If you have heard the songs “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” “Low Rider” and “Spill the Wine,” then you have listened to some of the musical hits from the band War. War’s popular songs have been featured in movies, commercials and TV shows, and now, the multi-platinum band will perform in Clinton on Saturday, July 30.
David James, former owner of DJ’s Rib Shack, recently took over Gil’s Bar and Grill where the War concert will be hosted. He secured the band after searching for a big-name musical act to bring to the area.
“The name War came up between me and an agent, and I was like, ‘Oh that would be awesome.’ I think they’re very popular,” James said.
He indicated that having a few connections helped him book the band he grew up listening to.
“Yes, it was (difficult to book War), I had to know somebody that knew somebody that hooked me up with their agency, with their manager,” James said. “I thought it would be an excellent pull, bringing that caliber of musicians to Clinton. I don’t think this form of entertainment at that level has been really brought here before.”
War has sold almost 50 million records and has received 17 gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards. These include triple-platinum “The World is a Ghetto,” and multi-platinum “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” “All Day Music,” and “Deliver the World.” Since releasing their music on iTunes, War has seen more than 500,000 downloads and sold more than 200,000 ringtones.
The band’s music has been featured on TV shows like the “George Lopez” show, “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Entourage,” and “The Simpsons.” Also its songs have appeared in movies like “Lethal Weapon 4,” “Remember the Titans,” “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” and “Dazed and Confused.”
Besides having grown up listening to War, which he calls a personal favorite, James wanted to provide residents with musical diversity. “We get higher-quality country bands that come in all the time and I just wanted to provide a little more diverse entertainment for people that aren’t so into country and a crowd that wanted another form of entertainment provided in this area.”
Now Clinton residents can see the band, which started in the late 1960s and rose to popularity in the 1970s, in what James dubs “their own backyard.”
“I really want to see if the community will support a big band, rather than having to travel to the Quad Cities, or to Chicago,” he said. “We’re bringing it right to their own backyard for a very reasonable price. I think that’s something I would like the community to join in and support, entertainment being brought in.”
Along with War, James booked regional bands Smooth Groove and Robbie LeBlanc to perform during the show, which will run from 1 to 10 p.m.
“Smooth Groove is one of the hottest bands in the Quad Cities for funk, classic rock and Motown,” James said. “Robbie LeBlanc is full of high energy. They’re from the Dixon, Ill., area. Very high energy, they do classic rock and funk as well, along with some Motown, along with pop. They’re just two super bands on the same flavor as War.
“It’s going to be a top-notch performance. There is a huge stage being brought in, a 40-foot by 40-foot stage with a canopy of lights, and a professional sound system is being shipped in.”
The concert will take place on property outside of Gil’s, in a field James estimates to be 300 feet by 600 feet.
“Plenty of room for everyone in Clinton to come out and support this venue,” said James, also indicating that residents should bring lawn chairs and plan for a relaxed environment. “I would love to see anywhere between 3,000 and 4,000 people come out for this event.”
The concert will also include concession stands, which will feature DJ’s baby back ribs, pulled pork, hamburgers and hot dogs, as well as a beer garden. Pepsi is co-sponsoring the event and will provide soft drinks.
James indicated that he is hoping to bring in future entertainment acts and events if the War concert is a success.
“I plan on having a mini rib fest, also a blues fest coming in August, if all goes well,” he said. “I think with this show right here (at Gil’s), it can just escalate...to a great location for a fantastic summer festival spot.”
Tickets for the concert can be purchased by calling Gil’s at (563) 241-9800. Tickets are currently $20, but will increase to $25 after the first 1,000 are sold. Gil’s is located next to the Wild Rose Casino off of Valley West Drive, which connects Mill Creek Parkway and Manufacturing Drive.