Smile Politely

The Overture: August 2-8

The Overture is a rundown of live music and performances happening in and around Champaign-Urbana each week. All of the information is as accurate as we can publish; however, all shows and performances are subject to change at any time. Thank you for understanding.

Did we miss something this week? Have a show coming up you think we should know about? Email us at with the details.

MONDAY, August 2nd

John Aulabaugh 

WEFT Sessions (virtual) // free // 10 p.m.

Singer-songwriter John Aulabaugh performs live on WEFT, bringing his 1970s inspired rock and roll. He is performing solo, but will no doubt keep you captivated. You can listen to his live new album Sweet As You on Bandcamp.

Improvisers Exchange

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 5 p.m.

Put on by faculty, students, and special guests at the University of Illinois School of Music, Improvisers Exchange explores “omni-idiomatic improvised music” with an ensemble of musicians. This is sure to be an exciting night!

TUESDAY, August 3rd

Harry Tonchev Trio

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 5 p.m.

Jazz happy hour at Rose Bowl! I love me some jazz guitar, and the Harry Tonchev Trio knows how to bring it. Playing traditional and contemporary jazz, this is going to be a great night. 

Portrait of musician Kayla Brown

Photo from Kayla Brown Music’s Facebook Page

Kayla Brown 

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 7:30 p.m.

Tunesday Tuesday at Rose Bowl! This week with the musical stylings of Kayla Brown (of We The Animals). Brown’s captivating voice is sure to keep you entertained. 

WEDNESDAY, August 4th

Chip McNeil Quartet

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 5 p.m.

Saxophonist Chip McNeil returns to bang out the tunes with his quartet. Come hang out for happy hour!

THURSDAY, August 5th

Jake Fava

Houlihans // free // 6 p.m.

You may know Jake Fava from his group Jake Fava and the Booth Blues. Tonight he is performing solo, but will still blow you away. 

Hobnob String Band

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 5 p.m.

Every Thursday! Outside on the patio of Rose Bowl, Hobnob brings you some great acoustic music, from blues to bluegrass and other styles. Catch some great harmonies, and of course some wonderful fingerpicking. 

Mark Laughlin, Nancy Livingston, Dada Veda

Sipyard // free // 7 p.m.

A wonderful night of music with three local musicians, each bringing a range of talent. Come hear some great tunes at Sipyard. 

L’Esprit Creole

►Allerton Park // free // 6 p.m.

Playing some French music from “Old Upper Louisiana,” as well as some Cajun and country tunes, this will be a fun evening at Allerton. Bring a blanket or lawn chair, and sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds. 

FRIDAY, August 6th

Billy Galt

Hubers // free // 6 p.m.

On the patio at Hubers, Billy Galt lays down some great acoustic blues. 

portrait of musician Jordan Kaye playing guitar.

Photo from Rose Bowl Tavern’s Facebook event page

Jordan Kaye, The Tunewrangler

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 5 p.m.

Bringing you songs, stories, and witty banter, Jordan Kaye is sure to be a night of fun. With a mix of rock, folk, and requests, come hangout at the Rose Bowl Patio. 

Belle Isle, The Merry Travelers, Asher Danziger, Inland Calypso

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 7:30 p.m.

Just heard Jordan Kaye? Want even more music? Stick around, because The Rose Bowl has a full lineup of music tonight with some amazing local bands. You won’t want to leave.

Hot Club of Urbana

Cystal Lake Park // free // 12 p.m.

Folk and Roots Fridays return on August 6th, with Hot Club of Urbana. The concerts will be held at the Lake House at Crystal Lake, and will happen every two weeks. 

Friday Night Live

Downtown Champaign // free // 6 p.m.

Another week of live music downtown, with lineups changing weekly. Check out their Facebook page to see the full details, including set times and locations. 

SATURDAY, August 7th

Kilborn Alley Blues Band

Alto Vineyards // free // 7:30 p.m.

Spend your Saturday evening with a glass of wine listening to some “gritty Chicago blues and southern fried soul” with Kilborn Alley. 

Liza Petry 

Hubers // free // 6 p.m.

Spend your Saturday evening with a glass of wine listening to some “gritty Chicago blues and southern fried soul” with Kilborn Alley. 

Photo by Eric Frahm

Editor’s Pick: Matt Turino and Claire Johnson

Baxter’s American Grille // free // 6 p.m.

Two fiddles come together to create a wonderfully enchanting night of music at Baxters. You may know Turino and Johnson from their other group Meadowhawk. Quit fiddling around and get to this show!

Horsecorn Cole

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 1:30 p.m.

Come spend your Saturday afternoon with Horsecorn Cole, who will be slinging actual vinyl records. Get your taste of some golden era country music. 

Eddy and The Vortexers

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 4 p.m.

Bringing electric blues, country, and rock and roll, make sure to bring your dancing shoes, as Rose Bowl will be rocking. 

John and Julie Pennell with Brian Wilkie and Dawna Nelson

Rose Bowl Tavern // $15 cover // 7:30 p.m.

A night full of great tunes, and some special guests. The $15 cover will be worth it, no doubt, so come and enjoy. 

DJ Belly

NOLA’s Rock Bar // free // 10 p.m.

Looking for some late night Saturday fun? DJ Belly has you covered, spinning beats at NOLA’s through the evening, so come out and bring your best dance moves — it’s going to be a party. 

SUNDAY, August 8th

Afro D and Global Soundwaves 

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 4 p.m.

Bringing an energizing set of jazz, funk, and hip hop, this seven piece band is going to a hell of a fun show. Plus all ages, so bring the whole family and get ready to move.

Matt Turino and Claire Johnson

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 7 p.m.

If you missed them at Baxters yesterday, you can catch them at Rose Bowl today! 

Belle Isle, Modern Drugs

Hessel Park // free // 6 p.m.

Come to Hessel park on Sunday for the Champaign Park District Summer Concert. Featuring two great locals bands both formed during COVID lockdown, Belle Isle is the talented combination of Kayla Brown and Ian Shephard, and Modern Drugs is the new project of Ryan Groff (of Elsinore). This is going to be a fun one. 

Top photo by Eric Frahm

Music Editor

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