Smile Politely

The Overture: December 11-17

A group of 9 musicians, mostly string instrument players, smiling and jokingly posing as if they are going to assault their accordion player with their instruments. The accordion player is kneeling on the floor, wincing like he's bracing for impact.
Bandoneon Massacre on Facebook

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, December 11th

The Tumbleweeds

Rose Bowl Tavern // tips in bucket // 5:30 p.m.
Experience a cozy evening with The Tumbleweeds at the Rose Bowl Tavern, where their heartwarming country and folk tunes promise to create a delightful ambiance. Perfect for unwinding after a busy day.

The Urbana Hootenanny

Rose Bowl Tavern // tips in bucket // 8 p.m.
Join the Urbana Hootenanny for a night of lively and spirited folk music. This gathering is a staple for music lovers, offering a unique blend of community, creativity, and traditional tunes.

Tuesday, December 12th

The image you sent is a photo of a person holding a red acoustic guitar. The person is wearing a beige hoodie and a red beanie, and is standing in front of a gray wall with vertical siding
Larry Gates on Facebook

Larry Gates Presents: 3 Song Monte

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

Larry Gates’s 3 Song Monte is a unique show where Larry’s set list is in the audience’s hands, and it’s never the same show twice.

Wednesday, December 13th


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

TromBari, a dynamic jazz duo, excels in blending the deep, resonant tones of the trombone with the melodic flow of the baritone saxophone. Their performances are rich in improvisation and jazz classics.

Jazz Jam

Rose Bowl Tavern // tips in bucket // 10 p.m.
Dive into the heart of jazz with the Rose Bowl Tavern’s Jazz Jam. This event invites local jazz musicians to collaborate, creating an improvisational and vibrant musical experience.

Thursday, December 14th

Americana Happy Hour ft. Ashley Riley

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

Ashley Riley’s Americana Happy Hour features her signature blend of introspective songwriting and hauntingly beautiful vocals. Her music, often described as soulful Americana, offers a perfect unwinding experience.

A group of 9 musicians, mostly string instrument players, smiling and jokingly posing as if they are going to attack their accordion player with their instruments. The accordion player is sitting on the couch playing his accordion defiantly.
Bandoneon Massacre on Facebook

EDITOR’S PICK: Bandoneon Massacre

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

Head to the Rose Bowl Tavern for a night of Argentine Tango music with Bandoneon Massacre, a local orchestra collective based in Urbana. They will perform a variety of traditional and contemporary tango tunes, featuring the bandoneon, a type of concertina that is essential to the tango sound. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the passion and elegance of tango at the Rose Bowl Tavern

This photo is a photo-realistic image of a drummer playing a drum set in a dimly lit bar. The drummer is wearing a maroon shirt and is playing a drum set with a snare drum, cymbals, and a hi-hat. There is a drink in a plastic cup on the drum set. The background consists of a brick wall with graffiti on it and a cymbal.
James Maucks Forebeat on Facebook

Forebeat and Special Guests

Gallery Art Bar // free // 8 p.m.

Experience a night of eclectic and experimental music with James Mauck’s Forebeat, a one-man band that blends beats, samples, and live instruments. Forebeat will be joined by some special guests from the local music scene, adding more variety and surprises to the show. Don’t miss this unique performance at the Gallery Art Bar, Urbana’s newest spot for drinks and digital art.

Sara Evans – Go Tell It On The Mountain Christmas Tour

State Farm Center // $34.50-$74.50 // 7:30 p.m.

Country star Sara Evans brings her “Go Tell It On The Mountain Christmas Tour” to the State Farm Center. Enjoy an evening of festive songs and classic hits in a charming holiday setting.

A black and white photo of a man in a cowboy hat holding a guitar looking out a window. His guitar strap says "Ward" on it.
Ward Davis on Facebook

Ward Davis

The Castle Theatre // $20 to $100 // 8 p.m.

The Arkansas native will perform songs from his acclaimed albums, 15 Years in a 10-Year Town and Black Cats and Crows, as well as some new tunes and covers.

Friday, December 15th

Jeff Helgesen & Friends

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

Join Jeff Helgesen & Friends for an evening of jazz and camaraderie. Their skillful performances and infectious energy make for an unforgettable musical experience.

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

Afro D & The Global Soundwaves + Haki N Dem + Meet Me at the Puddles

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

Afro D & The Global Soundwaves team up with Haki N Dem and Meet Me at the Puddles for a night of diverse and vibrant music at the Rose Bowl Tavern.

