a whole five years now, which is a good chunk of Black Sheep’s existence. We have always been supportive of what’s going on over at The Radon and consider them a much needed asset to our community. From the article:

For the past five years, the Radon Lounge has been hosting an impressive variety of local and touring bands, averaging one show per month. However, like a post-millennial speakeasy, anyone wanting to attend a concert at Radon is obliged to contact the venue via email or social media, simply to discover where it’s located. Venue founder Jeff Black, who also books all the talent, explains that this is a matter of neighborly consideration rather than mystique. The reason is simple enough: The Radon Lounge is in fact the basement of his home, located in the heart of a Springfield residential neighborhood.

Check out the full article online right here, or pick up a copy of The Illinois Times at various local businesses around town.

And what do you know, The Radon Lounge also have a show going on tonight at the same time as our hip hop show. Theirs starts at 7:00 pm and features Bonesetters, Blind Social, Eric Marvel, Ian Winterbrauer, Jen Santarelli, and Copper Pot Cooking Studios. More on that show right here.

Illinois Times: “The Business of Spreading Music Success” (HISO)


We are excited to see our friends over at HISO Music Entertainment on the cover of The Illinois Times this week – making two weeks in a row of groups on the front of the Times that Black Sheep has worked with in the past. Check out last week’s cover story on local poets right here. This week’s cover story is on HISO Music – a booking, consulting, and entertainment group of musicians and creative minds founded by Ayo Dele. HISO recently acquired their own space and has been hard at work with a recording studio, dance studio and more at their new location on Yale Blvd. From the article:

In a long brick building within a rented suite on Yale Boulevard in Springfield’s Harvard Park neighborhood, a quiet, yet profound revolution is underway. Here is the headquarters of HISO (pronounced high-so) Music Entertainment, a consulting company conceived by Springfield resident Ayo Abitogun to provide music business services to groups and individuals. The 26-year-old musician, rapper and singer-songwriter, also known professionally as Ayo Dele, is the inspirational leader of HISO, as well as the founder and CEO.

The organization formed two and half years ago when Ayo began building his own music career. While searching for professional members to add to his entertainment team, he discovered others searching for music business success based on his beliefs in positive thinking and avoiding the negative images and stereotypes found in certain forms of pop music today. As he shared his idea of engaging fellow music artists in constructive careers, the group around him expanded to include a trustworthy and enthusiastic team of dedicated friends and co-workers.

Check out the full article online right here, or pick up a copy of the Illinois Times inside Dumb Records for free.