Smile Politely

The Overture: August 28 – September 3

A shot of a crowded street at a festival in downtown Champaign, IL.
Toast of Taylor St website

The Overture is a rundown of live music and performances happening in and around Champaign-Urbana each week. All of the information is as accurate as we can publish; however, all shows and performances are subject to change at any time. Thank you for understanding.

Did we miss something this week? Have a show coming up you think we should know about? Email us at [email protected] with the details.

Monday, August 28th

Black and white photo of two men performing onstage
John Coppess on Facebook

John Coppess and the Limping Cowboy Band

Rose Bowl Tavern // tips in bucket // 5:30 p.m.

Join John Coppess and the Limping Cowboy Band on Monday for an afternoon of country, folk, popular covers, and originals, with no cover charge and tips encouraged.

The Urbana Hootenanny

Rose Bowl Tavern // tips in bucket // 8 p.m.

Join the Urbana Hootenanny, an Urbana tradition, every Monday night from 8pm to midnight at The Rose Bowl Tavern in downtown Urbana for a unique blend of open stage, jam session, and song share. Whether you’re a picker, singer, or songwriter, bring a song, an instrument, and a friend or three to this communal musician hang-out on stage.

Tuesday, August 29th

6 members of Robin and the Toad performing onstage at Rose Bowl Tavern underneath the tent on the patio.
Ray Miner

Robin and the Toad

Rose Bowl Tavern // tips in bucket // 5 p.m.

Experience a unique musical blend featuring well-known Champaign-Urbana artists who are veterans of ensembles like The Knights of Cabiria, Oberon the Possum King, and many more. Don’t miss Illinois’ only Italo-Peruvian wedding and funeral band, with Todd Gallagher on bass, Jeff Magby on percussion, Robin Kearton on violin, Sol Baer on clarinet, Tom Faux on guitar, and Sal Percoco on trumpet.

A bass player and a drummer performing on an outdoor stage.
Derrick Philips

Cody and Charlie: Banjo Time! and more

Rose Bowl Tavern // tips in bucket // 7:30 p.m.

Get ready for an eclectic acoustic journey with Cody and Charlie! With an arsenal that includes banjos, guitars, banjos, mandolins, banjos and maybe even a surprise instrument, they’ll be serving up a genre-bending mix of bluegrass, folk, country, jug band, calypso, and more.

Wednesday, August 30th

Jay Ferguson Trio

Rose Bowl Tavern // tips in bucket // 5 p.m.

The Jay Ferguson Trio is a dynamic ensemble of skilled musicians known for their versatile performances. Lose yourself in their smooth sounds on the Rose Bowl patio.

Thursday, August 31st

The three band members of Dallas Ugly sitting on the opposite side of a table eating birthday cake that's on the table.
Dallas Ugly

Americana Happy Hour Featuring Dallas Ugly

Rose Bowl Tavern // tips in bucket // 5 p.m.

The Rose Bowl Tavern welcomes back Dallas Ugly, a band that has a legacy affiliated with the Rose Bowl

This is a photo of a person playing a traditional African instrument. The person is wearing a colorful shirt with a red, orange, and yellow pattern. The instrument is a wooden harp-like instrument with strings and small metal discs attached to the top. The background is black.
Dan Kusaya on Facebook

Dan Kusaya

Riggs Tap Room // tips in bucket // 5 p.m.

Head to Riggs Brewing Company for an evening with Dan Kusaya, who will captivate you with his unique blend of world, jazz, funk, house, and afrobeat tunes, using story-like lyrics and live looping of multiple instruments—no cover charge, musicians play for tips, and be sure to check for weather-related cancellations.

This is a photo of a rock concert with a singer and a guitarist on stage. The singer is wearing a black t-shirt and jeans, and is leaning back with his head thrown back and his arms outstretched. The guitarist is wearing a black t-shirt and is playing a guitar. The stage is lit with green and white lights, and there are speakers and other equipment visible. The audience is visible in the background, and there is confetti on the floor.
The Word Alive on Facebook

The Word Alive with Dark Divine and Nerve

The Castle Theater // $20 // 7:30 p.m.

The Word Alive, a genre-defying metalcore band hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, will be joined by special guests Dark Divine and Nerv Thursday at The Castle Theatre. The band brings their unique blend of traditional metalcore, EDM, and modern rock to the Castle for a night that promises to rock your world.

Friday, September 1st

Jordan Kaye’s Django Wrangle

Rose Bowl Tavern // tips in bucket // 5 p.m.

The Rose Bowl Tavern parking lot patio is the spot tonight for an entertaining happy hour with the unique talent of Jordan Kaye, now known as “The Tunewrangler”. Be prepared for an eclectic mix of songs, stories, and witty banter, with an open request policy, as long as they’re songs by Homer & Jethro, every 1st Friday of the month.

