Smile Politely

The Overture: May 4–10

With school, work, family, and installing six foot security fences, 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:

When: Tuesday May 5

What: The Delta Kings

Where: El Toro II; Free; 6 p.m.

The Delta Kings are one of those bands that won’t quit, no matter if the current trends or their ages tell them otherwise. With over 750 shows logged, there is simply no way of telling when it might end. Probably upon death. This week, they help bring in Cinco de Mayo at El Toro II, which is the second of the El Toro chains, but not El Torero or Taco Loco or… well fuck it… there’s good music by the Delta Kings Tuesday at El Toro II on Neil St. Boom.


When: Wednesday May 6

What: Dan Deacon w/ Double DaggerTeeth Mountain and

Where: The Canopy Club; $10 in advance; $13 at the door; 9 p.m.

With Pygmalion Music Festival 2009 announcements in full swing, it only seems appropriate that we’d start seeing a few alumni come along to help preview the next festival this fall. First up this week, Dan Deacon, whose show at last year’s festival was so good/bad (depending on your view) that the stage at the Canopy literally collapsed under all the indie-flesh dancing on it. This Wednesday, he returns, but don’t expect a traditional Deacon show with a green glowing skull; this time he has a 13-piece ensemble with him. You’ll know they are here by the smell. They are traveling in an old school bus that runs on vegetable oil. Long-live the thin line between hippies and hipsters! Double Dagger and Teeth Mountain open.

Want to win some tickets? Click here to find out how.

UPDATE: Show has been canceled due to Dan Deacon driving a veggie bus at 40 mph. They can’t make the show, because it would “make the rest of the tour impossible.”

When: Thursday May 7

What: George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic

Where: The Canopy Club; $27 in advance; $30 at the door; 8 p.m.

If you are reading this paragraph and hoping for some insight as to the reasons why you might think about attending this show, let us disabuse you of your rights as a listener of music. Without George Clinton, there is no hip-hop; there is no rap; there is no funk as we know it today. The ticket price is steep, that is true, but the man is a certified ICON, and that’s something that can’t be argued. How much longer will he be alive? No one knows. Rock stars tend to die, usually.



When: Friday May 8

What: Three Hour Tour w/ The Handcuffs

Where: Cowboy Monkey; $5 at the door 9 p.m.

If you haven’t heard Three Hour Tour perform, there is a legitimate excuse waiting for you: they haven’t been a band for a very long time. But seemingly out of nowhere, the classic Champaign power-rock group has been popping up to perform their brand of lo-fi indie jams. Not surprisingly, you can hear a lot of bands like Elsinore, Headlights, Santa, and the like in their tunes, because this is one group that simply helped define our “Champaign Sound.”

When: Friday May 8

What: Post Historic w/ Sunset Stallion, On Again Off Again, Jennifer Hedstrom

Where: The Canopy Club; $7 at the door 10:30 p.m.

Post Historic has quickly ascended up the ranks of the indie elite in Champaign-Urbana, and it’s mostly due to Yoo Soo Kim and his smart decisions as a guitarist and violinist. They will be performing with campustown mainstays Sunset Stallion, newcomers On Again Off Again and solo singer-songwriter Jennifer Hedstrom. It’s a showcase of sorts, something that The Canopy is known to do, and do well, even with sound that leaves much to be desired in the front room.

When: Saturday May 9

What: Wil Maring and Robert Bowlin

Where: Independent Media Center; $12 in advance; $15 at the door; 7 p.m.

The IMC welcomes a roots music showcase with Maring and Bowlin, both of Cobden, Illinois (just north of Cairo). Should be a great show in an intimate venue. If you are feeling up for learning a bit more about the way these two craft a song, get in touch with Ed Hawkes at 217-493-4654 and you can sign up for their workshop that afternoon. All of this should fit nicely into what will likely become the type of precursor we see leading up to the Inaugural CU Folk and Roots Festival. They are calling it the First Annual, but, um, that don’t make no sense at’all…


When: Saturday May 9

What: The Greencards

Where: The Canopy Club; $10 in advance, $12 at the door; 6 p.m.

It’s competing bluegrass band night, as Australia-and-England-by-way-of-Austin’s The Greencards come to town for a little bit of pickin’ and a-singin’. They were last seen at Krannert Center’s Outside series in the Fox-developed Research Park on North First St. south of Campustown. That they are performing in the Void Room at Canopy Club should make for a very, very intimate night of very, very good music.

When: Saturday May 9

What: Santa w/ World’s First Flying Machine, Roses and Sake and Empyrean Soul

Where: The Canopy Club; $7 at the door 10:30 p.m.

Another in a series of local music showcases, this one is simply second to none. Both Santa and WFFM have cemented their places in the top tier of revered indie bands in the C-U scene. Roses and Sake are back from the dead, and this will be Empyrean Soul’s debut performance at a music venue. Good stuff.

When: Sunday May 10

What: Asobi Seksu w/ Sam Lowry and TBD

Where: The Canopy Club; $12 at the door

Pygmalion alumni? Check. Signed to a local label? Check. Hot new album? Check. Great night to perform in Champaign? Negative. Asobi Seksu, one of indie rock’s loudest bands, who happen to be signed to local juggernaut label Polyvinyl, make a stop in town on Sunday night. It also happens to be the night before finals start for 37,500 students on campus. And it’s a Sunday. Which, well, sucks. Needless to say, we fully endorse this show. They are awesome.

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