The Big C Jamboree closes out its 25-year run with a weekend rockabilly celebration | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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The Big C Jamboree closes out its 25-year run with a weekend rockabilly celebration


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Since the 90s, Chicago’s rockabilly scene has been getting bypassed in favor of its older alt-country sibling. In contrast to the likes of Robbie Fulks and Jeff Tweedy, who are well-known across the city, the rockabilly set has remained strangely insular. There’s a good chance other roots-rock communities might know about, say, former Chicagoan Jimmy Sutton, who’s played his doghouse bass with the Moondogs, Mighty Blue Kings, Jimmy Sutton’s Four Charms, and J.D. McPherson. Or perhaps they’ve heard of Miss Barbara Clifford, who might just be the youngest living artist to record for the Bear Family label, which specializes in reissues. But here, rockabilly and its offshoots are often relegated to an overlooked corner of the room. And now, after giving the scene a stage and a spotlight for 25 years, the Big C Jamboree, the monthly open-mike/hootenanny devoted to early rock ’n’ roll, is coming to an end. Rather than slip away unnoticed, however, founder Gabrielle Sutton has decided to go out with a bang. Tonight is technically the last show in the series, with the Amazing Heeby Jeebies (and special guests) acting as the host band, but over the weekend there will be an all-star jubilee featuring local luminaries past and present. The May 5 lineup includes Clifford; screaming siren Bailey Dee; the Special 20s, a blues band with a retro 50s rock ’n’ roll bent; the North Ave. Stompers (featuring vocalist Eric “Shoutin’” Sheridan); and a reunion of the Moondogs, who rocked the city in the early 90s. On May 6 the Big C rolls out guitarist Mondo Cortez—another crossover from the Chicago blues world—Hillbilly Idle, frat rockers the Bama Lamas, western warblers the Gin Palace Jesters, and the Three Blue Teardrops, another seminal 90s Chicago band reunited. Also expect plenty of other drop-ins over the course of the weekend.   v

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