Smile Politely


Walking into the Canopy last night, my first thought was “who in the hell thought it was a good idea to put this show in the big room?” The audience, which I counted as being on the low side of thirty, was actually being treated to a fantastic show from the Rip Chords. I will admit that acapella is not my thing — I immediately flashed to Andy Bernard’s immortal rendition of “Drift Away” — but the Rip Chords were solid, tuneful and precise to a point. Plus, I’m a sucker for “Yesterday”, which they closed with. By the time the next act, the Fresh Kills, finished a set played to a disinterested crowd that seemed to mostly be there for the acapella groups and marred by a bone-crushingly loud mix and technical difficulties, my seasonal cold and lack of sleep were starting to catch up to me. I had been planning to catch Withershins, Olde Scratch and DJ PBR (best. name. ever) at WPGU’s Operation Santa benefit across town at the Highdive, but wound up packing it in for the night. However, there are about a half-dozen other benefits going on this week — so many that John had to crush ’em all into one blurb for this week’s Overture — so there’s still ample opportunity to be charitable.

WHAT: Teach for America Benefit with Leonard Hatred, James Castillo, Jeremy Tatar & Shelby Singh, Jet W. Lee and Elephants on Parade

WHERE: Courtyard Cafe ($5)

WHEN: Thursday, December 2nd at 7:00 p.m.

Hey, remember when Champaign-Urbana used to have that awesome all-ages venue that consistently booked major indie rock acts and barely ever had covers over five bucks? I think it was called the Courtyard Cafe or something like that…

But seriously, this one is worth checking out. Courtyard shows are always a great time — I think I spent something like 60% of my weekends at the place back in high school. And if nothing else, a packed house would go a long way towards getting the venue organizers booking live music on a regular basis again.


WHAT: To Write Love on Her Arms Benefit with Two Star, DeathTram, Arcade Across the Room and Michael Janowski

WHERE: Canopy Club ($7)

WHEN: Thursday, December 2nd at 6:30 p.m.

To Write Love on Her Arms may primarily be associated with the modern day Warped Tour/emo scene, but it’s no less worthy of a cause for it — TWLOHA has actually become quite a juggernaut on the strength of support from Paramore, Anberlin, Evanescence and the like. Founded in 2006, the non-profit focuses on combating self-harm, addiction, and depression, and has made major inroads in the oft-ignored group of teens and young adults.


WHAT: RUN-IMC Benefit Night Two with Horrible Things, DeathTram, Velocity Dance, Floor Lovers Illinois, Megan Johns, Legend Dance Company, Banjar, Odd Request Forum, No Strings Attached


WHEN: Friday, December 3rd at 5:00 p.m.

If you’re newish to the area, you may be wondering what the big deal about the IMC is. While they’ve fallen off in terms of volume lately, they’ve played host to artists including mewithoutyou, Islands, Kimya Dawson, Leftover Crack and The Queers, plus innumerable local acts. The ease and relatively cheap cost of booking the space made it a DIY mecca during the mid-2000s. And tomorrow’s show? Wow. That’s one hell of a lineup. Punk, singer/songwriter, folk, dance and acapella all on one mega-bill. Bring your ticket stub from night one and you’re in the door for $3 instead of $5.


WHAT: UIUC Vintage/Analogue/Manual Photographers Gallery Premiere with Bad Catman, Cole Rabenort and Twin Differences

WHERE: Etc. Coffee House (Wesley Foundation)

WHEN: Saturday, December 4th at 7:00 p.m.

I suppose this might be better referred to as a coming-out party. Vintage/Analogue/Manual Photographers is a relatively new Student Organization with strong roots in the local punk scene, having previously held a fundraiser at JFK House. While this isn’t technically a “benefit” per se, I’m sure that as a relatively new RSO, the VAMP guys appreciate donations as much as the next bunch. And did I mention that there will be free food? On the musical side of things, I need to say this first — If you’ve yet to see Bad Catman, make sure you get to this show. “Folk-punk” (as they’re often described) doesn’t even begin to describe their exceptionally engaging live shows and songwriting. Twin Differences are no slouches as well. And Cole Rabenort? He used to be in some band called Elsinore. Maybe you’ve heard of them?

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