Smile Politely

The Overture: May 1-7

Jupiter String Quartet performing on stage. On the left a man and a woman play violin. In the middle a man plays cello. On the right a woman plays violin. The men are wearing white jackets.
Elle Logan

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, May 1st

The Urbana Hootenanny

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 8 p.m.

Every Monday at the Rose Bowl, come hang out with some great musicians for the Urbana Hootenanny. A sort of open mic meets song-share, you can expect a variety of music and performers. 

Tuesday, May 2nd

4 members of Jupiter String Quartet playing on a stage with a hardwood floor. All musicians are seated. There are 3 violin players and a cello player.
Jupiter String Quartet

Editor’s Pick: The Jupiter String Quartet with East Coast Chamber Orchestra

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts // $10-$60 // 7:30 p.m.

The Jupiter String Quartet is joining the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO) for a series of performances presented by Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The ensemble will be performing as part of the conductor-less ECCO and featuring Jessie Montgomery’s “Banner” for string quartet, bass solo, and chamber orchestra, Franz Schubert’s String Quartet in D Minor, D. 810 (“Death and the Maiden”), arranged for string orchestra by Gustav Mahler, and Adolphus Hailstork’s Sonata da Chiesa. The Jupiter Quartet is a renowned ensemble, established as an important voice in the world of chamber music, and the ECCO is a collective of dynamic artists known for their concerts’ pure energy.

Balkanalia performing on an outdoor stage. There are 4 vocalists up front, and you can see 2 mandolin players in the background.

Balkanalia, University of Illinois Balkan Music Ensemble

Music Building Auditorium // free // 7:30 p.m. 

The performance by Balkanalia, University of Illinois Balkan Music Ensemble, titled “Bluejays Began to Sing: Songs and Dances beneath Balkan Skies,” is free and open to the public, and will feature a wide selection of songs from Albania to Turkey, Bosnia to Greece, and more, as well as special guests, the Balkan Beats Brass. The event is also a commemorative benefit for victims of the Turkish and Syrian earthquakes and is co-sponsored by the School of Music, Center for South Asian and Pacific Studies, and the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Centers. 

Wednesday, May 3rd

3 members of the band Bum Rush talking together onstage between songs.
Bum Rush on Instagram

Reading Day’s Eve Party with Bum Rush, Emily How and the Why’s and Romantica

Rose Bowl Tavern // $7 door / 10:30 p.m.

If you’re up for celebrating Reading Day by recovering from your hangover and blown-out ear drums (instead of studying for finals, or going to work), then head to Rose Bowl Tavern for three young bands who won’t disappoint. $7 will get you a great spot to enjoy Bum Rush, Emily How and the Why’s and Romantica.

F@#& Finals 2023

Canopy Club // $5 advance, $10 door // 8 p.m.

Express your disdain for finals by rocking, singing, and/or dancing along to 16 different musical acts crisscrossing a gaggle of genres on 3 different stages.

Illinois Wind Symphony with the Lake Zurich High School Wind Ensemble

Krannert Center for Performing Arts // $4-$10 // 7:30 p.m.

The Illinois Wind Symphony presents Jules Pegram’s L.A.tudes, a vibrant tribute to Los Angeles, and Dana Wilson’s horn concerto featuring Bernhard Scully, University of Illinois associate professor of horn. The program also includes works by South American composer Antonio Gervasoni and jazz pianist Roger Dickerson, conducted by guest conductors Hannah Rudy and Barry L. Houser. 

Thursday, May 4th

A black and white photo of Frankie Ballard looking to his left with a white background.
Frankie Ballard

Frankie Ballard with Joe Asselin

Canopy Club // $25-$50 // 8 p.m.

Frankie Ballard is an American country singer-songwriter known for his chart-topping hits like “Helluva Life” and “Young & Crazy.” He got his start in music after winning a competition for Michigan in Kenny Chesney’s Next Big Star competition and has since released three albums and charted eight singles on the Hot Country Songs charts. Joe Asselin is in support.

Photo of William Matheny leading against a speaker and looking right at the camera.
William Matheny

Editor’s Pick: William Matheny, with The Clayton Burke Band

Loose Cobra // $10 in the bucket // 7:30 p.m.

William Matheny is a singer-songwriter who has been praised by Rolling Stone for his cerebral alt country music and by American Songwriter for being one of independent country’s most exciting emerging artists. His music is a fusion of heartland rock, Americana, and pop, with poignant lyrics that cut through everyday stories. 

