amyray.jpg

With work, family and High School Musical 3, 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:

Tuesday October 28: Amy Ray, Highdive, 8 p.m., $15

Amy Ray, one half of the folk duo Indigo Girls, will be performing her solo work at the Highdive. Don’t be fooled by the term “solo,” her musical musings are nothing like the stripped down, low key music that the word may bring to mind. Where the Indigo Girls were folk and country-oriented, Ray’s solo music is rooted in high energy rock and punk music. Accompanied by a full band, Ray lays her polished vocals over some distorted guitar riffs. This Tuesday night performance is a great chance to get a new perspective of an iconic female singer-songwriter.


Wednesday October 29: Atmosphere, Canopy Club, 9 p.m., $18

Atmosphere, a MC/producer duo, has got to be the most successful hip-hop group to come out of the city of Minneapolis. But even outside of the major Midwestern city least commonly associated with hip-hop, since forming in 1996, Atmosphere has become one of the most successful indie-rap acts around. Appearing at the Canopy Club, Slug and Ant will be joined by a touring band to lay down some guitar, keys and extra vocals.

Friday October 31: The Living Blue, Radio Maria, 10 p.m., $15

The question to ask yourself when deciding on what to do this Halloween is this: Where can I go to hear the best cover of “The Monster Mash?” I’m not saying that The Living Blue is going to necessarily be playing the classic holiday song, I’m just saying wouldn’t it be awesome if they did. A rocking and rollicking group of gentlemen, The Living Blue could expertly craft “The Mash” into something simultaneously spooky and satisfying. Their theremin wouldn’t hurt the situation either. Elsinore is also scheduled to play at this costume party taking place at Radio Maria.

Saturday November 1: Santa, Butterfly Assassins, Canopy Club, 9 p.m., $7

The day after Halloween and everyone’s already thinking about Christmas. No need to fight your visions of sugar plums, just go along with the spirit of the season and see Santa headline at the Canopy. The student band gets tighter and more polished with every performance. Also performing is the classically-minded, semi-local rock quintet Butterfly Assassins. Piano and cello work with a classic rock backing to create a high energy, highly complex sound. Watch the video below to get a taste of these guys’ live show: