Smile Politely

Sun Stereo and The Fights blow the lid off of Cowboy Monkey

Cowboy Monkey was a little rowdy this past Friday. I had the distinct pleasure to witness a strange but somehow fitting combination of two of Champaign-Urbana’s best musical acts: The Fights, Urbana’s premier not-quite-country band who performed the sonic equivalent of a cold beer at sunset in Spring, and Sun Stereo, a funk-pop-rock act reminiscent of tripping on acid.

Cole Rabenort of the Fights

The Fights kicked off the night with their characteristic rural-Americana sound. Smooth lap steal and acoustic guitars blended with crunchy electric tones to create a vast array of simplified but eclectic sounds. The Fights’ performance always brings emotion close to the surface, with heartfelt ballads leading directly to in your face rock riffs. Their great songwriting and unique style never fails to draw the attention of the audience.

Sun Stereo later took the stage in a segue as striking as it was impressive. This seven piece’s groovy mix of brass instruments, keyboards, radio-worthy vocals, drums, bass, and guitar provide a baseline fit for any 70’s funk band. Add in reflective outfits, luminescent hula hoops, and an impressive, fast paced light show and you’ve got yourself the spectacle that calls itself Sun Stereo. One of the great aspects of this band is it’s audience appeal and stage presence. Their enthusiasm puts them over the top as one of the best live acts from Champaign-Urbana.

Kelly McMorris of Sun Stereo

I highly recommend you take a second to check out these bands. Both live and in the studio, they do not disappoint.

Nick Stine of the Fights

Sun Stereo

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Photos courtesy of Tom Chandler/Odd World Photography

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