Smile Politely

The Overture: March 18-24

Four individuals are posed in a line leaning on a stairway railing. Starting from the left, the first person is wearing a light blue button-up shirt with sleeves rolled up to the elbows. The second individual has on a white shirt with thin black stripes, a choker-style necklace, and a forearm tattoo. The third person dons a brown striped shirt and multiple bracelets on their wrist, while the last individual on the right is in a patterned dark purple blouse with puffy sleeves. They all have curly hair, varying in shades from blonde to auburn, and are adorned with hair accessories such as clips and scrunchies. The staircase behind them has dark blue walls, and the railing is a dark wood tone with ornate metal balusters.
John Kosiewicz

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.

Tuesday, March 19th

Laurel Premo with Jake Shulman-Ment

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

Immerse yourself in an evening of traditional folk music as Laurel Premo and Jake Shulman-Ment showcase their string prowess, blending melodies and cultures at the Rose Bowl Tavern.

Wednesday, March 20th

Leon Lewis-Nicol Trio

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

Experience the Leon Lewis-Nicol Trio as they bring a dynamic blend of jazz and Afrobeat, promising a vibrant and soulful performance at the Rose Bowl Tavern.

404 with Seeking Polaris, iLLiXA, Sparr, Vorborg

Canopy Club // $10 to $15 // 9 p.m.

Come out to discover some local musical artists that deserve a little attention at the Canopy Club Discover concert series. This week features some of the best local EDM artists around.

The image is a photo-realistic image of a person playing a saxophone. The person is wearing a checkered shirt and a necklace, and is holding the golden-colored saxophone with both hands. The background is black with a spotlight shining on the person.
Goio Lima on Facebook

Goio Lima, Beto Rodrigues and friends

Gallery Art Bar // free // 7 p.m.

Sway to the rhythm of Goio Lima’s live Brazilian music, a vibrant session filled with the passion and energy of samba and bossa nova at the Gallery Art Bar.

A person with a contemplative expression, wearing a black leather jacket with a red armband on the right sleeve. The background is dark, which emphasizes the individual's light complexion and the details of the leather jacket.
John Hoeffleur

Green Boots

Anthem // free // 7:30 p.m.

You might recognize him from The Beauty Shop, but John Hoeffleur is at Anthem to showcase his newest project, Green Boots, live and unplugged.

Thursday, March 21st

A man holds a cell phone camera up to the window of a car and takes his photo in the reflection on the window.
Matt Talbott

EDITOR’S PICK: Matt Talbott

Krannert Art Museum // free with registration // 6:30 p.m.

The Krannert Art Museum welcomes attendees to Art Remastered, a unique event marrying visual art with the musical stylings of HUM’s Matt Talbott, on March 21st at 6:30 p.m. in the East Gallery. This enriching experience, curated by Kamila Glowacki, is open to the public at no cost, offering an engaging blend of Talbott’s reflective music and Super 8 film alongside the museum’s significant artworks.

Man in a salmon short-sleeved shirt playing guitar out side with a high tan wall behind him.
Paul Kotheimer on Facebook

Paul Kotheimer

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

Unwind with Paul Kotheimer’s Americana tunes during the happy hour, offering soulful melodies and storytelling.

In the center, a person with shoulder-length hair looks pensively into the distance, obscured partially by a tree branch. To the right, an individual wearing a shiny, silky, blue top is caught mid-gesture, hand touching the neck with an introspective gaze downward. On the left, a performer holding a ukulele smiles broadly mid-song into a microphone, wearing a sleeveless top with a rainbow stripe down the center, a watch on the left wrist, and a brown belt cinched at the waist. They are situated before a microphone stand with a blue cover, and behind them is a white tent-like structure, indicating an outdoor performance.
From L to R: Emily the Band, Taurus Hate Club and Garden Girl (from social media)

Emily the Band with Taurus Hate Club and Garden Girl

Rose Bowl Tavern // $10 Donation // 8 p.m.

Support Girls Rock! C-U with performances by Emily the Band, Taurus Hate Club, and Garden Girl, showcasing female empowerment through music.

The scene is set at a bar or cafe. A person with a tattoo on their shoulder is in the foreground, holding a bottle labeled “Malort”. They are dressed in a red outfit with puffy sleeves and a necklace. The background features a wall with tiles and the text “PUNK ROCK LOVE SONGS” written on it. The atmosphere seems lively and colorful. The word "SPACE" is painted on the wall behind them.
Angelo Ramos Jr.