Friday, May 5th

5 members of the band Los Texano'z playing onstage at Rose Bowl Tavern.
Los Texano’z on Facebook

Los Texano’z

Rose Bowl Tavern // $10-$15 suggested donation // 8 p.m.

Los Texano’z, a regional Tejano and Norteño band, will be playing at Rose Bowl Tavern on May 5th from 8 to 11 p.m. for the patio season opener. The band’s sound is a mix of country polka, bluegrass, and rock roots. Juanitos Taco Truck will be available starting at 5:30 p.m. and the event is weather permitting on the patio. 

Graffiti on a wall that says the words "Hip Hop".

Hideout with Purely Blue, boyponder, and bloominous

Canopy Club // $10 advance, $15 door // 6:30 p.m.

HIDEOUT, an experimental hip-hop collective based out of the University of Illinois, will be performing with Purely Blue, boyponder, and bloominous. Free tickets are available from performers and profits from advance tickets and door sales will be donated to The Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club. HIDEOUT is known for their genre-defying sound, electrifying live performances, and diverse range of perspectives and talents from over 50 active members. 

Two members of Children of the Rat Temple ontage performing. Once member is playing a guitar and the other member is behind a synthesizer.
Children of the Rat Temple on Facebook

Children of the Rat Temple with twoleggedzoo and Ms Jones If Ya Nasty

The Recreation Room // $10-$15 // 8 p.m.

Electro/Psyche Punk group Children of the Rat Temple headline a night of experimental and artsy music also featuring twoleggedzoo (psyche EDM + violin) and Ms Jones If Ya Nasty (hip-hop). 

Saturday, May 6th

Editor’s Pick: Toast to Taylor Street Block Party

Taylor Street, Downtown Champaign, Illinois // free // 4 to 11 p.m.

The Toast to Taylor Street block party in Champaign, IL is a summer event featuring music, art, food, and drinks, with a diverse line-up of local and regional talent. There will also be a marketplace of makers and a selection of food and drink vendors, including local and regional craft brewers. May 6th is the 2023 Season Kickoff Celebration. Here is the lineup for Saturday:

3 members of the band Ashland sitting. Person on left is sitting on the ground looking up. Person in the middle is a woman and is sitting on a chair, crossing her arms and looking at the camera. The person on the right is male and is sitting on the ground looking off to the left.
Ashland on Facebook

Perimeter Road Music Festival

Parkland College // free // 12 p.m.

Parkland’s own record label, Perimeter Road Sound Recordings, hosts its annual Perimeter Road Music Festival on Saturday, May 6th. The festival is free and open to the public and features six local bands that are sure to get you singing, moving, and dancing in the warm May sun. Food trucks from House of BrisketPiato, and Sidney Dairy Barn will be on hand, as will other crafters and vendors. This is a family-friendly event, so bring the kids and an umbrella just in case, because the festival is happening rain or shine. Here is this year’s lineup:

Kolten Taylor and the Truck Toppers

Alto Vineyards // $5 // 8 p.m.

Kolten Taylor and The Truck Toppers is a five-piece red dirt/southern rock group that performs both covers and originals. KTTTT is a 5 piece band known for their red dirt and Southern rock sound, playing originals as well as songs everyone will recognize. 

Musician Kolby Cooper with his left hand to the side of his face, looking at the camera.
Kolby Cooper

Kolby Cooper 

The Castle Theater  // $18 // 8 p.m.

Kolby Cooper, a young singer-songwriter from East Texas, has achieved millions of streams and sold-out shows within only three years of graduating from high school. His debut EP, Boy From Anderson County, was released on August 6th, featuring relatable songs based on his and his friends’ life stories. His performances showcase his Lonestar State roots with his distinctive vocals and guitar style.

Sunday, May 7th

The Kurt Reeder ORGANization

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 7  p.m. 

The Kurt Reeder ORGANization, led by Hammond B3 champion Kurt Reeder, is a new supergroup that delivers classic hard bop organ soul jazz featuring local aces on guitar, sax, trumpet, percussion, and drums. With influences from Jimmy Smith, Don Patterson, and Brother Jack McDuff, this band is sure to give an authentic performance of the genre, with no cover charge. 

3 members of Nonogon with surgical masks on, looking into a mirror and applying makeup in an ironic way.
Nonogon on Bandcamp

Nonogon w/ Bristle

The Space // $10 // 7 p.m. 

The Space, Champaign’s new music venue and restaurant, will host a Sunday matinee show featuring power pop punk rock band Bristle and punk rock band Nonagon from Chicago. A third act is yet to be announced, and the event promises to offer rock, food, beer, and fun.

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