2011 came to a close Saturday, concluding another great year in the Champaign-Urbana music scene. Prior to this show I had only heard stories about New Year’s Eve shows in Champaign through word of mouth, so experiencing this bill of The Dirty Feathers, Elsinore and Temple of Low Men firsthand was something worth remembering. It closed the book on the year with a swagger that could only be emphasized by covering classic tunes from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. I can’t think of a much better time to shoot for the stars than on New Year’s Eve.
Without question, these groups have made their mark on what continues to be a flourishing music scene in CU. Oftentimes their sets are more memorable than the national touring acts they open for (Saturday at Pygmalion is a prime example). The Dirty Feathers and Elsinore both had successful years: The Dirty Feathers releasing their debut LP Midnight Snakes that received some good attention from us, as well as the folks over at NPR, and Elsinore following up their debut with an excellent EP.
Most bands could pull off a standard set of their own material, and expand on what new material they have been writing and playing in their practice space. Making sure the live set is fresh and exciting is always a plus, and to pull off new songs, as well as great covers, is an impressive feat. Both groups pulled out all the stops with making this New Year’s Eve memorable.
The Dirty Feathers performed an excellent rendition of The Rolling Stones’ “Monkey Man” and classic “Jumpin’ Jack Flash;” the performances included Shipwreck’s John Owen on guitar and local “legend” Aaron Davidson on vocals. Dave Pride of Elsinore even made an appearance, playing a solid tambourine in a few of the songs. These stage antics, that have become a staple of what makes The Dirty Feathers’ live show so great, are both impressive and comical at times. Not to mention, Elsinore pulled off a Beatles medley of “Golden Slumbers”/”Carry That Weight”/“The End” off of Abbey Road. These parts of the live show are not surprising to see anymore, but are always impressive.
Naturally, as with most other NYE celebrations, came the standard toasts with champagne, the countdown to midnight, and balloons to ring in the New Year. While good local music can be overlooked or taken for granted throughout the year, these types of shows are something special. Although I could not be two places at once on Saturday, surely between this show and the New Ruins show at Mike ‘N’ Molly’s, the community could celebrate another year in music to take pride in.
After it was all said and done, all three bands on the bill laid everything out on the stage and definitely gave people a reason to celebrate 2011 and to look forward to 2012.