Smile Politely

The Overture: May 15-21

6 members of Merry Travelers all facing the camera. Two members are sitting on yellow chairs, three members are standing behind the chairs and one member is kneeling in front.
Anna Longworth-Singer

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 15th

6 Members of Urbana Hootenanny onstage, black and white.
Urbana Hootenanny on Facebook

The Urbana Hootenanny

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

Every Monday at the Rose Bowl, come hang out with some great musicians. The Urbana Hootenanny is an open mic meets song-share. You can expect a variety of music and performers.

Tuesday, May 16th

Six Members of Ill Nino in various poses all looking at the camera
Ill Niño on Facebook

Ill Niño with Through Fire, Dropout Kings, Burden of the Sky, ReDEFIND

The Castle Theater // $22 // 6 p.m.

Put on your army boots, ripped-up jeans, and death metal t-shirt as Latin metal band Ill Niño rolls in from New Jersey delivering their heavy metal with Latin rhythms and lyrics. They are known for their energetic live shows and have sold over 1.3 million albums worldwide.

If you don’t think “melodic death metal” is an oxymoron, check out Through Fire, a band that combines elements of metalcore, thrash metal, and power metal. They are known for their melodic riffs, soaring vocals, and powerful live shows.

Get to the Castle for this early show and catch openers Dropout Kings, Burden of the Sky, and ReDEFIND.

4 members of Silverweed performing on a stage with a red wall in the background
Silverweed on Facebook


Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 7:30 p.m.

Like a warm blanket that may or may not smell like patchouli, Silverweed is here to comfort you playing classic rock, Americana, classic country, and original material. They have been bringing the hippie cowboy vibe to Champaign-Urbana since 2019. The band consists of veterans of the C-U music scene, and they play every month at the Rose Bowl Tavern. No cover, but tips are always appreciated.

Wednesday, May 17th

Black and white photo of 5 members of Andrew Binder's Conspiracy Deliracy in a rehearsal space, taking a break and having a laugh.
Andrew Binders Conspiracy Deliracy on Facebook

Andrew Binder’s Conspiracy Deliracy

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 5 p.m.

For some jazz mixed with conspiracy theories, check out Andrew Binder and the Conspiracy Deliracy featuring jazz bassist and composer Andrew H. Binder presenting original jazz compositions and arrangements inspired by popular conspiracy theories. With a strong academic and performance background, Binder brings his expertise in jazz, composition, and classical music to the stage. 

Thursday, May 18th

Clinton Davis playing violin onstage.
Clinton Davis on Facebook

Americana Happy Hour ft. Clinton Davis

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 5 p.m.

Join Clinton Davis, a fifth-generation Kentuckian and multi-instrumentalist, for a special Americana Happy Hour presented by the Rose Bowl Tavern and CU Folk and Roots Festival. Embracing a range of American folk music styles, Davis captivates audiences with his expertise across various instruments and his soulful interpretations of traditional songs.

Pokey LaFarge in an orange knit cap, with a yellow shirt with olive green trim and a cross necklace.
Pokey LaFarge on Facebook

Pokey La Farge with Chicago Farmer

The Castle Theatre // $22.50 // 8 p.m.

Pokey La Farge is an American folk musician who blends elements of blues, jazz, and country music into his sound. He has released seven studio albums and has toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe.
Local favorite Chicago Farmer, also known as Cody Diekhoff, is a working-class folk musician deeply inspired by his small-town farming roots and the urban energy of Chicago. His music resonates with people from all walks of life, capturing the essence of everyday stories, hard work, and the relatable experiences found in both rural and city settings.

Friday, May 19th

Six members of Merry Travelers either sitting on, sitting next to or standing behind a couch that looks like it's in a parlor. Three band members are looking into the camera. The band member sitting on the chair on the right is drinking something out of a cup.
Merry Travelers on Facebook

Editor’s Pick: Triptych Brewing’s 10th Anniversary Celebration

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

Celebrate 10 years of great beer from Triptych Brewing with great beer and great music out on the patio. The lineup is filled with local favorites, and weather permitting, the celebration will take place on the patio. Tips in the bucket are welcome and encouraged.
5 p.m. – Jeff Hegelsen and Friends
8 p.m. – The Black Eyed Lillies
9 p.m. – The Merry Travelers 

Saturday, May 20th

The five members of Modern Drugs standing in front of a teal background, wearing mostly dark clothes
Modern Drugs on Facebook

Editor’s Pick: Modern Drugs with Squirrel Movement

The Space // $10 // 7 p.m.

Formed during the pandemic, Modern Drugs, a Midwest Pop band from Champaign creates heartfelt music focused on love, interpersonal conflict, and the experiences of everyday life. With a commitment to collaboration and artistic respect, the group aims to connect with their audience through authentic and engaging storytelling.

4 members of Mavis guitar standing next to each other adjacent to a red car looking down at the camera
Mavis Guitar on Facebook

Mavis Guitar, Our Landmark, and, um, Coulter

Loose Cobra (Tolono) // $10 (bucket) // 8 p.m.

Head to Loose Cobra in the afternoon (4 p.m.) for a special art show by local artist Mike Coulter, then stick around for Cinncinati band Mavis Guitar (not to be confused with typing guru, Mavis Beacon) with local band Our Landmark in support. The combination might be unexpected, sparking curiosity and intrigue. Attendees are kindly asked to contribute $10 to the music bucket and according to King Cobra (Matt), to consider bringing some Dramamine for an engaging art show experience.

Photo of Sophie B. Hawkins with a black sequined jacket and purple pants playing a grand piano
Sophie B. Hawkins on Facebook

Sophie B. Hawkins

The Castle Theatre  // $25 to $30 // 8 p.m. 

Best known for her unique blend of pop, rock, and jazz influences, along with introspective and heartfelt lyrics, Sophie B. Hawkins has earned her acclaim as a song-writer and performer. She gained prominence in the early 1990s with hits like “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” and “As I Lay Me Down,” showcasing her captivating vocal range and emotive storytelling. 

Sunday, May 21st

Far away shot of an upright bass player and a guitarist playing on an outdoor stage that has psychedelic tapestries hung in the background
The Woke Mountain Boys on Facebook

The Woke Mountain Boys

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 3 p.m. 

Hit the Rose Bowl patio to enjoy The Woke Mountain Boys, an acoustic Americana duo delivering original folk, bluegrass, and country tunes. Featuring the talents of Professor Jay Rosenstein on guitar and Handsome John Tubbs on bass, this event promises a memorable musical experience. Don’t forget to bring your own food, while Rose Bowl Tavern takes care of your beverage needs. Tips for the band are not mandatory but are always gratefully received.

4 members of Adelita's way dressed mainly in black with a purple background with 2 white lines.
Adelita’s Way on Facebook

Adelita’s Way with Otherwise, Moon Fever and Above Snakes

The Castle Theatre // $22.50 // 6:45 p.m. 

Come out for an early show at Castle Theater as Adelita’s Way will do their best to sonically melt away the inexplicable barriers on the floor of this otherwise beautiful venue. Adelita’s Way is known for their powerful guitar riffs, energetic live performances, and emotionally charged lyrics. With a distinct sound that combines alternative, modern rock, and post-grunge elements, they have captivated fans and cemented their place in the rock music scene.

Music Editor

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