Mercury Rev, the once-proclaimed “weirdest band on planet Rock,” performed alongside local heroes HUM at the old Blind Pig in 1995, just after the major label signing spree that included almost half a dozen of bands calling Champaign their home. Since that time, the Rev have gone on to release one of the most important records in recent history, Deserter’s Songs, as well as a handful of albums that haven’t done much for them in the States, but have steadily increased their worth in Europe and Asia.
The band never returned to C-U, as part of their “Secret Migration,” that has included almost all of North America, save for a few one-offs in major markets.
Fortunately for us, members of the band have gone on to other projects, one of which has become a regular in C-U, stopping by numerous times over the years. Hopewell, the pet project of the brothers Russo — Jason and Justin — will perform tonight at Cowboy Monkey with local support acts New Ruins and The Number One Sons.
Having just opened for the reunited My Bloody Valentine in Chicago, and looking towards a decade of being a band, Hopewell has helped to define the road most traveled of American indie rock. Different labels, different drummers, different managers, different agents and a different musical landscape have helped shape this band, who began prior to the digital revolution and who are now trying to survive within it.
When they hit the stage at Cowboy Monkey, expect the years of experience to pour off the stage. Having seen them perform many times over, in front of packed houses and empty rooms alike, I can attest to their perseverance. At just five dollars, this could easily qualify as the best deal of the year — if not the decade — in terms of getting the most for your dollar.
Hopewell will hit the stage right around midnight at Cowboy Monkey, located at 6 E. Taylor St. in downtown Champaign.