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Castle Theatre

The Menzingers play The Castle Theatre Friday night
Jess Flynn

The Philadelphia-based pop/punk band The Menzingers has received critical acclaim for their last two albums, much of which fleshes out the angst of moving from 20-somethings into their 30s.

David Lowery, front, and Johnny Hickman of Cracker
Bradford Jones

If David Lowery did nothing else but write and record “Teen Angst” for his early 90s debut Cracker album, it would be one heckuva song to be remembered for.

The crackling rocker takes an apparent jab at folk music and conventional wisdom with one of the great lines in a rock song:

Lauren Jenkins plays The Castle Theatre Friday night.
Michael Church

Big Machine label group artist Lauren Jenkins utilized her background in acting and film directing to produce a video short to compliment three traditional music videos related to her new album.

Matt Anderson, Edward David Anderson and Tim Kramp of Backyard Tire Fire
Edward David Anderson

Black Dirt Music Festival founder Edward David Anderson says the outdoor July event next to the Castle Theatre is intended to celebrate the best features of Bloomington-Normal.

Gangstagrass performs Tuesday at The Castle Theatre in Bloomington
Sean Jamar

You might think bluegrass and hip-hop would mix like oil and water, but Gangstagrass banjoist Dan Whitener says the band attracts bluegrass fans being turned onto hip-hop for the first time, and hip-hop heads who get into bluegrass through Gangstagrass.

Rhett Miller
Ebru Yildiz

Rhett Miller and his band Old 97’s hail from Texas. Yet, with songs set in Chicago’s Empty Bottle nightclub or others with titles such as “Champaign, Illinois,” and “Bloomington,” there often seems to be an Illinois connection.

Why so many Illinois songs?

Miles Nielsen is a homebody. Despite (or perhaps because of) heavy touring with his own band The Rusted Hearts and spending his youth traveling the world with his father's band Cheap Trick, he continues to make Rockford his home.

Anthony Gomes
Stephen Jensen

Blues-rocker Anthony Gomes says he's donating a portion of the proceeds of his Friday show at the Castle Theatre to the Twin Cities-based HEAL Foundation, which supports autism acceptance.

Way Down Wanderers, left to right, John Merikoski, Travis Kowalsky, John WIlliams, Austin Krause-Thompson, Collin Krause
Keith Cotton

The Peoria-based Way Down Wanderers are giddy their just released second full-length album “Illusions” is currently No. 3 on Billboard Magazine’s Bluegrass chart.

Sunday Afternoon, from left: Logan Berg, Jacob Labertew, Austin Willis, Nick Saathoff, DiMari Fennell
Sunday Afternoon

Members of the Bloomington-Normal neo-eclectic band Sunday Afternoon said winning a couple Battle of the Bands confirmed their retro sound was finding an audience.

C.J. Chenier
Karen Murphy / Chicago Blues News

CJ Chenier is known as “The Crown Prince of Zydeco.” But the son of the man known as “The King of Zydeco” said the music he plays isn’t technically zydeco.

Matthew Curry performing at the 7th annual Ride Festival in Telluride, Colorado.
Maryelle St. Clare

Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Matthew Curry is tweaking his sound as he opens up to new styles on his listening reportoire.

The Bottle Rockets
Cary Horton

The new album from roots-rockers The Bottle Rockets explores technology and other changes that have occurred since the band formed in 1992.

Jack Dupp & the Empty Bottles performing at the 2017 Silver Ball
Morgan Shulte / Gabriel Events

Two Bloomington-Normal bands are again adopting English personas for the annual Toys For Tots Silver Ball Fundraiser at the Castle Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 24. This year’s title: Bowiemian Wrapsody.

The Dead South perform a recent show in Salt Lake City, UT
runawaytroutman / Instagram

The folk/bluegrass quartet The Dead South has been described as "the evil twin" of Mumford & Sons for their twisted lyrics that often depict violence and gruesome deaths.

Edward David Anderson
Kim Anderson

Bloomington musician Edward David Anderson recorded his new album "Chasing Butterflies" in the musically fertile Muscle Shoals, Alabama, area. He said he wanted to use musicians in that region to organically build and arrange his newly written songs.

Photos: Iron & Wine Perform at Castle Theatre

Oct 6, 2018
Iron & Wine performs
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter who performs as Iron & Wine entertained a local crowd Friday night at the Castle Theatre in downtown Bloomington.

Nolan Kelly, right and Flaccid
Jamie Day

The Bloomington-Normal psychedelic rock band Flaccid is calling it quits after six years. But founding member Nolan Kelly said members are not splitting without releasing a final album, and performing a final show at the Castle Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Cody Diekhoff, aka Chicago Farmer
Cody Diekhoff

Cody Diekhoff as his alter ego Chicago Farmer is a riveting live performer who has cultivated a loyal following with folk songs and stories about the American heartland. And especially central Illinois.

The Something Brothers (L-R): Gregory Pare, John Ganser, Scott Lee Wilson, Tommy O’Donnell, Edwin Pierce
Scott Harrison

The Something Brothers guitarist Edwin Pierce said it was surprisingly easy for band members to create and record new music together despite a nearly 30-year studio hiatus, and missing a key band member.

Rebirth Brass Band

If you grow up in New Orleans, you’re going to absorb the musical legacy of that city.

Jon Norton / WGLT

The owners of the Castle Theatre in downtown Bloomington will soon have a second music venue in central Illinois.

Keith Griner / Phierce Photo/Castle Theatre

Many local musicians and fans credit The Castle Theatre for a resurgence in the Bloomington-Normal music scene.

Jon Norton / WGLT

Michael Klug and Joe Borbely of Bloomington’s Jack Dupp & the Empty Bottles say they have seen both the drought and the resurgence of the central Illinois Music scene. Klug said "it’s about time."