Smile Politely

Lively indie rock music fills The Canopy Club once again

This is a photo of a band performing on a stage in a concert venue. The stage is lit with green and blue lights. The band members are playing various instruments such as guitars, drums, and keyboards. The band’s name, “Hoss”, is written in large white letters on the backdrop.
Jason Philips

On a sultry Tuesday summer night, the Canopy Club in Urbana witnessed a dynamic display of Canadian indie rock prowess in the form of Peach Pit and Babe Corner. It was an evening filled with raw emotions, stellar performances, and a sense of camaraderie that only a passionate, shared love for music can bring. And judging by the sold-out, packed-like-sardines crowd, Champaign-Urbana had been thirsting for it.

Kicking off the night was Babe Corner, an all-female indie rock band hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia. Walking onto the dimly lit stage, they immediately established a vibe akin to watching a grunge band perform in a friend’s garage – intimate, nostalgic, and intriguing. Their sound was a melodic fusion of gritty guitar lines, shimmering synth overlays, and multi-layered harmonies that gave the feeling of being transported back to the 90s, a time when bands like Veruca Salt were ruling the airwaves.

This is a photo of the entrance of the Canopy Club, a music venue in Urbana, Illinois. The venue is serving Manolo’s Pizza and Empanadas. There are a group of people standing outside the entrance. The building has a shingled roof and brick walls. There is a sign for a restaurant on the right side of the image.
Jason Philips

Their musical style was unique yet familiar, reminiscent of The Jesus and Mary Chain but with a sunnier, more indie disposition. Their songs showcased their ability to blend the right amount of edge with ethereal soundscapes. However, the band’s occasional deviation from pitch left some audience members questioning if it was a purposeful artistic choice or just an overlooked flaw.

Despite this, the crowd seemed taken with Babe Corner’s nostalgic charm. Their slower-tempo songs, punctuated by moments of cathartic release, held the audience in a mesmerizing sway, gearing them up perfectly for the main act of the night.

Peach Pit, also from Vancouver, took to the stage right on time at 9 p.m., opening with a thrash metal intro that shook the venue to its core. Lead singer, Neil Smith, committed to amping the crowd to eleven before the show even got off the ground, dove into the audience in the midst of the metal riffs his band opened the show with. This was a stark contrast to the “chewed bubblegum pop” the band is known for, but it served as a head-turning opener that effectively roused the crowd’s energy. Peach Pit’s sound is an amalgamation of melancholic pop, surf rock, and introspective indie rock, resulting in an eclectic mix that resonates with a diverse demographic.

The band dove into their set with songs like ‘Being So Normal’ and “Vickie”. The latter is a catchy, 50s-pop inspired track that details an imaginative, neighborly life with lead vocalist Smith’s friend Vickie. It was easy to get lost in the music as the crowd sang along and the backdrop behind the band, a psychedelic Peach Pit logo, morphed in time with the tunes, creating a dreamlike atmosphere that echoed the band’s surreal sonic narratives.

This is a photo of a rock band performing on stage. The band consists of a guitarist, a drummer, and a singer. The guitarist is playing a yellow electric guitar and is wearing a blue shirt. The drummer is playing a drum set and is wearing a white shirt. The singer is holding a microphone and is wearing a blue shirt. The stage is lit with white lights and there is fog in the background. The audience is visible in the foreground.
Jason Philips

The night was a roller coaster of emotions and energy, with highlights including an electrifying guitar solo during “Drop The Guillotine” that ignited the crowd, and the infectious energy of “Alrighty Aphrodite”, which saw Smith shedding his guitar to engage more intimately with the audience. His lyrics, filled with tales of love, regret, and existential dread, struck a chord with everyone in the room, making each song feel like a shared experience.

Their 18-song set, featuring favorites like “Peach Pit” and “Black Licorice”, was an emotional journey that beautifully captured the essence of the band. The songs were as varied as they were engrossing, from the heart-wrenching honesty of “Give Up Baby Go” to the feel-good rhythm of “Sweet FA”’. Each track stood out, displaying the band’s aptitude for crafting complex, captivating narratives through their music.

The night concluded on a high note with a performance of fan-favorite “Shampoo Bottles” during the 3-song encore. This song, a poignant tale of post-breakup remnants, was received with a heartfelt sing-along from the audience that echoed through the venue long after the band had left the stage.

This is a photo of a person playing a guitar on a stage. The person is wearing a striped shirt and is playing a black and white guitar. The background is dark with blue lighting.
Jason Philips

This concert was not only a testament to the resilience and relevance of indie rock but also an affirmation of the potential of the Canopy Club as a stronghold for indie and rock music in Urbana. The presence of local rock personalities like Drew Cagle of Drew Cagle and The Reputation and Mollie Kruger of The Hangovers gave the night a sense of importance for the local music scene, further enhancing the sense of community.

At the end of the night, Peach Pit and Babe Corner delivered a raucous and unforgettable night of heartfelt performances, invigorating energy, and nostalgic charm. It was living proof that the Canopy Club can and should be a home for indie rock music, and a beacon of hope for the growing indie rock community in Champaign-Urbana. I eagerly anticipate what the future will bring to this vibrant venue and its patrons.

This is a photo of a rock concert in a dark venue with a stage and a crowd. The stage is lit with red and white lights and has a large banner with the band’s name “Peach Pit” in white letters. The band members are playing their instruments on the stage, with the lead singer in the center. The crowd is standing in front of the stage, with some people holding up their phones to take photos or videos. The venue has a high ceiling with metal beams and a large speaker system.
Jason Philips
This is a photo of a band performing on a stage with a red and black background. The background is a large screen with red and black abstract shapes and lines. The band members are playing guitars and a drum set. They are wearing casual clothes. The stage is lit with spotlights, and the photo is taken from the audience’s perspective.
Jason Philips
This is a photo of a band performing on a stage with purple lighting. The stage has a large banner with the band’s name written in a cursive font. The band members are playing various instruments, including a guitar, drums, and a keyboard. The faces of the band members are blurred to protect their privacy. The foreground of the photo shows a speaker and part of the stage barrier.
Jason Philips
This is a photo of a musician playing a guitar on stage. The musician is wearing a white t-shirt and has long curly hair. The guitar is black and white and the musician is holding it up in the air. The background is dark with purple lighting. The musician’s arms are outstretched and they appear to be in the middle of a performance.
Jason Philips
This is a photo of a group of people at a concert or event. The photo is taken from the side and shows the people in the front row. The people are holding up their phones and taking photos or videos. The background is dark and the people are lit up by the stage lights.
Jason Philips
This is a photo of a drummer playing on a stage with a blue light and a white neon sign in the background. The drummer is playing on a drum set with a bass drum, a snare drum, a floor tom, and two cymbals. The bass drum has a logo that reads “Pearl”. The white neon sign in the background is in the shape of a wave and reads “Peach Pit”. The stage is lit with a blue light, creating a moody atmosphere.
Jason Philips

Music Editor

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