Smile Politely

The Overture: May 29 – June 4

Black and white photo of a band playing onstage in a barn.
Hogchute Opry

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 29th

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 30th

A bald man with a grey long-sleeve shirt playing an upright base on a stage.
Larry Gray

Larry Gray Trio

Rose Bowl Tavern // Tips in Bucket // 5 p.m.

Larry Gray, a jazz double bassist from Chicago, is respected for his versatility and creativity, having collaborated with numerous prominent jazz artists throughout his career and made significant contributions as a composer. He is also an educator, teaching Jazz Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and has experience performing classical music with renowned orchestras.

Four members of Los Guapos playing in an alley way. They are in tight quarters and the camera perspective is stage left.
Los Guapos on Facebook

Los Guapos

Rose Bowl Tavern // Tips in Bucket // 7:30 p.m.

“A Los Guapos performance is a great way to enjoy some terrific danceable music. Their repertoire is wonderfully Chicha céntric, but they have been known to throw in some other rhythms to keep your hips swaying and your toes tapping.” Casey Reynolds, on Facebook

Wednesday, May 31st

3 separate photos of musicians. On the left is a male dressed in an orange shirt playing a violin, in the middle is a black and white photo of a female looking into the camera while holding a violin and on the right is a man holding a clarinet in a black shirt standing outdoors
Jake Shulman-Ment, Abigale Reisman, and Kurt Bjorling

Klezmer Music Workshop with Jake, Abigale, and Kurt

Lewis Auditorium, Urbana Free Library // free // 7 p.m.

The public is invited to participate in a klezmer music workshop at the Lewis Auditorium, led by renowned musicians Jake Shulman-Ment, Abigale Reisman, and Kurt Bjorling. Part of the Violins of Hope music series, sponsored by the Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation, this event offers attendees an engaging opportunity to learn about klezmer music, regardless of their prior experience. In addition to providing a rich musical experience, the workshop also aligns with the broader goals of the Violins of Hope initiative, which commemorates World War II history by featuring concerts with a unique collection of instruments linked to Jewish heritage.

I woman in a maroon shirt holding an upright bass, looking to her right and smiling. There is an old white building with arched windows in the back
Emma Taylor

Emma Taylor Quartet

Rose Bowl Tavern // Tips in Bucket // 5 p.m.

Emma Taylor, an accomplished bassist, educator, and bandleader, is a significant presence in the Central Illinois jazz scene and beyond, with a robust resume featuring a multitude of awards, performances with distinguished artists, and international tours. Come enjoy her as leader of the Emma Taylor Quartet, where she brings a unique musical sensibility informed by her background in dance and theater.

Thursday, June 1st

Violins of Hope Final Concert w/ Jake Shulman-Ment, Abigale Reisman and Kurt Bjorlin

Rose Bowl Tavern // Tips in Bucket // 7:30 p.m.

The Violins of Hope final concert will be held at Rose Bowl Tavern in Urbana on June 1st, showcasing klezmer music by renowned musicians Jake Shulman-Ment, Abigale Reisman, and Kurt Bjorling. This event, organized by the Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation was part of a series of their Violins of Hope musical series. Violins of Hope is an exceptional collection of violins, violas, and cellos preserved since World War II, many with poignant histories tied to Jewish individuals.

Photo of the band The Black Moods. Photo is taken with the band kneeling down and a packed crowd behind them cheering. It is black and white.
The Black Moods on Facebook

Royal Bliss with The Black Moods and Citizen Soldier

The Castle Theatre // $18 // 8 p.m.

It’s never a bad time to rock, so it’s high time you made it over to The Castle Theatre to check out Royal Bliss, a rock band hailing from Phoenix, AZ. Royal Bliss has garnered attention for catchy songs like “Paranoid” and “Devil with Angel Eyes” The Black Moods (whose music is stuck in this editor’s playlist currently), are from Tempe, AZ, and are recognized for their bluesy, soulful sound, four studio albums, and successful tours with renowned bands including The Black Keys, The Killers, and The Lumineers. Citizen Soldier opens the show. They use emotionally charged music to address mental health issues, fight stigma, and foster a sense of community among listeners.

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

Americana Happy Hour with Paul Kotheimer

Rose Bowl Tavern // Tips in Bucket // 5 p.m.

Paul Kotheimer, an experienced songwriter from Urbana, has been creating a diverse range of local original music for over three decades. His works, which span across indie acoustic, vintage Americana, modern folk, and narrative songwriting, are marked by meaningful lyrics, earnest performances, and memorable tunes.

Friday, June 2nd

Drew Cagle onstage playing a white guitar and looking up. He's wearing a grey t-shirt and red pants.
Drew Cagle on Facebook

Editor’s Pick: Austin Meade with Drew Cagle & The Reputation

The Canopy Club // $15 advance, $20 door // 8 p.m.

