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Beat Happenings 

Music news you can use

The hook brings you back: There's something timeless about Blues Traveler, what with their harmonica-infused alt-jams and the preternatural jolliness of singer John Popper. But there's also something timeless about Busch beer and NASCAR, and so it's fitting that the three combine their powers on Thursday, July 27, for the Busch Series on Tour Concert, which kicks off race weekend at Gateway International Raceway. The parking lot of the Casino Queen (200 South Front Street, East St. Louis, Illinois; 618-874-5000) hosts local jukebox heroes Smash Band at 6:30 p.m. A Q&A session with NASCAR drivers starts at 7:30 p.m., with Blues Traveler headlining at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5, and all proceeds will be donated to the Special Olympics.

Break out the toast: 'Cause here comes the jam — the third-annual Blue Moon Jamfest in the Street, that is. Celebrate Hill Day (i.e. Saturday, July 29) at Pop's Blue Moon (5249 Pattison, 314-776-4200) with local talent including experimental groovemeisters Big Thumb, the considerately self-descriptive FolknBluesGrass Trio, indie singer-songwriter Kevin Bilchik, the trademarked "Mississippi Mud Stomp" of Alabaster Brown, Joe Stickley and Sean Canan from Columbia's godfathers of groove, Bockman, and more. The festivities are free and run from two p.m. to midnight.

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