Smile Politely

The Overture: July 27 – August 2

With school, work, family, and staying up late to watch thunderstorms, who has the time to find out about the best shows happening in Champaign-Urbana? No need to fear, because the editors at Smile Politely have taken care of it.

What: Catfish Haven, Stranger Waves, and Man Made Blast

When: Tuesday, July 28; 8 p.m.

Where: Mike ‘n Molly’s, FREE (any donations go straight to the bands)

Hopefully we’re not being too annoying about the promotion of this event, but forgive us: we’re just really excited about it. Each one of the three bands is well worth your time (if not your money, with it being a free show and all), and each is compelling for their own unique reason. Catfish Haven’s sound has been described as “garage soul,” and they’re on one of the most influential indie labels around — Secretly Canadian.

Stranger Waves are bringing the grungy, garage-rock sound that isn’t frequently heard from stages in Champaign-Urbana. Plus, they’re considered the best rock act going in Chicago by The Reader, whose opinion we greatly respect.

Man Made Blast made quite a splash around these parts a couple of months ago with some strong statements in their WEFT Sessions interview. This is their chance to show that their mouths haven’t been kiting checks on their asses’ account. Their new album is available for free download here, so you can get an idea of what to expect beforehand.

And the best part: it’s free. Come on out and see us on Tuesday night, you won’t be sorry.

What: Jorge and Thee S-words, The Palace Flophouse

When: Thursday, July 30; 11 p.m.

Where: The Canopy Club, $7

Speaking of genres that don’t get a lot of play in C-U, whither surf rock? And what about nonsensical, bilingual stage banter and songs about werewolves and mariachis?

And while that combination may be unique almost by definition, Jorge and Thee S-words are an insanely entertaining live band. Frontman Mario Guzman (left) is a charismatic, slightly untethered personality, keeping JATSW shows teetering on the edge of chaos. Songs like “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” and “Crazy Mariachi” combine distorted hooks with distorted lyrics, which is an intoxicating mix. Check out “Crazy Mariachi” below, recorded below at their only gig thus far that hasn’t been busted by either the police or an upset mom:

What: Rodeo Ruby Love

When: Thursday, July 30; 7 p.m.

Where: 509 W. Nevada, Urbana; TBA

Seven kids. Summer. Indiana. Probably best to take off for a bit and play some tunes to other kids in other states. That’s precisely the scenario that has Rodeo Ruby Love out on the road this summer with Traveling By Sea. They will make a stop at “Dave’s House” on Thursday night, and based on their MySpace tunes, those in attendance will likely have something highly decent to talk about with their roomies when they get home. Simply stated: the songs are good. Plus, can’t beat a house party in the summer.

What: Venice is Sinking, The Third Flight

When: Friday, July 31; 9 p.m.

Where: Bentley’s; $3

In towns like Athens, Ga, where bands generally not only write songs, but also go on tour, there is a slightly competitive edge to everything that a band does. That includes how well their tours go. So, when Venice is Sinking pulls into town to perform at Bentley’s on Friday night, with perhaps the most mismatched local support band in the history of support bands, what will they tell their foes back home about Champaign? Let’s hope it’s positive, because this is a band completely and totally worth your time. They are on tour. Like a band should be.

What: Central Illinois MetalFest

When: Friday, July 31 – Sat August 1; Gates at noon each day

Where: The Canopy Club; $65 in ADV for both days

That there is even a metal fest in this little town is remarkable. We’re not going to pretend to know who Goat Whore is, or why they are on the bill. What we do know is this: if you go, don’t mention how much you love Mastodon or Tool. You will get your ass kicked. No lie.







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