Influenced by a blend of metal, classic rock, emo-rock, and heartland songwriting, Austin Meade brings his rock bona fides and his quirky sense of humor to The Canopy Club, showcasing his open-soulfulness and rebelliousness through his music. Having transitioned from a drummer to a guitarist, his performance will feature his recent singles “Happier Alone”, “Cave In”, “Déjà Vu” and “Dopamine Drop” from his newly released record Black Sheep. Kicking off the night is local rock phenom, Drew Cagle & The Reputation, bringing their own style of rock and roll to the stage.

3 members of the band Bristle performing onstage.
Bristle on Facebook

Bristle with Midnite Leg and TBA

Rose Bowl Tavern // Tips in Bucket // 8 p.m.

Rose Bowl Tavern will be filled with energetic power-pop-punk rock on Friday night when local band Bristle, known for their alternative grunge flair, takes the stage to electrify the audience. You can anticipate a dynamic and compelling performance, filled with the trio’s unique sound and the profound storytelling that characterizes their music. Mid Nite Leg opens, and bravo to those punk rocking boys for their hard work, getting booked as much as they have the past few months. They put on a great show, so get there early for them.

A country band playing onstage. The stage is large and lit in red. The artist's name is on the wall behind the band.
Travis Tritt on Facebook

Travis Tritt with War Hippies

Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater // $38 – $68 // 6 p.m.

Travis Tritt, an influential figure in country music for over thirty years, is set to bring his Southern rock-influenced sound to the Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater, promising a remarkable show drawn from a rich musical legacy. Also gracing the stage will be the emerging country duo, War Hippies, composed of combat veterans Scooter Brown and Donnie Reis.

Folk & Roots Fridays

Lake House at Crystal Lake Park // free // 12 p.m.

On the first and third Fridays, the C-U Folk and Roots Festival and the Urbana Park District will be hosting concerts in the park at the Crystal Lake Park Lake House, featuring free live music, boating, snacks, and drinks specials during the lunch hour, so pack a lunch and come enjoy some time on the lake. If the weather gets bad, the concert will be held inside the Lake House in the rental room.

A man singing and playing guitar onstage in orange light
Billy Galt on Facebook

Billy Galt

Huber’s // free // 7 p.m.

Billy Galt is a member of The Blues Deacons, a significant presence in the downstate Illinois blues scene since 1990. Galt, the guitarist, and vocalist of the band, brings his rich experience of working with renowned blues artists. His band have been recognized on national stages, played at numerous fairs and festivals, and are known for their versatile live shows and extensive material, consistently delivering blues that truly resonates with the audience. Billy will share his individual talents at Huber’s this night.

Saturday, June 3rd

A concert happening inside a barn
Hogchute Opry

Editor’s Pick: Hogchute Opry 2023

Kalyx Center (Monticello) // $20 // 3 p.m.

The Hogchute Opry, a unique music festival featuring a blend of Americana, rock & roll, and folk music, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with performances from 14 exceptional acts from Central Illinois and beyond. For a reasonable entry fee of $20, attendees can enjoy an afternoon and evening filled with diverse music starting from 3 p.m. The festival takes place at the Kalyx Center for Sustainability, near Monticello, IL, and attendees are encouraged to camp overnight due to limited lighting on the backwoods roads. In addition to live performances, the event will offer food from Juanito’s Tacos, ample space for camping at no extra cost, and the chance to participate in communal activities like a bonfire.

Tow members of Lipstick Jodi with sunglasses on looking into the camera. The entire photo is shade of blue, and the phrase "it comes in waves" is written sideways repeatedly on the wall behind them.
Lipstick Jodi

LOVE FOR ALLerton Outdoor Concert

Allerton // $5 to $10 donations recommended // 6 p.m.

LOVE FOR ALLerton, an outdoor concert celebrating Pride Month with performances by Bad Medicine and Lipstick Jodi, kicks off the Allerton Park Concert Series on Saturday, June 3 from 6-9 p.m. at the Gatehouse Lawn. The event, presented by The Ayers Family, encourages a suggested donation at the gate, and offers food and drinks from various vendors, a cash bar, and the opportunity for local LGBTQ+ artists to participate as vendors, while also suggesting lodging options for those interested in making a weekend out of it.

A woman with long black hair looking down with her right arm resting on top of her head and her left hand is pulling on a strand of her hair. She has a black silky sleeveless blouse on.
Kree Harrison on Facebook

Listening Room experience with American Idol’s Kree Harrison

Yellow and Company // $25 – $30 // 7 p.m.

Kree Harrison is a dynamic artist who’s journeyed from local Texas rodeos to national television and chart-topping success and has shaped an intriguing and heartfelt narrative through her music. Drawing on her experiences in Nashville’s vibrant music scene and on “American Idol,” her artistry reflects a compelling blend of authenticity and ambition. Her upcoming listening room performance promises an intimate exploration of her unique musical journey, but attendees should note the event’s specific rules, including age restrictions, ID requirements for alcohol consumption, and a strict cancellation policy.

