Smile Politely

The Overture: May 6-12

Two musicians are captured in a vibrant, graffiti-covered environment, adding a lively, urban feel to the scene. The musician on the left is playing a large, colorful harp and is dressed in a cowboy hat, light jacket, and dark shirt, which contrasts with the bright strings of his instrument. The musician on the right is playing a banjo, wearing a plaid shirt and glasses, which complements the artistic and eclectic atmosphere suggested by the graffiti background. The overall setting emphasizes a blend of traditional musical elements with a contemporary, artistic urban backdrop.
Tommy Coyote

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 6th

A black and white image of a white man holding primitive musical instruments.
Jason Finkelman

Jason Finkelman Presents: Improviser’s Exchange

Rose Bowl Tavern // Tips in bucket // 5:30 p.m.

Jason Finkelman Presents: Improviser’s Exchange offers an evening of avant-garde improvisation at the Rose Bowl Tavern. This event features a collection of local musicians, curated by Jason Finkelman, who explore innovative musical landscapes through dynamic performances.

The Urbana Hootenanny

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

Tuesday, May 7th

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 Presents: 3 Song Monte at the Rose Bowl Tavern, where audience interaction shapes the set list. This unique musical event features Larry Gates performing blocks of three songs chosen by attendees, ensuring a fresh and unpredictable experience each time.

Wednesday, May 8th

Emma Taylor Trio

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

four men positioned against a backdrop with shadow patterns created by light filtering through a window or similar object. From left to right: the first man wears glasses and a dark shirt, adopting a serious expression. Next to him, a younger man with shoulder-length hair and glasses is dressed in a casual button-down shirt, also looking intently at the camera. The third man, bald and with a distinct focused gaze, is clad in a dark, simple top. The final figure, an older man wearing glasses, is slightly blurred compared to the others, suggesting some movement or a focus shift in the image, and he is also dressed in dark colors. They all wear dark, muted clothing, giving the group a cohesive, solemn appearance.
The Messthetics

EDITOR’S PICK: The Messthetics and James Brandon Lewis with Kuroshio featuring Jason Finkelman and Joy Yang

Gallery Art Bar // $20 // 8 p.m.

Don’t miss this explosive collaboration of genre-defying music featuring former members of Fugazi. Experience the genre bending sound of The Messthetics with James Brandon Lewis, and Kuroshio opening in support, promising a night of innovative jazz and experimental rock.

This performance is promoted by PYGMALION, which shares the same parent company as Smile Politely.

Thursday, May 9th

Americana Happy Hour ft. Merry Travelers Duo

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

Doty and Dexter

Riggs Taproom // Free // 5 p.m.

Two musicians are performing against a backdrop of abstract black and white art. The musician on the left plays a small, four-stringed instrument and wears a wide-brimmed straw hat, a teal blue shirt with a sparkle pattern, and dark pants. The musician on the right plays a violin and is dressed in a green sweater with a leaf pattern, black glasses, and dark pants.
Tommy Coyote

EDITOR’S PICK: Larry & Joe

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

Experience the unique blend of Venezuelan and Appalachian folk music with Larry & Joe at the Rose Bowl Tavern. Their powerful performance promises an evening of cultural fusion and storytelling, deeply rooted in their diverse musical heritages. I hear dancing often breaks out at Larry and Joe shows as well, so bring your dancing shoes. Stay tuned to Smile Politely for a profile of this dynamic musical duo later in the week.

Friday, May 10th

Hot Club of Urbana

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

Bruiser & The Virtues

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

New Souls

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

Three individuals are performing on a porch. The person on the left is playing an electric guitar, dressed in a dark shirt with curly hair. In the center, another individual with curly hair is singing into a microphone, wearing a red shirt and light blue jeans. On the right, there’s someone with straight hair playing an electric bass guitar, dressed in a green shirt and white gloves. The backdrop is a wooden wall with a window, adorned with hanging Christmas lights.
Dumbed Down on Instagram

Dumbed Down, Power of Dusk, Bad Planning, Wes Hoffman and Friends

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

Prepare for an intense night of punk rock and hardcore energy as Dumbed Down and friends take the stage to deliver high-octane performances that promise to shake up your evening.

Saturday, May 11th

Turino Family Band

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

New Twang City

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

The Painkillers Blues Band

Alto Valley Vineyards // Free // 7 p.m.

Four men are standing side by side against an orange background. From left to right: the first man has a long, full beard and is wearing a light grey long-sleeve shirt. The second man is in a dark blazer over a light blue shirt, with his hands partially tucked into his pants pockets. The third man is sporting a tan fedora and a light mint green short-sleeve shirt. The fourth man is wearing a black jacket over a red and grey plaid shirt and a black beanie. Each is looking directly at the camera with a neutral expression.
Kilborn Alley Blues Band on Instagram

Kilborn Alley Blues Band

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

Experience the riveting live performance of Kilborn Alley Blues Band at the Rose Bowl Tavern, renowned for their raw, electric Chicago blues style that has captured audiences nationwide. With their deep musical roots and dynamic stage presence, this night promises to immerse you in the soul-stirring depths of authentic blues​

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

Pokey LaFarge with Jonathan Plevyak

The Castle Theatre // $25 to $50 // 8 p.m.

Catch Pokey LaFarge and Jonathan Plevyak for a night of Americana, folk, and roots music. Pokey’s historical sound combined with Jonathan’s modern twist creates a unique musical experience taking place in Bloomington on Saturday night..

The picture captures a moment on a stage bathed in blue and purple lighting. Four individuals are present. The person on the left is clad in a white shirt. The individual on the right is dressed in a black shirt. The person in the center sports a black jacket and a necklace. The individual on the far right is wearing a white shirt and a necklace. The atmosphere appears to be that of a live performance.
Cypher Saturdays

Cypher Saturdays

The Canopy Club // $10 ADV / $15 DOS // 10 p.m.

Don’t miss Cypher Saturdays where local artists showcase their rap skills. This energetic, late-night event features freestyle battles and live performances that highlight the vibrant local hip-hop scene.

Sunday, May 12th

Occasional Cajun Band ft. Jeff Yonkus

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

Dave N Lisa

Alto Valley Vineyards // Free // 2 p.m.

A photo split vertically into 6 different sections. Each section has a member of the band The Sweet Nothings playing their instrument or singing.
The Sweet Nothings on Facebook

The Sweet Nothings

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

The Rose Bowl Tavern presents an evening with The Sweet Nothings, offering a live performance of traditional jazz influenced by early swing icons like Louis Armstrong and Django Reinhardt. This Bloomington-based ensemble is known for energizing classic swing with a modern flair, making them a favorite among local swing dance groups.

Music Editor

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