Smile Politely

The Overture: December 6-12

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, December 6th

Improvisers Exchange

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 5:30 p.m.

Led by Jason Finkelman, Improvisers Exchange is an initiative to bring together U of I students and community members to practice improvised music. Check out Smile Politely’s interview with Finkelman to learn more about Improvisers Exchange.

The Urbana Hootenanny

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 8 p.m.

Every Monday at the Rose Bowl, come hang out with some great musicians. A sort of open mic meets song share, you can expect a variety of music and performers.

TUESDAY, December 7th


Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 6:30 p.m.

Featuring Chip Stephens on piano, Joel Spencer on drums, and Larry Gray on bass, this jazz trio will keep you entertained all night long.

WEDNESDAY, December 8th

Matthew Storie Quartet

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

Performing his original tunes along with some jazz standards and holiday classics, saxophonist Matthew Storie and his quartet will definitely keep you entertained. 


Clark Bar // free // 6:30 p.m.

Alternative and indie rock duo Mid-October hits the Clark Bar with some orginal tunes as well as some covers.

Image from Rose Bowl Tavern’s Facebook event page.

Editor’s Pick: Soft and Dumb, Purely Blue, Kangaroo Court, Camp Euphoria

Rose Bowl Tavern // $5 // 9 p.m.

This is my pick for the week. All these bands kick ass. Not much more to say. Alternative, psychedelic, garage rock, and more. This is five dollars well spent. 

THURSDAY, December 9th

Hobnob String Band

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

Every Thursday at 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.

Welcome Joy! with the C-U Symphony Orchestra

Krannert Center // $10-40 // 7:30 p.m.

Come hear some holiday classics provided by Stephen Alltop and the C-U Symphony Orchestra. There will be music from Handel, Mozart, Caccini, and more, along with a holiday sing-along. 

Ian Shepherd and Friends

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 8 p.m.

Drummer Ian Shepherd teams up with other talented local musicians to bring you a great evening of jazz, blues, funk, and rock.

FRIDAY, December 10th

Erik Lund’s Jazz Friends Quintet

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

A tuneful Friday night provided by Jazz Friends, a group made up of Erik Lund on trombone, Jeff Helgesen on trumpet, George Turner on guitar, Emma Taylor on bass, and Ricardo Flores on drums.

Kavi Naidu

NOLA’s Rock Bar // free // 5 p.m.

Saxophonist Kavi Naidu will be performing original compositions, deep jazz cuts, and other classics. 

The Impalas

Huber’s // free // 7 p.m.

The Impalas play at Huber’s, bringing their brand of Texas roadhouse blues. Expect some tasty tunes.

Image from Rose Bowl Tavern’s Facebook event page. 

Nick Moss Band Feat. Curtis Salgad

Rose Bowl Tavern // $20 adv, $25 door // 8 p.m.

Chicago blues guitarist Nick Moss and his band team up with west coast vocalist Curtis Salgad for a night of blues and rock, and hopefully some harmonica from Salgad. 

Danny Attack, Brett Conlin, Werepire Day, Justin Miller, Jerm Plue

Nightshop // $7 adv, $10 door // 8 p.m.

Acoustic punk, folk punk, indie rock, and more at Nightshop this Friday. 5 bands for $7 is a pretty solid deal, so go take a road trip to Bloomington, get some of Nightshop’s jackfruit nachos, and listen to some punk. 

SATURDAY, December 11th

Backyard BBQ Band featuring Dennis Stroughmatt

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 2 p.m.

The Backyard BBQ Band has been around for some time now, playing western, swing, jazz, country, and anything else perfect for a BBQ. 

New Twang City

Huber’s // free // 7 p.m.

Some good ole country honky tonk, this will be a fun Saturday night at Huber’s!

The Bashful Youngens, Emily Anne Band, Garrett Burris & Time To Kill

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

Two great local favorites, The Bashful Youngens and Emily Anne Band, alongside Garrett Burris & Time To Kill from Effingham. This is a great lineup of folk, rock, cosmic country, and americana. 

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.

WetDreamz Queer Experience

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 11 p.m.

DJ lovenloops brings a dance party to the Rose Bowl, with black queer funk, jazz, hip-hop, and R&B. There will also be live projections.

SUNDAY, December 12th

Image from Meadowhawk’s Facebook page.


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

2 fiddles, 1 guitar, one great afternoon of music. Meadowhawk is Claire Johnson, Amanda Ramey, and Matt Turino, playing traditional and original songs.

The Blues Deacons

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 8 p.m.

The blues outfit from Gibson City are hitting the Rose Bowl. Playing originals as well as blues classics, come by and “let the blues ease on into your soul.”

Top image from Meadowhawk’s Facebook page.

Music Editor

Related Articles