Smile Politely

The Overture: December 8–14, 2008

With work, family and updating twitters, 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, Dec. 10 to Friday, Dec. 12: Fall Semester Showdown — Canopy Club, 8 p.m., $5 before 9 p.m. / $7

Wednesday is the last day of classes for all you university students. Sure, there are still finals, but who really takes those anyways? Student or not-student, you should clear your schedule to check out at least one night of the “Fall Semester Showdown.” As the collegiate name implies, the vast majority of bands playing feature university students.

On Wednesday night, the artists all neatly fall somewhere between “folk” and “indie” — whatever those words mean. If you want to see acts like Post Historic, The Hathaways and Jonathon Childers, Wednesday is your night. If improvisation is more your thing, watch Underpaid Packy and Zmick jam each others’ faces off this Thursday. Friday night features the exuberant pop music of Tall Tale and Santa, as well as the expertly executed tunes of Elsinore and New Ruins. Each night is five bucks if you show up before 9 p.m., so get there early.

Friday, Dec. 12: Morgan Orion and the Constellations with Milly Geronimo — Red Herring, 8 p.m., cover tba

Local group Morgan Orion and the Constellations play a unique style of post-twee centering on acoustic guitar while using bells, female vocal harmonies and the occasional toy piano to round off the sound. Milly Geronimo, a quirky combination of Laura Marling and Zoey Deschanel, writes songs with wandering melodies that showcase her distinct vocals. Emily Pritchard, Urbana’s one man act Peninsula and Dwokoneseus will also perform.

Saturday, Dec. 13: Wu Tang Clan with Krukid — Canopy Club, 8 p.m., $35

Mastakilla, GZA, RZA, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Raekwon, Cappadonna and Ghostface Killah are coming to Champaign-Urbana. Considering the work, influence and prestige this super group collectively contains, $35 doesn’t seem like a whole lot. That’s barely more than $4 per performer. Any group that warrants this Wikipedia page, is worth checking out. The always excellent Krukid will also perform.

Saturday, Dec. 13: Jack Pine Savage — Red Herring, 8 p.m., $5

Jack Pine Savage headlines another Green Street Records showcase at The Red Herring. Given the energy this band brings on stage and the ecstatic crowds that typically show up, I’m surprised these guys aren’t a bigger name in the campus music scene. Just because Jack Pine Savage doesn’t arbitrarily add the label “indie” to their music, doesn’t mean they aren’t worth checking out. Also performing is Five Oh First and The Brother Whys.

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