Smile Politely

The Overture: March 29 – April 4

WHAT: James McMurtry, The Bottle Rockets

WHERE: Highdive ($18 advance, $20 door)

WHEN: Tuesday, March 29 at 7 p.m.

This double bill has had fans of the Whip (and others) drooling in anticipation since it was first announced. McMurtry is well-known in local circles and played an outstanding show last year at the Rosebowl. And the Bottle Rockets are no strangers to Champaign either. We’re still waiting for the live DVD featuring footage from the Highdive they recorded two years ago. Word is they’re adding some footage from a Chicago show and hope to release it this fall. The Highdive recently launched a new website, so be sure to take a look at the new digs if you want more info on this show.


WHAT: Colour Revolt, Native, So Long Forgotten

WHERE: Canopy Club ($10 advance, $12 door)

WHEN: Thursday, March 31 at 6 p.m.

Colour Revolt played last year’s Pygmalion Festival and return to town for a headlining gig. The band’s sound feels like a sun-burnt, Mississipi version of indie rock. Native is the Indiana hardcorish soundscape band that last came through town about a year ago. So Long Forgotten is one the many Champaign/Chicago bands that continues to put in the hard work and quietly grow its fanbase.

WHAT: Susanne Vega

WHERE: Krannert Tyrone Festival Theater (various prices)

WHEN: Friday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Suzanne Vega is still best known for songs from her Tom’s Diner album, though she had a minor hit later with “99.9 Degrees Fahrenheit”. But she has continued to release new music over the last twenty years, including an appearance on the David Lynch/Sparklehorse/Danger Mouse Dark Night of Soul collaboration album that came out about a year ago. And as if rereleasing many of her classic songs in paired down versions isn’t enough, she’s just about to make her Off-Broadway debut. Should be a pretty great time to see the influential songwriter.

WHAT: The Duke of Uke and His Novelty Orchestra, Amy Mitchell Band, Brother Embassy

WHERE: Mike ‘N Molly’s ($5)

WHEN: Friday, April 1, 10 p.m.

The Duke of Uke is the perfect band to play any holiday — Halloween, Mardi Gras and April Fools Day. Not sure if they have any specific April Fool’s plans, but I would not bet against it. Brother Embassy is a local funk/R&B outfit. That’s about all I know, and I know less about the Amy Mitchell Band. So if anyone knows more, please help me out. Regardless, it’s nice to see Mike ‘N Molly’s diversifying their acts a little bit more often.

WHAT: Jet W. Lee, Great Life, Hemmingbirds

WHERE: Cowboy Monkey ($5)

WHERE: Friday, April 1, 10:30 p.m.

I think I’ve mentioned this a lot, but in case you didn’t know, JWL main man Jesse Johnson and Hemmingbirds main man Yoo Soo Kim used to be in local band Post Historic together. But they have both forged their own identities in bands with distinctive styles and well-received debut albums. I’m not sure if the Great Life has any Post Historic connection, but their sound should fit nicely into a night of melodic rock.

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