Sweetmelk’s Hopeless Romantic Residency

The Space // free // 7 p.m.

Dive into the world of punk rock love and longing with Sweetmelk’s residency, featuring punk-infused love songs, and lots of Malort, for the hopeless romantic.

The scene captures two individuals seated, each engrossed in playing a musical instrument against a dark backdrop. The individual on the left is attired in a light-colored long-sleeved shirt tucked into dark pants, and is engaged with a large stringed instrument with an ornate, rounded body and a long neck. The person on the right is dressed in a white shirt with rolled-up sleeves and dark pants, strumming a classic guitar. The image, in black and white, accentuates their figures and the instruments, creating a serene musical ambiance.
Ballaké Sissoko and Derek Gripper

Derek Gripper, guitar and Ballaké Sissoko, kora

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts // free // 7:30 p.m.

The Global Transfer concert at ELLNORA Reverb features the Malian kora maestro Ballaké Sissoko and South African classical guitarist Derek Gripper, known for his transcriptions of traditional kora compositions. This collaborative event, offering a prelude to ELLNORA 2025, is open to the public with free admission and requires no tickets.

The Union Underground with SOiL, RA, Flaw

The Castle Theatre // $30 // 7 p.m.

Get ready for a night of intense rock music with The Union Underground, SOiL, RA, and Flaw, bringing energetic performances to The Castle Theatre.

Rodney Carrington

Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts // $49.60 // 7 p.m.

Enjoy an evening of comedy and music with Rodney Carrington, known for his unique blend of stand-up comedy and country music.

Friday, March 22nd

6 members of Urbana Hot Club looking like they just played a gig under a large tent. They are all sweaty and posing for the camera.
Scott Schwartz

Hot Club of Urbana

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

Enjoy an evening of gypsy jazz with the Hot Club of Urbana, bringing energetic and soulful performances to the Rose Bowl Tavern.

An individual lounging against a red background, dressed in black with sheer tights, a fringed top, and a white cowboy hat, exuding a vintage, country music vibe.
Sweet Megg on Facebook

Sweet Megg with Two Shoes

Rose Bowl Tavern // $10 cover // 8:30 p.m.

Sweet Megg, now hailing from Nashville, teams up with Two Shoes for a special performance at Rose Bowl Tavern. Immerse yourself in an evening of hillbilly Jazz, where Sweet Megg’s blend of New York jazz and Nashville country promises an entertaining musical journey.

Starcruiser with Mirror Cults and M Wenzlo

Gallery Art Bar // TBD // 7 p.m.

Immerse yourself in an evening of electronic music with performances from Starcruiser, Mirror Cults, and M Wenzlo at the Gallery Art Bar.

Derek Gripper and Ballaké Sissoko

Orchestra Room (2nd level) at University of Illinois Music Building // free // 11 a.m.

Join Derek Gripper and Ballaké Sissoko for the Improvisers Exchange workshop exploring their unique music combining the kora with classical guitar at the University of Illinois Music Building.

A musician in a blue shirt, passionately singing and playing a red electric guitar, bathed in the warm, ambient light of string lights in what appears to be a cozy, indoor venue. The energy and emotion of the performance are palpable, with the musician's expression conveying intensity and fervor. You see a drummer and a bass player in the background playing with equal passion. The surroundings suggest an intimate concert setting, with a casual and engaged atmosphere.
Karats Gold by Nick Gundy

Karat’s Gold, Edna, J.U.G. and Harpe

Community Center 4 the Arts (C4A) // $10 cover // 8 p.m.

Experience the grassroots music scene with a DIY show featuring Karat’s Gold, Edna, J.U.G., and Harpe at C4A.

John Drake

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

Unwind with the soothing sounds of John Drake at Alto Vineyards, perfect for a relaxing start to your weekend.

Fruition with Willy Tea Taylor

The Castle Theatre // $22 // 8 p.m.

Don’t miss Fruition and Willy Tea Taylor at The Castle Theatre for a night of soulful melodies and heartfelt lyrics.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts // $37 to $269 // 7 p.m.

Enjoy the iconic sounds of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, bringing classic country and folk-rock to the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.

Matthew Miller Trio

Jazz Up Front // $8 to $10 // 8 p.m.

Experience the jazz stylings of the Matthew Miller Trio, promising a night of refined musicality and improvisation at Jazz Up Front.

Saturday, March 23rd

A live jazz band performance, with a keyboardist, drummer, saxophonist, and guitarist, bathed in warm stage lighting with a "Jazz Up Front" sign in the background.
Jive Bag on Facebook

Jive Bag

Rose Bowl Tavern // tips in bucket // 2 p.m.

