The People’s Park outdoor concert series returned to Bloomington this summer, with concerts every Thursday from 4:30-6 p.m. The series started May 12 and will run until Aug. 25, featuring local Bloomington artists and musicians performing in a wide range of disciplines.
The concerts were kicked off on May 12 by Radio Abyss, a solo alternative rock act created by Adam Larimer. Larimer said blues, indie rock and folk are his primary musical influences. His recorded music is reminiscent of indie artists such as Declan McKenna and classic rock like the Beach Boys.
Other performances scheduled for the series range from Latin fusion to Indian dance to fingerstyle guitar. Solomon Keim is scheduled to perform a set of popular music on the saxophone on June 2.
“I’ll be playing a bunch of different instruments, not limited only to saxophone and flute,” Keim said. “It’s a solo gig, so I’m going to be playing to different sounds I’ve created in the past, I’ll be looping them and creating different sounds throughout the whole night.”
Although Keim’s set is solo, he will be inviting a number of guest artists to the stage to play with him. He said he wants to keep most of these artists as a secret until the show, but among them is Nathan Rakes, who Keim cites as “a talented flutist.”
Keim’s setlist includes popular songs by Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, but he will also be playing some of his original music, which is available on his website.
“It’s really important to me that we play stuff that isn’t heard as much. So, we have Stevie Wonder stuff, but a lot of the music that he maybe wrote for a big audience but that didn’t get that acclaim,” Keim said. “I’m using that as a creative point where I can compose and create new material.”
Keim was first introduced to the People’s Park series through his work with Bloomington Parks and Recreation. He said he played in a number of gigs with the department before they offered him a slot in the summer performing arts series.
Although Keim is primarily a jazz saxophonist, he said he wanted to diverge somewhat from that sound for this performance.
“Blues is great, jazz is great, soul is great, but I wanted to do something a little more popular that people would know,” he said. “Once we’re in that moment and everybody knows what it’s all about, then we’ll open up and allow people to bask in that moment.”
Keim said the arts are incredibly important to him, and emphasized how essential they can be in a community like Bloomington’s. He was excited about the return to the arts after the pandemic.
“It’s really nice to see that people want to do arts stuff again,” Keim said. “It’s the one thing we missed the most during COVID, so we should be really cognizant of that and realize that it’s the lifeblood of our society.”
Keim’s pop saxophone performance can be seen at 4:30 p.m. on June 2 at People’s Park.