Category Archives: Ellen Campbell

Hot, Island-y Air

I’ve come a long way, baby!

Cigarette Ad

I stepped into the Players Pub to catch an early Friday evening set yesterday. I immediately flashed back ten years, imagining myself still living in Chi., on a road trip perhaps, stopping for a bite and to stretch my legs in this place in this town I’d never really heard of.

I’d think, Cool, a little music with my dinner. I’m gonna check out the local fauna here.

And what would I see? Three very nice, very respectable, very proper femmes d’une certaine age strumming ukuleles and chirping well-worn chestnuts like Eight Days a Week, These Boots Were Made for Walking, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

My jaw would drop and I’d think, Man alive! I had no idea I was in East Bumfuck, Iowa.

I’d think, Sheesh! This joint makes Peoria look like Vienna, Austria.

I’d think, Eek! Get me outta here before the waitress serves me possum.

How quaint these tillers of the soil and John Deere tractor showroom secretaries are, no?

No. Not quaint at all.



And damned good.

I saw last night the UkeTones, Bloomington’s latest rage. Yeah, the PP was jammed to the rafters.


The UkeTones — They All Wear Glasses, For Pete’s Sake!

Bossman Joe Estivill scuttled by, lugging a bus tray himself — that’s how busy his joint was. Yo, Joe, I called out, is it always this busy on a Friday night?

“No, it isn’t,” he called back over his shoulder. “They love the ukulele girls.”

And so do I. If this is Bumfuck, Iowa, count me a proud citizen thereof.

I highly recommend the UkeTones. They’ll play again at the PP in January. Their Friday night gig is pretty much a monthly affair at this point.

I have to admit, though, one fan paused between forks-full to shout out Free Bird.

And I get the feeling, based on lead singer Susan Sandberg’s response, that the trio’d actually played the southern rock classic in response to an earlier call-out. I don’t know. I didn’t have time to chat the dames up between sets; I’d only had two quarters in my pocket and thus could only stay for a half hour (damn those new parking meters).

The other UkeTones are Reina Wong and Ellen Campbell — and Ellen Campell really puts her whole body into her performance. I’d say she rocks out if I weren’t so terrified that the kids would snigger at me.

It was a half hour well-spent.

Who knows? Maybe it’s that I, too, am now an homme d’une certaine age.

Or maybe I was never really such a sophisticate as I’d have liked everyone to think.

Either way, I had a blast at the Players Pub last night.

Like I said, I’ve come a long way.