Smile Politely

The Overture: December 1 – December 7, 2008

With work, the holidays and finals quickly approaching, 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:

Wednesday December 3: The Brother Whys — Canopy Club, 9 p.m., $7

The Brother Whys, a quintet of university students, uses sunny guitar and catchy keys to elicit foot tapping to their brooding, introspective pop songs. Guy and girl vocal harmonies keep the songs light, and at its best the music sounds like a strange hybrid of Death Cab For Cutie, Motion City Soundtrack and even a little Headlights. Lucky Mulholland will also play Wednesday night.

Thursday December 4: Denison Witmer, Erin Fein — Courtyard Café, 8 p.m., $3/$5

Speaking of Headlights, Erin Fein will be performing a solo set at the Courtyard Café in the Illini Union this Thursday. This video might give you an idea of what that’ll be like. Also playing is Philadelphia folk-pop performer Denison Witmer, whose delicate tunes are filled with bright instrumentation and influenced by friends and collaborators such as Rosie Thomas, Shara Worden and Sufjan Stevens. Sunset Stallion will open with an acoustic set.

Thursday December 4: Morris Ardoin Creole Quartet — Iron Post, 7 p.m., cover tbd

Son of legendary Creole-Cajun musician Bois Sec, Morris Ardoin follows in his father’s footsteps as one of the preeminent Creole musicians around today. Based out of Louisiana, the quartet features Ardoin on accordion and Dennis Stroughmatt on fiddle.

Saturday December 6: WRFU Benefit — Cowboy Monkey, 6 p.m., $4

WRFU 104.5 FM, the local, low-power radio station dedicated to social justice and the support of local arts, is asking for a little help. Looking to put up a permanent radio tower, the people at WRFU are hosting a benefit show that features 16 local acts playing from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. this Saturday. The $4 donation lets you come and go as you please, but why would you want to leave when acts like Krukid, New Ruins, Common Loon, The Duke of Uke and many more are scheduled to perform? Check back later this week for more on this show and the station in general.

Saturday December 6: David Bazan, Casados — Courtyard Café, 9 p.m., $3/ $5

The Courtyard Café put together a great week of live music. David Bazan, the bearded songwriter behind Pedro the Lion, will perform what is sure to be a worthwhile set of fantastic songs. The always great Casados will open for Bazan.

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