This is a photo of a person wearing an orange shirt and a scarf around their neck. The background is a solid green color. The person’s hair is brown and shoulder length. The image is cropped to only show the person’s upper body.
Beth Bombara on Facebook

Beth Bombara Album Release Show with Brad Handsome

Rose Bowl Tavern // $15 suggested donation // 8:30 p.m.

Celebrate the soul-stirring Americana sounds of Beth Bombara at her album release party for “It All Goes Up” at the Rose Bowl Tavern. Known for her evocative songwriting and magnetic stage presence, this St. Louis-based artist promises a night of music that will comfort, soothe and entertain.

This is a photo of a band performing on a small stage in a dark bar. The stage is decorated with colorful graffiti and a banner that reads “Armageddon Beachparty”. The band consists of a guitarist and a drummer. The drummer is playing a green drum kit with a cymbal and a hi-hat. The guitarist is playing a white electric guitar and is standing in front of a black amplifier. There is also a microphone stand on the stage, but it is not in use.
Ommnus on Facebook

Ommnus with Baphomet and TBA

The Space // $10 // 8 p.m.

Experience the boundary-pushing heavy music of Ommnus, a two-piece band known for their unique blend of thrash, rock, and doom they’ve branded as “Doom N’ Roll.” Fresh off their new self-titled split with My Pitbull Lucifer, the duo promises an unforgettable night of intense atmosphere and “a different kind of heavy” that delves into the darker aspects of the human condition. Baphomet and TBA will be in support.

This is a photo of a musician playing a wooden acoustic guitar on a stage. The musician is wearing a black and white checkered shirt and blue jeans. The stage is decorated with colorful lights and a neon sign that reads “COLD BEER”. The background is a brick wall with a green light shining on it.
Logan Allen

Logan Allen

Alto Vineyards // free // 5 p.m.

Catch the young and dynamic Logan Allen at Alto Vineyards, a musician known for his interactive live shows where the crowd controls the setlist. Fresh off the release of his new single “You Know Who You Are,” Logan promises a night where, in his own words, you should “buckle up, because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Folk and Roots Fridays

The Lake House in Crystal Lake Park // free // Noon

Free Folk and Roots Fridays is featuring Anika Emily at Crystal Lake Park on Friday. The organizers of C-U’s Folk and Roots Festival put on year-round events in the theme of the genre for free Folk & Roots Fridays. Every first and third Friday of each summer month is a Folk & Roots Friday, featuring groups playing at the Crystal Lake Park lake house at noon. Come pick up some good vibes during your lunch hour and let them carry you through the rest of your work day.

Saturday, September 2nd

This is a photo of a band on stage. The band consists of six members, each holding a different instrument. The instruments include a guitar, a saxophone, a trumpet, a trombone, a bass guitar, and a drum set. The band members are standing in front of a brick wall with green stage lights shining down on them. The band members are wearing casual clothing, with one member wearing a Mastodon t-shirt.
Afro D and the Global Soundwaves on Facebook

The Rose Bowl Aftermarket Series Featuring Afro D and the Global Sound Waves

Rose Bowl Tavern // tips in bucket // Noon

Afro D and the Global Sound Waves is a socially-conscious hip-hop/jazz/funk band based in Champaign, Illinois, led by trumpet player, rapper, and educator Pete ‘Afro D’ Shungu. Bridging generational gaps with their music, they deliver positive messages designed to inspire and build community, both locally and globally.

Backyard Barbecue Band

Rose Bowl Tavern // tips in bucket // 3 p.m.

This Saturday, the Backyard BBQ is at the Rose Bowl on the patio where the Backyard Barbecue Band will be grilling up some great music and good times.

This is a black and white photo of a band performing on stage. The band consists of four members: a guitarist, a drummer, a bassist, and a keyboardist. The guitarist is on the left side of the stage, the drummer is in the center, the bassist is on the right side of the stage, and the keyboardist is on the far right side of the stage. The stage is lit with spotlights, creating a dramatic and high contrast lighting effect. The audience is visible in the foreground.
The Surreal Deal on Facebook

The Surreal Deal

Rose Bowl Tavern // $10 Advance $15 Day of show // 8 p.m.

The Surreal Deal is a band that combines ’70s jam-based rock with classic crowd-pleasers, delivering dynamic hits that keep joints jumping. Comprising musicians with deep Champaign-Urbana roots and honed skills, the band brings a crackling freshness to audience favorites and promises a memorable event filled with superior musicianship and irresistible energy.

A crowded street festival with a band playing at the end of the street
Toast to Taylor Street on Facebook

Editor’s Pick: Toast to Taylor Street

Toast to Taylor Street // free // 4 p.m.

