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Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012

Styx w/ The Outlaws

Tonight @ Wisconsin State Fair Main Stage, 7:30 p.m.

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Chicago prog-rockers Styx weren't always known by the same name as the mythical river that separates Earth from the Underworld. Twin brothers Chuck and John Panozzo and neighbor Dennis DeYoung originally formed The Tradewinds in 1961. It wasn't until 1972, when the band signed a contract with Wooden Nickel Records, that they renamed themselves Styx. According to DeYoung, it was the only name none of them hated. The Panozzos and DeYoung are long gone from the band, but the current quintet still carries on the Styx sound, which developed during a period when concept albums and art-rock aspirations characterized the music scene. Chicago AM radio powerhouse WLS helped drive the group's power ballad “Lady” to a nationwide hit, and the band began earning its gold albums in rapid succession. Styx has broken up and reformed a number of times over the years, often touring recently with the likes of REO Speedwagon, Yes, Foreigner and other vintage groups. Presumably the members still don't hate the name. Southern rockers The Outlaws open for Styx. Once dubbed “The Florida Guitar Army” for its rich blend of power axmen, the Tampa sextet is best known for its hits “Green Grass and High Tides,” “There Goes Another Love Song” and a cover version of “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” Interestingly, “Green Grass” is featured in the finale set of the video game “Rock Band,” complete with two complicated solos. Fame comes in many forms, it seems. (Michael Muckian)