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With work, family and pretending to watch Cubs playoff games, 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:

Wednesday October 8: Open Mic at Radio Maria – Radio Maria, 10 p.m., free

If you like acoustic guitar as well as fried plantains, you should come to downtown Champaign and check out Radio Maria’s new Wednesday night open mic. This relatively new development is great not only because it means there is an open mic that isn’t on Tuesday around here, but also because Jake Fleischli of The Tractor Kings is taking hosting duties. Check out some laid back tunes and maybe enjoy some delicious tapas while doing it.


Thursday October 9: Robert Pollard’s Boston Spaceships – Highdive. 9 p.m., $15

Robert Pollard, the man behind Guided by Voices, is gracing Champaign-Urbana with his presence this Thursday while performing with his new band Boston Spaceships. Along with John Moen of The Decemberists and Chris Slusarenko of Guided by Voices, Pollard’s new group is self-described as a pop punk trio. Of course there’s something a little more going on, what with having one of the greatest living songwriters at the helm and a fantastic group of musicians supporting him. Two additional players will join the trio on tour to round out Spaceships’ full sound.

Friday October 10: Throw me the Statue with David Dondero – Red Herring, 10 p.m., $7

Who doesn’t love books about pedophiles? Seattle’s Throw me the Statue certainly does. Their hit song “Lolita” is an obvious homage to the great novel by Vladimir Nabokov and is pretty darn catchy too. Filled with synthesizers, glockenspiels, and danceable lo-fi beats, the music of TMTS is sure to be delightful. David Dondero, the man said to have inspired Conor Oberst’s trademark vocal style, will also perform.

Saturday October 11: Beat Kitchen – Cowboy Monkey, 10 p.m., $5.

Beat Kitchen, fronted by Brandon T. Washington, just got a little brassier. With the addition of a new horn section comprised of a trombone, trumpet and sax, you can bet Beat Kitchen’s Saturday night set will be extra funky. With a whole lot of people on stage, playing a whole lot of great music, it’s going to be a whole lot of fun. The night starts with a set by The New Mhondoro featuring Bolokata.