Smile Politely

The Overture: Sept. 8 – Sept. 14, 2008

This modern world we live in sure is stressful. Be it work, school, family or global climate change we all have too much on our plates to deal with. With all these daily duties to drudge through, who has the time to find out about the best shows happening here in Champaign-Urbana? Just sit back and relax, because the editors here at Smile Politely have done the work for you. Here are the must see shows of the week:

Monday Sept. 8: Sunset Stallion — WEFT Sessions, 10 p.m., free

This quartet of University of Illinois students will perform an hour-long set of their piano-driven pop songs live on 90.1 FM. The strong guy and girl vocal harmonies take center stage in this relatively new band that draws influence from artists like Ben Folds and Ryan Adams. The end result comes close to a controlled Cold War Kids. Set your dials or move your feet to the WEFT studio (113 N. Market St. in Champaign) to hear Sunset Stallion’s refreshingly crisp take on the pop song. It’ll help you start off your week right.

Click the jump to see the rest of the picks.

Tuesday Sept. 9: Punch Brothers — The Canopy, 7:30 p.m., $18

Chris Thile, the exuberant mandolin player of the late great Nickel Creek, will be coming to Champaign-Urbana by way of the Canopy Club with his new band, The Punch Brothers. The five piece features some of the best musicians that modern bluegrass has to offer. Banjo, guitar, bass, fiddle and, of course, mandolin all collide wonderfully to create a whirlwind of what can only be described as classical-bluegrass. The centerpiece of the group’s album Punch is a 40 minute, four movement, mostly instrumental piece. This is a show you can’t miss.

Thursday Sept. 11: ZOSO: Led Zeppelin Tribute Band — The Canopy, 9 p.m., $8

Zeppelin brought the rock like no one ever has, but Zoso comes scarily close to the real deal. Having played over 1700 shows across the continent since their formation in 1995, Zoso has proven to be the number one Zeppelin experience in the country. As they say on their website, there is no better way to live “the Music, Magic and Mystery of Zeppelin.” Makes you get goose bumps just thinking about it, huh?

Friday Sept. 12: Boneyard Jazz Quintet — Embassy, 5:30 p.m., free

The Boneyard Jazz Quintet, named for the Boneyard creek that flows through C-U, formed in 1990 and, despite a hiatus and a few roster changes, has been playing all over the area since. Featuring bass, cello, trumpet, trombone, flugelhorn and piano, the BJQ plays the classics. From Duke Ellington to Dizzy Gillespie, there’s nothing not to like. Grab something to eat, something to drink, and enjoy the wide variety of songs and styles that the quintet has to offer.

Friday Sept. 12: Colourmusic — The Canopy, 9 p.m., $7

Colourmusic, a psychedelic rock outfit from Oklahoma, may win the award for “most out of place band on bill” this weekend at The Canopy Club. Playing with rather dull acts Inept and Swizzle Tree, Colourmusic will showcase a bizarre and wonderful sound created by gang vocals, roaring organs and crunchy guitar riffs. Concerned with synesthesia (a disorder where sound is seen in color), the band creates music based on Isaac Newton’s theories on said subject. Sometimes performing in workout attire, sometimes appearing all as one person named “Roy G. Biv,” the five-piece has been acclaimed for their weird and unforgettable live show.

Saturday Sep. 13: Dianogah w/ Pinebender — The Highdive, 8 p.m., $7

Bass guitar can often be seen as the instrument you give your friend who isn’t that good at guitar so he can still be in the band. There to bottom out the sound, bass is an important, but often overshadowed, part of rock music. Enter Dianogah. This Chicago post rock trio rocks the bass not once, but twice! Two basses lead to some pretty amazing sounds. You won’t find yourself wishing for a lead guitar track either. Also playing is Chicago’s “Pinebender”:; a group planted solidly in Built to Spill/ Dinosaur Jr. 90s rock aesthetics.

Sunday Sept. 14: Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash — Rose Bowl, 8 p.m., $10

Born not from the loins of Johnny Cash but from punk roots and a love for Americana, The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash have a gritty country sound that Mr. Cash himself approved of. Cash’s legitimate son even helped the group produce their first album. Brought to the Rose Bowl in downtown Urbana thanks to WWHP. Check them out this Sunday.

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