Smile Politely

Pygmalion Day by Day: The good, the bad and the party

In order to assist with your Pygmalion experience, Smile Politely has put together this quick guide to help you decide where to find the action this weekend.

Whether you’re looking for the party’s nucleus, for the pinnacle of musical virtue or for the shows to just plain ignore, we’ve got you covered.

Check out the full schedule in HTML format here or download the PDF here.



Opening night provides only one option, Canopy Club, where the event will be set off properly with an evening full of local flavor. Locals Common Loon begin the evening around 8:30 with their velvety layers of wispy harmonies and Guided By Voices dynamics.

The Good: The 11 p.m. and 12 a.m. slots are both enormous as opening night marks the release party of Headlights‘ long awaited third album, Wildlife. Expect a rousing performance when the now five-piece takes the stage around midnight, as the catchy pop hooks of their newest effort are sure to be unavoidably contagious. And don’t miss Japandroids‘ set immediately before Headlights for a dirtier taste of Canadian garage rock duos.

The Bad: C’mon? Closing opening night of a live music festival with Canopy Club’s Physical Challenge DJ’s? You might as well head home and rest up for Thursday.

The Party: If you haven’t overdosed on the giddy vibes of any of the previous acts, then the party you are probably looking for is the aforementioned Physical Challenge. We’ll leave the ball in your court to decide how to spend your time.


Thursday night is where the decisions begin. With events beginning in the afternoon and running until well after midnight, you’re left pondering where to split your time between seven disparate venues. Suggestion: go easy on the sauce early on so you can hop around town without any problems from the fuzz.

The Good: For those of you unfortunate enough to miss out on Pygmalion’s all-access passes, I would recommend the free show starting at 6:40 p.m. at Krannert Art Museum featuring My Brightest Diamond and William Fitzsimmons. For those in the loop, it looks like Canopy Club might be your best bet where Athens’ Maserati may easily steal the show with their blend of ambient psychedelia that merges the gap between the Stooges and Pink Floyd. If you’re lucky, drummer Jerry Fuchs might even break out those gorgeous blue Ludwig Vistalites that will make your sister’s bathing suit area melt.

The Bad: Not only is The Highdive a little off the beaten path for Thursday’s action, but moreover, the abundance of DJs doesn’t help its appeal. Kudos to DJ Belly and DJ Mertz, but they’re both area locals so this won’t be the last time to check them out if you miss them.

The Party: Red Herring looks promising for an impromptu party to the sounds of Post Historic and World’s First Flying Machine, but look for the early slots at the Canopy Club to start the party early and keep it rolling all night. Locals Santa and Elsinore are sure to be a hit, but Chicago’s Joe Pug might be a temporary solemn lull in the evening’s pace.


With eight venues to choose from, things don’t get any easier. Free shows at Blue’s BBQ and Sandella’s are a no-brainer, but Canopy Club, Mike N’ Molly’s and Bentley’s Pub are all vying for your attention.

The Good: Start the evening in downtown Champaign at Mike N’ Molly’s where the Duke of Uke, The Number One Sons and Tina Sparkle all offer their charmingly odd takes on traditional rock ‘n roll. Chances are Tina Sparkle’s Marsha Satterfield will play with more Pete Townsend-ian fury than any male gracing the stage this evening. If time allows, rush over to Bentley’s Pub to catch Alpha Mile and Golden Quality before heading to Canopy Club to close out the evening with Autolux and Wavves beginning around midnight.

The Bad: Channing-Murray hosts an evening of sleepy ambient visuals beginning with You and Yourn around 6:30 p.m. and continuing with Hathaways, Good Night and Good Morning, and Low. The place may be packed, but don’t expect a thrilling atmosphere or a frenzied Friday night vibe.

The Party: Weather permitting, Mike N’ Molly’s is going to have a killer outdoor show, but the hype surrounding San Diego’s Wavves might just be insurmountable. Let’s face it: minimalistic garage duos are the new thing, even if these guys are rolling with prescription medication addictions, on-stage breakdowns and egos the size of Kanye West.


The quality of free shows during this year’s Pygmalion reach their apex Saturday afternoon with in-store shows at Exile on Main Street (featuring Zach May & the Maps and the Curses) and Parasol Records (featuring acoustic sets from New Ruins and the Horse’s Ha) as well as Ra Ra Riot at the Krannert Center. The evening will be not tread lightly either, with dynamic lineups spread across town.

The Good: Obviously, most of you will head out to Iron and Wine and The Books at Krannert Center. Good call as this is the weekend’s main event, but might I suggest ducking into Mike N Molly’s afterward to catch Scurvine and Kansas City’s The Life and Times. Downtown Champaign also hosts full-band sets from New Ruins and the Horse’s Ha at Cowboy Monkey and local favorite Mordechai in the Mirror at Bentley’s Pub.

The Bad: Enough already! Canopy Club is begins their evening with the Physical Challenge DJs and concludes with RJD2. Aside from what should provide an interesting artistic interlude from Portland’s YACHT, Canopy Club has packed the bill with synthetic electronic dickery. Keep your eyes out for YACHT, though. You have to respect any band that promotes its artistic philosophy over its musical ability while listing Yoko Ono as a primary influence.

The Party: For whatever reason, people love RJD2. Expect a large dance party style turnout for him, but if you’re looking for the real hungover-for-a-few-days-afterwards party, drop by Cowboy Monkey where local heroes New Ruins will close out the weekend in the way only locals can.

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