Five individuals appear in separate photos. All are on a stage with musical instruments. The individual on the left is attired in a black crop top and black pants. The next person is donning a large hat and a yellow coat. The central figure is dressed in a white shirt and blue jeans. The person to their right is in a red shirt and blue jeans. The individual on the far right is wearing a blue crop top and blue jeans. The backdrop is a red wall with a white window.
Inaugural Holiday Local Band Merch-Mart

Editor’s Pick: The Inaugural Holiday Local Band Merch-Mart

Gallery Art Bar // free (but buy some merch!) // 4:30 p.m.

Come to Gallery Art Bar in Urbana on Friday, December 15th, and enjoy a festive evening of live music and local band merchandise. Browse through t-shirts, stickers, CDs, and more from your favorite bands and discover new ones. Watch performances by Clayton Burke, Emily How, Sweetmelk, and Paul Koethiemer and join the celebration of the local music scene.

The Blues Deacons

Huber’s West End Store // free // 7 p.m.

The Blues Deacons bring their soulful blues to Huber’s West End Store. Expect a night of deep grooves and heartfelt performances.

Brooklyn Charmers

The Castle Theatre // $20 // 8 p.m.

Brooklyn Charmers take the stage at The Castle Theatre with their electrifying tribute to Steely Dan. A must-see for fans of classic rock and jazz fusion.

Saturday, December 16th

Meadowhawk Duo

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

The Meadowhawk Duo brings an intimate afternoon of folk and acoustic music to the Rose Bowl Tavern. Their harmonious melodies are a perfect weekend treat.

Inaugural Rose Bowl Holiday Spectacular!

Rose Bowl Tavern // $10 to $15 // 8 p.m.

Experience the magic of the holiday season at the inaugural Rose Bowl Holiday Spectacular on Saturday night. This Christmas variety show, featuring a star-studded lineup including Carrie Chandler, Kenna Mae Reiss, Chachi, and more, promises a blend of musical comedy and heartwarming performances. With the Rose Bowl Tavern staff and their talented house band setting the stage, this evening of holiday cheer is sure to leave you with lasting memories of festive joy.

4 heavily tattooed musicians dressed in black pose in what looks like a dark basement room covered with grafitti.
Death Pose on Facebook

Death Pose/Edna and J.U.G

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

Get ready for a night of loud and heavy music at The Space. Don’t miss the chance to see Death Pose, the hardcore punk band from Chicago, along with Edna, the indie rock trio from Urbana, and J.U.G, the experimental noise duo from Bloomington.

3 attractive young people who look related sit on a couch in front of a keno table, looking at the camera, and also looking really bored.
Girl Named Tom

Girl Named Tom – One More Christmas Tour

Virginia Theatre // $41 to $61 // 7:30 p.m.

Girl Named Tom, the captivating trio known for their harmonious blend of voices, brings a special holiday spirit with their “One More Christmas Tour.” Their performances are a beautiful mix of traditional carols and original compositions.

Anika Emily and Jake Fava

Huber’s West End Store // free // 7 p.m.

Anika Emily and Jake Fava offer a delightful evening of music at Huber’s West End Store. Their blend of genres creates a warm and inviting atmosphere.

5 musicians on stage performing. 4 of them are playing string instruments, and it's not obvious what the 5th person is playing.
Way Down Wanderers on Facebook

The Way Down Wanderers with The Burney Sisters

The Castle Theatre // $25 to $40 // 8 p.m.

The Way Down Wanderers, joined by The Burney Sisters, bring a night of folk and Americana to The Castle Theatre. Their energetic performance is a blend of harmony, instrumental talent, and storytelling.

Sunday, December 17th

UFLive! presents Carl Johnson & the New Orleans Jazz Machine

Urbana Free Library – Busey Mills Reading Room // free // 2 p.m.

UFLive! features Carl Johnson & the New Orleans Jazz Machine, bringing the vibrant sounds of New Orleans jazz to the Urbana Free Library. This free event is a must for jazz enthusiasts.

Black and white photo of a 3 piece blues band playing in a studio.
Candie Kates Photography

The Bluetone Drivers

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

The Bluetone Drivers bring a vibrant mix of blues-rock to the stage, known for their energetic performances and soulful guitar solos. Their music is a blend of classic blues with a modern rock edge.

Nick’s Country Jam

Rose Bowl Tavern // tips in bucket // 6 p.m.

End your weekend with Nick’s Country Jam at the Rose Bowl Tavern. A gathering of local country musicians, this event offers a lively and authentic country music experience.

Music Editor

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