With school, work, family and the holiday season (and weather) in full swing, 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.

maydayparadeWhatMayday Parade, There for Tomorrow, Dangerous Summer, City Lights

When:  Monday, Dec. 7, 6:30 p.m.

Where:  Canopy Club, $13 in advance

There must be something in the water in Florida that breeds young, good looking, well dressed all male pop groups.  The not too distant past would have given us the Backstreet Boys or N'Sync, but the new wave of Florida's power popsters gives us Mayday Parade and There for Tomorrow.  And believe me, they're a welcome respite.  The term pop-punk has run its course, so Tallahassee's Mayday Parade prefers to use "pop-inflected punk rock" to describe their major label debut, Anywhere But Here.  These young lads have only been at it for around four years, so the strides they have made from independently selling 20,000 copies of their debut EP Tales Told by Dead Friends to signing with Atlantic Records earlier this year are nothing to scoff at.  They share the bill with Orlando's There for Tomorrow, Dangerous Summer and City Lights, who will battle it out all night long for the most infectious pop punk hooks.

 

andrewbirdWhatAndrew Bird, You & Yourn

When: Tuesday, Dec. 8, 8:00 p.m.

Where:  Foellinger Auditorium, $23 students / $25 public

Stock up on tossable undergarments, ladies.  Illinois' own whistling folk dreamboat Andrew Bird is coming.  Since playing to his largest audience ever of more than 15,000 fans in Chicago's Millennium Park last fall, Bird released Noble Beast on Fat Possum Records in January to critical acclaim as his most accessible album to date.  Hell, it even earned him an adorable little feature on ABC News.  His live performance is another animal altogether and he is credited for being the only cat that could blow crowds from both Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza out of the water, and that isn't easy to do with a whistle and a glockenspiel.  Local duo You and Yourn open the show in what might be one of their biggest supporting shows to date.


carleywolfWhatCarley Wolf and the Howls, Hathaways, Megan Johns

When:  Thursday, Dec. 10

Where:  Mike N Molly's

Carley Wolf has made her rounds.  She calls Austin, Texas her home and that only seems fitting given her quirky upbringing in the countryside outside Austin with a pack of wolves (perhaps only the wolves her surname suggests and not literal wolves, though).  An accomplished guitarist, mandolinist, pianist, bassists, banjoist and nearly everything else-ist, Wolf toured most of North America and Europe with her bands the Crooked Jades and the Celestialites.  Her debut record with the Howls, Set Sail, was released in September and mirrors the path that Wolf has been on herself, taking the listener on "a journey down memory lane, through love and loss, visiting the river, meadow, graveyard, down to the ocean, and then into the unknown."  It is a shame that this show has to happen mid December because it would be the perfect atmosphere for Mike N Molly's famous outdoors beer garden.  Equally stunning folky acts Hathaways and Mega Johns open adding a little local flavor.  


showdownWhat:  Fall Semester Showdowns

When:  Thursday, Dec. 10 - Saturday, Dec. 12

Where:  Canopy Club, $7

Where do we begin?  Three solid nights of music with nearly 20 acts at the Canopy Club.  We'll give you a quick rundown of the who and the when, but we'll leave it to you to decide which show(s) you'll want to catch.  But with a cover of only $7 each night, might we suggest all of them?

Thursday, Dec. 10.  10:00 p.m.
Epyrean Soul, Audiac Arrest, Akansas Dogjaw, Kilroy et al, Jet W. Lee

Friday, Dec. 11.  8:00 p.m.
Roses and Sake, Butterfly Assassins, the Withershins, Neoga Blacksmith, The Cellar Door, and the Skalalatibs

Saturday, Dec. 12.  
World's First Flying Machine, Zach May and The Maps, Hot Cops, On Again Off Again, and Shark Bandit

lovemenotsWhatLove Me Nots, the Hounds Below

When:  Friday, Dec. 11, 10:00 p.m.

Where:  Cowboy Monkey, $5

Courtesy of the Love Me Nots' perfectly curt bio:  "Like a 60s spy-movie theme blasting through an aluminum-siding-covered one-car garage, the Love Me Nots do fuzzy, farfisa-drenched rock like it's 1963 again.  Only louder."  Hailing from Phoenix, the not-so-rage-rock capital of the U.S.A., the Love Me Nots funnel all of the best 60s garage influences into their act:  The Sonics, the Animals, the Ventures, a little Mighty Hannibal southern soul and a lot of loud fuzz.  Their latest, Upsidedown Insideout, dropped in September to favorable reviews from Rolling Stone, Spin, Billboard, USA Today, and Alice Cooper.  If Alice Cooper likes 'em, you're gonna love 'em.  The Hounds Below (project of Jason Stollsteimer of the Von Bondies) get the show started right.  


