Smile Politely

The Overture:  Oct. 12–18

With school, work, family and Nobel Peace Prizes to win, 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. 

rcWhatRoger Clyne and the Peacemakers, The Coal Men

When:  Tuesday, Oct. 13

Where:  The Highdive, $12

With all the Southwestern and Latin flair that comes along with the aesthetic of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, they have a very concentrated American sound.  Perhaps more astutely American than their sound, however, is their keen American business sense.  They are the only independent band to debut in the Top 10 on Billboard’s Internet Sales chart and they recently released Glow In The Dark, a live recording taped at Mexicali Blues in Teaneck, New Jersey, as a web-only release.  Nashville trio the Coal Men should offer a nice compliment to the evening with their sophisticated, poignant southern rock flavor. 


slfWhatSo Long Forgotten, Rocket Boys, Dignan

When:  Wednesday, Oct. 14, 6 p.m.

Where:  Canopy Club, $7 in advance

Local Christian hardcore/emo darlings hit the Canopy Club Wednesday night in support of their newest release, Things We Can See and Things We Cannot, which has been getting some pretty decent reviews.  Regardless of how confusing it can often be these days to navigate through the mazes of overt and covert Christian rock, this show should hold all of the great communal atmosphere that comes with the territory, but without the preachy stuff. Rocket Boys and Dignan, both bands that formed by friendships over necessity, open and will contribute to the genial atmosphere.


pmWhatPhillip Morris, Mordechai In The Mirror, Cornbread, Jay Moses, DJ Belly and DJ Substr8

When:  Thursday, Oct. 15

Where:  Canopy Club, $7

Chicago’s Phillip Morris headlines a local heavy hip hop and electronic bill at Canopy Club Thursday night with a little bit of Mordechai in the Mirror sprinkled in for flavor. Don’t presume that the latter will seem terribly out of place, though, as Morris has numerous collaborations with cellist Lilianna Zofia and violinist Hanna Rae of the Tomorrow Music Orchestra under his belt.  This show should be a welcome breath of fresh air after the debasement of hip hop culture C-U witnessed in weeks past.


bmWhatBrighton MA, Darling Disarm, We Landed on the Moon, Black Whales

When:  Friday, Oct. 16, 9:30 p.m.

Where:  Cowboy Monkey, $7

Chicago’s Brighton MA pulls together a complicated sound in a very efficient, simplistic manner.  Channeling the pop elegance of acts like Neil Young, the Kinks and Neutral Milk Hotel, they make this stuff look easy and they’re celebrating their recent success with free downloads of six tracks from their four-show run at Schuba’s in Chicago from February 2009.  We Landed on the Moon (or more appropriately these days, “we shot some rockets at the moon in search of water”) round out the bill with their super-excited sound along with Seattle’s dirty garage-psych rockers Black Whales and locals Darling Disarm. 


WhatBlitzen Trapper, The Shaky Hands

When:  Friday, Oct. 16, 7 p.m.

Where:  Canopy Club; $10 in advance

Blitzen Trapper’s 2008 album, Furr, is so eclectic that I literally laughed out loud the first time I listened to it. From the stoner rock of “Sleepy Time in the Western World” to the acoustic folk of the title track, the murder ballad “Black River Killer,” and the metal-ish “Gold for Bread,” there’s a full career’s worth of genres in the Portland, Oregon, group’s album. They recently released Black River Killer, an EP with a remix of the title track and six new tracks.

lookWhatLookbook, Pamela Machala

When:  Saturday, Oct. 17

Where:  Courtyard Café

Minneapolis art rock duo Lookbook offer a paradox of sounds with the sweet reverby voice of Maggie Morrison complementing beautifully the electronic digitalia of Grant Cutler.  Think of what it would sound like to go to a party where everything is in slow motion and you’re trying to hit on a certain someone from across the room, all the while Portishead and Bjork are laying down the soundtrack with weird sonic experiments you’ve never heard before.  And that wouldn’t even start to come close. 

Local singer / songwriter Pamela Machala closes the night with what will likely be a very decent set of piano-driven songs a la Feist and Tori Amos.

And also, for what it’s worth, Lookboox will be appearing later that night at Mike N’ Molly’s for the Big Science show at around 10:30 p.m. So you have no excuse to not see them.




WhatThrash Zombie, E.A.R. Thought, Reign of Cerberus

When:  Saturday, Oct. 17, 9 p.m.

Where:  Po’ Boys (1901 S. High Cross Rd., Urbana, Illinois 61802), $6

Thrash Zombie’s bio is worth repeating in whole: 

tz“From the primordial depths of Piatt County and the seeping sewage of Champaign, crawl out THRASH ZOMBIE. Composed of three eaters of the flesh and rippers of the skin, anything short of mercy drips from the bleeding screams, blasting drums, and ripping riffs of THRASH ZOMBIE. The ink of the stamp of Apocalypse has dried with only the CHOSEN undead left in its wake. Waves of disease project what can only be described as aural torment, laying to waste life as we know it in the blink of an eye. THRASH ZOMBIE unleash the relentless hunger for something more than mere sustenance. The craving, the withdrawal, and the metal are all that remains.”

Their logo includes a makeshift crucifix, dismembered body parts and an eyeball.  What else do you need to know?  Fort Wayne’s E.A.R. Thought (the acronym stands for “exterminate all rational”) and Danville’s Reign of Cerberus open.

Do you know about something we don’t?  Want to promote your own gig?  Peep the comment section below. 


Looking ahead…



10/22 Avett Brothers @ Canopy Club

10/24 Great Lake Swimmers + The Wooden Birds @ Courtyard Cafe

10/24 Hallelujah the Hills @ Cowboy Monkey

10/25 Yonder Mountain String Band @ Canopy Club

10/25 David Bazan @ Highdive

10/27 Mason Jennings @ Highdive

10/28 O.A.R. w/ Elmwood @ Assembly Hall

10/29 Thao with the Get Down Stay Down @ Canopy Club

10/30 Batrider + Scotland Yard Gospel Choir @ Courtyard Cafe



11/1 Disco Biscuits @ Canopy Club

11/5 Generationals, Spinto Band + Pepi Ginsberg @ Courtyard Cafe

11/6 Neko Case @ Canopy Club ($25 in advance, tickets on sale 8/29)

11/13 Maps & Atlases, Ruby Rodeo Love @ Courtyard Cafe

11/14 Heavy Trash (Jon Spencer of JSBX) @ Cowboy Monkey

11/18 Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers @ Highdive

11/21 Hot Club of Cowtown @ Shady Nook Pub, Saybrook

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