A lively afternoon set that promises to bring the energy with Jive Bag’s engaging performance.

an individual against a red background adorned with soft-focused heart shapes. They wear fluffy white earmuffs, a patterned turtleneck, a plaid skirt, and white gloves, striking a confident pose with hands on their hips.
Emei on Facebook

The High Note Project

Canopy Club // $30 to $75 // 6 p.m.

A unique musical experience from The High Note Project, blending genres and talents for a memorable night.

Sinfonia da Camera: From Ukraine to the Great Gate of Kiev

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts // $10 to $40 // 7:30 p.m.

Join Sinfonia da Camera for the rousing 40th Season Finale, featuring a compelling blend of classical and contemporary works, including a newly orchestrated version of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition by David Deboor Canfield. The evening’s repertoire honors Russian romanticism with Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, presents the wit of Prokofiev’s “Classical” Symphony No. 1, and delivers a powerful tribute to Ukrainian resilience with Victoria Vita Polevá’s Nova. Enhance your experience with a pre-concert lecture at Stage 5, where composer-in-residence Canfield and music director Hobson will delve into the intricacies of the iconic Pictures at an Exhibition.

the band Smoking Popes performs onstage, captured in the midst of a lively concert with the crowd's hands raised in the foreground and stage lights illuminating the band.
The Smoking Popes on Facebook

The Smoking Popes with Rodeo Boys and Maura Weaver

The Space // SOLD OUT // 8 p.m.

Catch the iconic punk sounds of The Smoking Popes, supported by Rodeo Boys and Maura Weaver, in a sold-out show.

Four individuals stand against a brick wall with a barred window and green foliage around them. From left to right: the first person wears a dark sweater; the second, with long red hair, wears a blue shirt; the third has a multicolored sweater; and the fourth wears a dark top with a white collar and trim.
Neptunes Core on Instagram

EDITOR’S PICK: Neptune’s Core with Fiona Kimble and Venus Overdrive

Gallery Art Bar // $10 // 8 p.m.

Gallery Art Bar hosts a night of indie rock with performances by Neptune’s Core, Fiona Kimble, and Venus Overdrive, starting at 8 p.m. Experience the unique blend of indie, punk, and heartfelt lyricism that has catapulted Chicago’s own Neptune’s Core to the forefront of the indie music scene with their latest EP, Called Upon.

Briscoe with Max McNown

Rose Bowl Tavern // $12 to $15 plus VIP // 8 p.m.

Briscoe, an Americana folk-rock band formed by Truett Heintzelman and Philip Lupton, brings their debut album “West of It All” to Rose Bowl Tavern, capturing the essence of Texas Hill Country through a blend of classic American roots and modern music, with support from Max McNown.

New Twang City

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

Dive into the sounds of country and folk with New Twang City, for a cozy musical evening.

The Chickadee Sermon Folk Trio and Kyle Tasch

Loose Cobra // $5 to $10 in bucket // 7 p.m.

A heartwarming folk ensemble, The Chickadee Sermon, along with Kyle Tasch, presents a night of storytelling and melody.

Harlem Hayfield with Little Victory

Jazz Up Front // $10 to $15 // 8 p.m.

Harlem Hayfield and Little Victory are set to deliver a night of vibrant music and energetic performances.

Sunday, March 24th

The image shows a live performance by a band with a drummer, a trombone player, and two other musicians with microphones in front of them. They are on a stage with red wall panels and blue stage lighting, and there's an American flag hanging in the background. The band members are casually dressed, with the drummer wearing a tie-dye t-shirt and hat, reflecting a laid-back, possibly jazz or folk, ambiance.
Church Street Ramblers on Facebook

Church Street Ramblers

Rose Bowl Tavern // tips in bucket // 4 p.m.

A delightful afternoon of traditional jazz and ragtime music, perfect for fans of classic American tunes.

A group of musicians sits on a turquoise couch, holding their instruments in a funny pose.
CU Tango Music Festival on Facebook

Bandoneon Massacre

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

An evening featuring the unique sounds of Bandoneon Massacre, expect a mix of tango and folk music that promises to be an auditory feast.

Kenneth Overton, baritone and Casey Robards, piano

Recital Hall, Smith Memorial Hall // free // 7:30 p.m.

Enjoy a recital by baritone Kenneth Overton and pianist Casey Robards, showcasing a repertoire that spans classical to contemporary music.

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