Know about something we don't? Want to promote your own gig? Peep the comment section below.


Looking ahead...

12/7/09
Canopy Club - Mayday Parade, There for Tomorrow, Dangerous Summer, City Lights

12/8/09
Foellinger Auditorium - Andrew Bird, You and Yourn

12/10/09
Mike N Molly's - Carley Wolf and the Howls, Hathaways, Megan Johns
Canopy Club - Fall Semester Showdown with Epyrean Soul, Audiac Arrest, Akansas Dogjaw, Kilroy et al, Jet W. Lee

12/11/09
Mike N Molly's - Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor, TBA
Cowboy Monkey - Love Me Nots, the Hounds Below
Canopy Club - Fall Semester Showdown with Roses and Sake, Butterfly Assasins, the Withershins, Neoga Blacksmith, The Cellar Door, the Skalalatibs, Shark Bandit

12/12/09
Cowboy Monkey - Vanattica
Canopy Club - Desafinado, Bate Collago,  (early show)
Canopy Club - Fall Semester Showdown with Worlds First Flying Machine, Zach May and The Maps, Heyokas, Hot Cops and On Again Off Again

12/17/09
Canopy Club - Bob Priscilla and Friends, Chicago Farmer, You and Yourn, My Dear Alan Andrews

12/18/09
Mike N Molly's - White Elephant song exchange
Cowboy Monkey - The Delta Kings
Canopy Club - Emberic, Deliver the Fallen, Leproso, TBA

12/19/09
Mike N Molly's - Neoga Blacksmith

12/22/09
Assembly Hall - The Oak Ridge Boys

12/26/09
Canopy Club - Pamela Machala, Liesel Booth, Megan Johns and Tristan Cogswell (early show)
Canopy Club - Victory Over Tyranny, Konspiracy, Icon 4 Hire, Less Than and Salinate
Canopy Club - Greenwood, Dari, Bisbee

12/31/09
Mike N Molly's - New Years Eve with New Ruins
Cowboy Monkey - New Years Eve Dubstep Massacre

1/7/10
The Highdive - Alma Afrobeat Ensemble

1/16/10
Mike N Molly's - The Satin Peaches, On Again Off Again, TBA
Canopy Club - Verdict, Vanattica, Overcome, Trash City Rockers

1/17/10
The Highdive - Great Cover Up, acts TBA

1/19/10
The Highdive - Great Cover Up, acts TBA

1/21/10
The Highdive - Great Cover Up, acts TBA

1/22/10
Canopy Club - The Gold Motel, TBA

1/23/10
Mike N Molly's - Jared Bartman, Good Night and Good Morning, TBA

1/24/10
Krannert Center - Maxwell Street Klezmer Band
Krannert Center - Kronos Quartet, Wu Man

1/29/10
Canopy Club - Keller Williams

1/31/10
Canopy Club - The Prairie Ensemble: The Soldier's Tale

2/5/10
The Highdive - Webb Wilder, Delta Kings

2/6/10
Mike N Molly's - White Mystery, Stranger Waves, TBA

2/9/10
Krannert Center - The Band of the Irish Guards

2/11/10
Krannert Center - Frederica Von Stade

2/20/10
The Highdive - State Radio

2/25/10
Krannert Center - Moscow State Radio Symphony Orchestra

2/27/10
Cowboy Monkey - The Lesser Birds of Paradise, World's First Flying Machine, Carl Hauck, My Dear Alan Andrews

3/2/10
Krannert Center - Abraham Inc.

3/5/10
Assembly Hall - Martina McBride, Trace Adkins

3/16/10
Krannert Center - Danu

3/18/10
Krannert Center - San Francisco Symphony

3/30/10
Krannert Center - What it Is! Featuring Mavis Staples, Booker T. JJ Grey

4/10/2010
Krannert Center - Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra

4/15/10
Krannert Center - Joshua Bell

4/24/10
Krannert Center - James Farm

5/5/10
Krannert Center - Ozomatli