It seemed like business as usual at Billiards on Main in its new incarnation at the former site of Big John’s this past Saturday night. Though the location had changed, the bar was able to draw a crowd from both the town and the college communities for the four musical acts it brought in to perform for the night, each with ties to the Galesburg community.
First to perform were the Chiefton 3, described by some as “truck-stop rock,” who, despite the weak attendance in the early part of the evening, still managed to put on quite a show with their nonchalant, devil-may-care stage presence and gruff, hard rock vocals. Some songs bordered on the repetitive, but others, including a song about feeding the cat, were simply too much fun to ignore.
After a short break, Hong Kong Sleepover assumed the stage, and while they brought plenty of fans with them, their performance was rather lackluster. The group is technically skilled, there is no doubt about that, but in a live music atmosphere, their practiced stage presence made them seem clipped and mechanical, which was all too unfortunate for those on the dance floor who were ready to put their bodies into the music.
The third act, Caprice, was responsible in part for helping to put the night of live music together. The band, which hails from Nashville, Tennessee, features a member who grew up in Galesburg, so they stopped on their way through the state to put on a hometown show. Easily the most polished act of the night, Caprice played a lighter sort of rock than the other groups but still retained enough of an edge to keep the gathered crowd interested, and indeed, the dance floor remained packed during their entire set.
The fourth and final group was Knox’s own Spondaic Buttons, who played to an amused and excited crowd of students and town residents alike. Students participated willingly in the band’s antics, thrashing about delightedly. The odd band member or two would leave the stage to join the action on the floor, while some, if not all of the residents stuck to the mob’s periphery.
Opinions about the music varied, with residents responding more positively to the local groups than students did, who were more lukewarm regarding the group’s musical prowess. Both groups were able to come to the consensus that, music aside, it was still a pretty good night out. The change of scenery was also met with mixed reactions on the students’ part, with some saying that it did not feel entirely like Billiards yet, but rather like Big John’s with minor cosmetic changes.