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On any given night, something interesting, entertaining and adventurous could be happening in performance room at Evanston SPACE, the Society for the Preservation of Culture in Evanston. SPACE is a concert venue with outstanding acoustics that occupies the room behind Union Pizzeria on Chicago Avenue just south of Dempster Street.
A recent sampling of shows indicates the quality and variety of SPACE performances.
On July 30, JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound hit the stage. The band played at Twiggs Park as part of the Starlight Concert Series last year, a show that had retired mayor Lorraine Morton up and dancing on the lawn as the sun went down. The band has been recording new music since, ahead of an October record release, and brought a host of new tunes to SPACE.
Mr. Brooks is a classic entertainer, at times channeling James Brown while citing Otis Redding as a major influence. Other songs, however, exhibit much more of a ’90s pop music mentality. On “Beat of Our Own Drum,” Mr. Brooks sounds rather like Roland Gift of the Fine Young Cannibals. Theband’s best song to date, a cover of the Wilco song “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,” got the entire room dancing.
Sunday evening, Aug. 7, brought a very different sound. On a tough night for music, the last night of Lollapalooza, the Katie Todd band opened for Raining Jane. Her band seemed to enjoy themselves as much as the crowd, particularly horn man Steve Wright. Ms. Todd’s sometimes soaring vocals were a highlight, sounding like the ‘90s college band Betties Seevert, but a solid and talented band backed her up.
Closing down the evening was the all-female Los Angeles-based band Raining Jane, a group that has been together in various incarnations for more than 12 years, said percussionist Mona Tavakoli. They describe their sound as “eclectic-folk,” and melodies shine more toward Suzanne Vega than the Indigo Girls. Last year, Ms. Tavokoli founded a non-profit rock school for girls aged 8-17, which she said is designed to help young girls find their musical voice. That’s the way it is with live music, and that’s the way it is at SPACE several days a week.