Smile Politely

The Overture: April 20–26

With school, work, family, and listening to the new Animal Collective record that has been spinning in your head non-stop for the past few weeks, who has the time to find out about the best shows happening in Champaign-Urbana? No need to fear, because the editors here at Smile Politely have taken care of it. Here are the must-see shows of the week:

When: Monday, April 20

What: Julie Fowlis

Where: Highdive, 8 p.m., $20

On Friday we interviewed Ms. Fowlis, and over the weekend her publicist sent a recently-released video of her covering the Beatles’ “Blackbird.” If you’ve been wondering what she sounds like singing in English, you’ll have to wait until the last verse; the first couple are in Gaelic.

                                                                                When: Thursday, April 23

What: The Appleseed Cast, An Horse, Company of Thieves, Tyson & the Friction

Where: Canopy Club, 9 p.m., $10

The Appleseed Cast are emo old school, dating back to the days of The Promise Ring and pre-blowin’ up Jimmy Eat World. A decade in the emo community does seem like forever. The Lawrence-based band are touring in support of their new record, Sagarmatha, which Allmusic calls “dreamy, powerfully bleak, and drenched in reverb.” Maybe it’s time to drop the emo tag? Female-fronted indie rockers Company of Thieves, from Chicago, and local electro-pop duo Tyson & the Friction, open. Want to win tickets to this show? Find out the details here.


When: Friday, April 24

What: Whiskey Daredevils

Where: Radmakers (in Tolono), 10 p.m., Cover?

The best venue in Champaign County not in C-U brings the heat this Friday when they present one of the finest and hardest working rock bands in the Midwest. Expect drinks. And lots of fun.



When: Friday April 24

What: Ryan Groff, Audrey Ryan, Casados

Where: Mike ‘n Molly’s, 9 p.m., $7

Listen. We think live music is pretty much the greatest. And what’s more, we like when someone gives it a name. The Shadowboxer Collective has done just that this past year, booking shows in intimate spaces to present some of the best that the road has to offer, and pairing it with some of C-U’s finest as well. Great expectations have come to accompany these little affairs now, after a string of successful shows, and we’ve got the feeling that this one will not disappoint. Ryan Groff and Casados are sure to please as always, but the gem of the show is in Ms. Audrey Ryan, whose vocal delivery and off-kilter instrumentation are bound to please fans of Joanna Newsom, My Brightest Diamond and Feist.

When: Saturday, April 25

What: The HUE

Where: Highdive, 8 p.m., $5

Prog-jam-rock band The HUE make a stop in downtown Champaign this weekend in advance of their performance at Summer Camp Festival this coming May. You can hear the influences in their “compositions” (they list themselves as composers on their myspace): Rush, Yes, Tool and even some early Genesis.

When: Saturday, April 25

What: Cameron McGill and What Army, Snowsera

Where: Cowboy Monkey, 10:30 p.m., $5

OK, we write an awful lot about Cameron McGill. But can you blame us? The former Champaign resident keeps us firmly engaged with his ever-melodic songs filled with hope and despair. He croons with the best of them. Snowsera opens.

When: Sunday, April 26

What: World’s First Flying Machine, Zach May & The Maps

Where: Canopy Club, 11 p.m. Free

Lebowski Achiever’s Fest winds up in the Void Room with a couple of local bands on the rise. World’s First Flying Machine is quickly becoming a staple and is high on the running to become part of the annals of C-U indie rock if they stick it out for a bit and hone in on their Mangum-inspired sounds. Zach May & The Maps are newest to the scene, but have already been making waves amongst those who can appreciate a little indie rock with a side of eclectic pretentiousness. We happen to love it.

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