Start your Labor Day weekend off with some great music at Toast to Taylor Street. Here is the lineup for Saturday, September 2nd:

4 p.m. – Soft Coup
5 p.m. – Anthony Gravino
6 p.m. – Small Time Napoleon
7:20 p.m. – Ian Shepherd and Friends
8:40 p.m. – Terminus Victor
10 p.m. – Trouble Chasin’ 

This is a photo of a group of people standing close together and appearing to pose for a photo. The background consists of a wall with hanging silver tinsel. The people are wearing casual clothing, including a black shirt with white polka dots and a blue shirt with a graphic design.
Nohmads on Facebook

Nohmads with Lark’s Tongue and Swim Ignorant Fire

The Space // $10 // 8 p.m.

Nohmads brings their unique blend of moody, atmospheric, and experimental rock to the stage, showcasing influences and noir sensibilities. Supported by Lark’s Tongue and Swim Ignorant Fire, the evening promises an immersive storytelling experience through art, performance, and sound.

This is a digital image of two posters side by side. The posters are for an event called “C-U Indie Day” and “CT on Indie Day” respectively. The posters are in a cartoon style with bright colors and bold lines. The left poster has a blue background with a large orange and yellow flower. It also has a record player, a guitar, and a microphone. The right poster has a purple background with a woman playing a guitar and a man playing a saxophone. Both posters have a list of artists and vendors that will be at the event. The left poster has the date and time of the event, September 2nd, 6-11pm.
CU Indie Day

Editor’s Pick: C.U. Indie Day

Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center // $10 to $25 // 2 p.m.

Head to Urbana to celebrate C-U Indie Day, a vibrant 9-hour event celebrating the local independent art scene. With an array of live performances and unique handcrafted goods, it’s a day packed with opportunities to engage with and support local artists. Whether you’re into art, music, or just looking for a great day out, don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy and contribute to the local community. This exciting event will take place at 202 South Broadway Avenue in Urbana.

Bands scheduled include:

Brad Wheeler, Aissa Allen, Blank Stairs, STVE Sol, Red’s Head, Jamere Xo, Vicky Tingz, Decapitation in the Food Court, Mango Pods, JLarro, The Hangovers, 4 x 4 Animal Style, Sitrus Sol, Krush, Ms. Jones If You Nasty, Bigshot So, Haunted x Humans, Kid LJ also featuring DJ Mousepad on the turntables.

4 members of Rabbit in Red squeezed on a bench in an empty mall.
Rabbit in Red

Rabbit in Red

Alto Vineyards // free // 7 p.m.

Experience alternative jam band Rabbit in Red at Alto Vineyards Saturday night. Rabbit In Red blends alternative rock with improvisational jams, creating a unique sound that’s unique yet familiar.

Sunday, September 3rd

This is a photo-realistic image of a person playing a trumpet against a red background. The trumpet is gold in color and the person is holding it up to their mouth with their left hand. The person is wearing a black suit jacket. The background is a solid red color.
Nikola Kaplan Quintet on Facebook

Nicholas Kaplan Quintet

Rose Bowl Tavern // tips in bucket // 3 p.m.

Experience a night of vibrant jazz with the Nicholas Kaplan Quintet, led by trumpet player Nicholas Kaplan. Known for their lively performances and a knack for reinvigorating jazz classics, the band offers a musical journey that appeals to both jazz aficionados and newcomers alike.

Sunday, September 3rd

This is a photo of a band performing on a small stage in a bar. The band consists of a drummer, a guitarist, a bassist, and a keyboard player. The drummer is sitting behind a drum kit, the guitarist is playing a red electric guitar, the bassist is playing a white electric bass, and the keyboard player is playing a black keyboard. The stage is lit with blue and orange lights. The background consists of a window with a neon sign and a brick wall. The foreground consists of a table with a black helmet on it.
Booth Blues on Facebook

Prairie Jam 2023

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 6 p.m.

Don’t miss the legendary Prairie Jam 2023, CU’s Labor Day extravaganza, hosted for the first time by Andrew and Tommy Howie, with the phenomenal Booth Blues as their musical support. Join us on Sunday, September 3rd, from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm for two captivating sets—a first set of covers led by Andrew and a second set showcasing an expansive Booth Blues journey—all in a night of music and camaraderie, and the best part is, it’s a FREE SHOW!

Sunday, September 3rd

Candy Foster

Candy Foster Parkland College Scholarship Fundraiser

Alto Vineyards // Donations at the door // 2 p.m.

Join us for the Candy Foster Parkland College Scholarship Fundraiser, an afternoon of fantastic music and community giving, held at Alto Vineyards from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event features performances by an incredible lineup of bands, silent and live auctions, and delectable bites from the Guerrero Azteca food truck. All ages are welcome, and donations will be accepted at the door. Don’t miss out on the 50/50 raffle and the chance to support a great cause!

Performance Schedule:

2 p.m. – The Fairchilds
3:20 pm. – Men of Essence

Plus Candy Foster & Shades of Blues + Friends

The silent live Auction starts at 4:30 p.m.

Music Editor

More Articles