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Sikeston becoming venue for new bands

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cronies works to bring in some new music acts

SIKESTON -- Cronies Sports Bar and Grill is working to bring in some new music acts, but there will be some familiar faces on the stage.

Branston Keefer, co-owner, recently returned to work at the business and is working to offer more new acts and big-named band entertainment.

"I'm really music oriented," said Keefer. He was a member with the former band Fusion Blue.

And now he's taking his experience in the music world, as well as the relationships he has formed with some other bands, to offer something new for music lovers in the area.

"Cape hasn't been pulling in as many new bands lately," said Keefer. "I'm trying to get new ones in here."

Tonight, Los Angeles-based band Palmerston, which has a song featured on the NASCAR 2008 video game, will be in concert with Six By Silver, a Columbia-based band. And on Oct. 2, the band Speakeasy of Springfield, which Fusion Blue previously opened for, will take the stage.

"They're very, very big," said Keefer. "It actually took me five weeks of dealing with their booking agent to get them here. In the Midwest, they are one of the premiere jam bands."

Keefer said he is working to promote Sikeston as a place for bands to stop in and perform on Thursday nights while en route to bigger gigs on Fridays. In fact, he spends a lot of time on MySpace, searching for talent and looking at tour schedules.

"This way, they're making up for some of their gas money by doing shows on Thursdays while traveling," he said. "And the good thing about Sikeston is the location, and it's close to the interstates."

Each Wednesday, Trey Presson and the Missouri Outlawz perform at 9 p.m. The group, which features members from Sikeston and the surrounding area, will also open for the band Powder Mill, with lead singer Jesse Hammock, a Sikeston native who belonged to the former band Shady Deal, at Cronies' Oct. 4 crawfish benefit.

The benefit is for Billy McCall, a friend of Keefer's who was injured in a motorcycle accident. Performances for the crawfish boil will be outside and begin at 6 p.m.

A lot of people haven't heard of Powder Mill, but their songs have been on the radio, said Keefer.

Presson, another former Fusion Blue member, said he's excited the new bands will come in, and it will be a reunion of sorts to see some of the other groups. "It's all about musicians helping each other," he said.

Hammock, lead singer of Van Buren-based Powder Mill agreed. He said it's always a sort of homecoming to play in Sikeston, in front of friends and family members.

He encouraged people to take advantage of the opportunity. "Getting touring acts to come and stop in Sikeston is good," he said. And if people embrace it, more bands, with bigger names, will be attracted.

Presson said people from the area should check out the bands and see the talent for themselves. "We just don't want people to pass judgement before they've heard it," he said. Playing in venues such as this is where the bands get a start. "And in this town, it's hard to get a following of people to come and watch you."

Hammock agreed, and said it's always fun for band members to see someone new come in and be surprised by the music.

Keefer noted that the bar now has an employee in-house in charge of sound management, which increases the sounds quality. Pool tables and chairs will be pulled out, to allow more room.

The bands represent all sorts of music, excluding rap, said Keefer. That attracts a diverse crowd, said Presson.

"And all these bands are professional bands," said Keefer. "None of these bands are cover bands, they all play their own music."

Upcoming performances:

All concerts are open to those 18 and older. Cover charge for those 18 to 20 is $7 and $5 for 21 and up. Upcoming performances include:

>Palmerston and Six By Silver, both alternative rock bands, will perform at 9 p.m. tonight. Find more on the band at www.myspace.com/palmerston.

>Speakeasy will perform at 10 p.m. Oct. 2. For more on the music, go to www.speakeasyband.com.

>Powder Mill, a rock and country band featuring Jesse Hammock of Sikeston, will perform Oct. 4 during the crawfish boil at Sikeston. Opening act, which begins at 6 p.m., will be Trey Presson and the Missouri Outlawz, a country rock band which features other area musicians. The Missouri Outlawz group also plays at 9 p.m. every Wednesday night at Cronies. For more on Powder Mill, go to http://cdbaby.com/cd/powdermill; and for more on the Missouri Outlawz, go to www.myspace.com/leepresson3.

>Joey Farr and the Fuggins Wheat Band will perform at 8 p.m. Oct. 31. The group's MySpace page is www.myspace.com/joeyfarrandthefugginswhe....

>The bar also has a MySpace page to announce future performances. It can be found at www.myspace.com/cronieslivemusicbarandgr....