A man with a black t-shirt and bandanas around his next singing while playing guitar in blue light onstage.
Tyjohn Charlie on Facebook

Hessel Park Concert Series: Tyjon Charlie

Hessel Park // free // 6 p.m.

Come out to Hessel Park to enjoy the outdoors and great music. TyJon Charlie, the lead singer, and songwriter of The Unemployed Architects, has a penchant for writing infectious music and relatable narratives, so bring your camping chairs and prepare for an evening of fresh air and good tunes.

A woman with grey hair and a white large floral print blouse on with a black hat holding a guitar
Jodi Jigglejam

Jodi Koplin’s Jigglejam

Champaign Public Library // free // 3 p.m.

Live music for kids! Get ready for a lively session of swaying, shimmying, and chuckling as you join in song and dance with Jodi. Her captivating approach and ear-catching melodies encourage creativity and boost self-confidence, all while being wonderfully entertaining. With a diverse repertoire spanning folk, rock, country, calypso, boogie, and blues, Jodi ensures everyone in the audience will be energetically grooving along.

Fiddle and Jam Weekend 2023 – Day One

Community Center for the Arts // free // 9:30 a.m.

Mark your calendars for the exciting Fiddle & Jam Weekend taking place on June 3rd and 4th in Urbana. Supported by Urbana Arts & Culture grants, this event offers an array of free activities, including community jams, concerts, dances, and the highly anticipated Fiddle Anti-Contest. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to participate in workshops for fiddle, banjo, piano, and dance, catering to various age groups, and experience the joy of music with talented performers, instructors, and judges throughout the weekend.

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

Toast to Taylor Street

Downtown Champaign // free // 4 p.m.

The summer concert series Toast to Taylor Street continues in June celebrating the downtown Champaign area as well as celebrating Pride Month! Along with Uniting Pride of Champaign County, the entertainment will include a drag show featuring DJ Silkee, Mr. Knightly, Ceduxion Carrington, and more. The bands on the bill this month include Laura Rain and the Caesars, Emily the Band, Merry Travelers, and Anika Emily.

Three members of Nicole Boggs and the Reel standing in front of yellow and red glittery curtains. The woman is standing in front wearing a black halter top and looking sultry into the camera. The band members are behind her.
Nicole Boggs and the Reel

Nicole Boggs & The Reel

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

Nicole Boggs & The Reel are a harmonious rock ‘n’ roll trio composed of Nicole Boggs, Alex Kramer, and Sam Gyllenhaal, producing thought-provoking social commentary through their music, and drawing on their diverse influences and philosophies to create their own unique sound. They continue to evolve and challenge each other, refining their collective sound and infusing their love for The Beatles, books, and cultural criticism into their latest release, “Dystopian Book Club.”

Sunday, June 4th

A black and white photo of a man in a dark denim shirt playing guitar and singing.
Stuart Smith

Wine down Sunday with Stuart Smith

Alto Vineyards // free // 2 p.m.

Wind down from the weekend with Alto Vineyards Wine Down Sunday. This Sunday attendees can expect an intimate and engaging live performance by Stuart Smith, a former minister turned musician known for his skilled guitar playing and deeply resonant lyrics. With a backdrop of the peaceful vineyard and a glass of local wine, you’ll experience Smith’s unique blend of storytelling and music that reflects his Midwestern roots and Appalachian heritage.

4 members of Kittens Incorporated in a library. Three are sitting and one is standing.
Kittens Incorporated on Facebook

Kittens Incorporated with The Auctions and Squirrel Movement

Rose Bowl Tavern // $10 suggested cover in bucket // 6 p.m.

Hailing from Champaign, Kittens Incorporated is a delightful “breeze pop” band that draws inspiration from the 60s era of Bossa Nova and the British Invasion, infusing elements of Sophisti-pop from the 80s to create a truly distinctive and refreshing sound. Their live performances transport audiences to a breezy musical landscape, where nostalgic influences blend seamlessly with their unique style, ensuring a captivating and enjoyable experience for all. Opening will be The Auctions and Squirrel Movement.

Fiddle and Jam Weekend 2023 – Day Two

Community Center for the Arts // free // 9 a.m.

Wake up Sunday morning and be ready for day two of Fiddle & Jam Weekend 2023 thanks to Community for The Arts. Day 2 starts with a jam under the Rose Bowl Tavern tent from 9 to 11 a.m. At 1 p.m., head over to the Channing Murray Foundation for the Fiddle Anti-Contest, then stick around to finish day two with the Family and Community Contra Dance also at CMS. Everyone is welcome, and it’s free.

Music Editor

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