Opening for Chicago blues singer Buddy Guy and country music star Toby Keith at the Illinois inaugural concert Jan. 12 will be … state Rep. Mike Tryon.
The Boat Drink Caucus – a band made up of Tryon, fellow Republican Rep. Chad Hays and Democratic Sen. Don Harmon – will warm up the crowd before Guy plays, and will play another set before Keith takes the stage. The band plays tropical-style music along Jimmy Buffett lines, as well as classic rock.
The band made an impression at Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair because Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner’s people called them and asked them to play the inaugural, Tryon said. All three lawmakers play guitar, but they will add a drummer and other musicians for their inauguration appearance.
“We played at the state fair, and I guess Rauner heard us – it’s the kind of music he likes,” Tryon said.
Boat Drink Caucus, named after a Buffett song, got its start several years ago. Tryon had been in a local band called Pirates Over 40, but couldn’t justify being in Springfield all week and playing on the weekends.
Hays, of downstate Catlin, approached him about playing in a band after his 2010 election, and Harmon, of Oak Park, heard about the band and wanted in as well.
Unlike the General Assembly, the Republicans hold a two-thirds supermajority in Boat Drink Caucus, except when Democratic state Rep. Rob Martwick of Chicago joins them.
“It’s definitely bipartisan,” Tryon said.
The concert is scheduled from 8:30 p.m. until midnight at the Prairie Capital Convention Center. Tickets are $125 a person, which includes food and beverages, for the standing-room only event and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets for the event can be purchased online at www.IllinoisInauguration.com.