Smile Politely

The Overture: December 5-11

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, December 5th

Improvisers Exchange

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 5:30 p.m.

Led by Jason Finkelman, Improvisers Exchange is an initiative to bring together U of I students and community members to practice improvised music. It’s always a unique performance and anything could happen. Tonight is the group’s final fall concert. 

The Urbana Hootenanny

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 8 p.m.

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

TUESDAY, December 6th


Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 5 p.m.

Featuring Chip Stephens on piano, Joel Spencer on drums, and Larry Gray on bass, this jazz trio will keep you entertained all night long.

Photo from From Ashes to New’s Facebook page.

From Ashes to New

►The Castle Theatre // $22 adv, $25 door // 7 p.m.

Rock group From Ashes to New performs at the Castle Theatre as part of their Until We Break tour. They’ll be joined by The Word Alive, Dragged Under, and The Dropout Kings.

WEDNESDAY, December 7th

Chip McNeill Quartet

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 5 p.m.

Grammy winning saxophonist Chip McNeil returns to bang out the jazz tunes with his quartet.

Harps at the Library

Champaign Public Library // free // 5:30 p.m.

If you’re looking for a relaxing and festive evening of music, head to the Champaign Public Library to hear harpists of all ages perform. 

C-U Symphony Orchestra

Krannert Center // $40 // 7:30 p.m.

A yearly tradition, the C-U Symphony Orchestra returns with Songs of the Season, performing a festive program of classical music, including a sing-along of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” 

Photo from Kangaroo Court’s Facebook page.

Kangaroo Court, Boyponder and Friends, Venus Overdrive

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

This is going to be a high energy night, with Kangaroo Court and Venus Overdrive bringing some punk and garage rock, and Boyponder bringing some hip-hop. The event will also feature live visuals from Matt Harsh.

THURSDAY, December 8th

Jose Agusti

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

Jose Agusti performa for Americana happy hour, bringing retro and modern Americana with a side of pop.

Jason Boland & The Stragglers, Tanner Usrey

Castle Theatre // $22.50 adv, $25 door // 8 p.m.

American “red dirt” and Texas country group Jason Boland & The Stragglers stop by the Castle Theatre, with support from singer-songwriter Tanner Usrey.

Photo of Haki and Dem from Rose Bowl Tavern’s Facebook page.

New Souls, Haki and Dem, Castle Finn

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

Soul groups Castle Finn and New Souls will be performing, along with the debut performance from a new soul group Haki and Dem. 

FRIDAY, December 9th

Erik Lund’s Jazz Friends

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

A tuneful Friday night provided by Jazz Friends, a group made up of Erik Lund on trombone, as well as a few of his friends.

The Impalas

Huber’s // free // 7 p.m.

The Impalas play at Huber’s, bringing their brand of Texas roadhouse blues. Expect some tasty tunes.

Matthew Curry

Castle Theatre // $17 adv, $20 door // 8 p.m.

Blues and rock guitarist Matthew Curry stops by the Castle Theatre with his full band, with support from Cole Hollow. 

Photo from The Joy Machine’s Facebook page.

The Joy Machine, Ms. Jones, If You Nasty

NOLA’s // $7 // 8 p.m.

The psych/art rock trio The Joy Machine is joined by hip-hop artist Ms. Jones, If You Nasty. Both groups know how to bring the energy.

SATURDAY, December 10th

Bandoneon Massacre

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 3 p.m.

An Argentine tango orchestra collective, this large group will for sure get you dancing on Sunday afternoon.

New Twang City

Huber’s // free // 7 p.m.

Some good ole country honky tonk, you’re in for a night of fun at Huber’s with New Twang City.

The Dirty Feathers, Decapitation in the Food Court, Pink Frost

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

A night of hard hitting rock with The Dirty Feathers and Decapitation in the Food Court, as well as Pink Frost who is making the trip down from Chicago.

SUNDAY, December 11th

Fiddle Sax Fusion

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 4 p.m.

The Fiddle Sax Fusion Band was formed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the trio performs Old Time Irish and fiddle tunes and folk hymns with a jazz twist. This is their holiday show where they will be joined by Jamie Ryan. 

The Blues Deacons

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

The blues outfit from Gibson City are hitting Rose Bowl. Playing originals as well as blues classics, these guys always put on a good time. 

Dino Bravo, Yap Trap, Colonel James Presents

Brass Rail // free // 8 p.m.

Dino Bravo reunites for their first show in years, alongside rockers Yap Trap and Colonel James presents.

Top photo by Sean Wilkinson.

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