Smile Politely

The Overture: January 31-February 6

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, January 31st


Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 5:30 p.m.

This jazz group brings collective improvisation as well as “interpretations of graphic scores, text scores, and classic avant-garde literature.” Sounds unusual — so I’m in. 

Image from The Ex-Bombers’ Facebook page.

The Ex-Bombers

WEFT Sessions (virtual) // free // 10 p.m.

The Ex-Bombers are a psychedelic blues band, with drums, an 8-string bass, and some killer vocals. Also check out their website here — it’s cool as hell.

TUESDAY, February 1st

Larry Gray Trio

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 6:30 p.m.

Pianist Larry Gray returns to Rose Bowl with Andrew Binder on double bass and Max Osawa on drums.

Jupiter String Quartet with Imani Winds

Krannert Center // $25 // 7:30 p.m.

The U of I’s Jupiter String Quartet joins forces with the wind quartet Imani Winds for an evening of magic. Both forces to be reckoned with in the world of classical music. 

THURSDAY, February 3rd

Devin Williams

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

Blues musician Devin Williams is known for his slide guitar work and powerful voice. He also plays steel guitar and banjo. He’ll provide a great night of blues on Thursday. 

Sweetmelk, Big Daddy Pride, Linea Crux

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

I highly recommend this show. Sweetmelk put out my favorite EP of 2021, and Big Daddy Pride’s 2021 album Snake Jazz is fantastic as well. These two acts will be joined by Linea Crux, who masterfully combines electronic with rock and pop. 

FRIDAY, February 4th

Jordan Kaye The Tunewrangler

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

Bringing you songs, stories, and witty banter, Jordan Kaye is sure to be a night of fun. With a mix of rock, folk, and requests, come hangout at the Rose Bowl. 

Image from Krannert Center’s Facebook event page.

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque

Krannert Center // $25 // 7:30 p.m.

This Grammy nominated group began as a project to record Cuban female musicians. It’s now grown to international fame. The group has performed at Newport and Monterey jazz festival and NPR’s Jazz Night in America. They blend Afro-Cuban and jazz to create some toe-tapping tunes.

Brandon Cattle with The Branding Irons, Ivo

Nightshop // $7 adv, $10 door // 8:30 p.m.

Country-punk band Brandon Cattle with The Branding Irons is celebrating their new album with a show at Nightshop in Bloomington. They’ll be joined by indie rockers Ivo.

The Dirty Feathers, Kangaroo Court, Ancient Ways, Ocean Child

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

These four acts are bringing you a night of rock and roll. The Dirty Feathers headline the night, but it’s well worth catching these other three as well — we named Kangaroo Court as the best new band in 2021

SATURDAY, February 5th

Willie Waldman Project 

NOLA’s Rock Bar // $20 // 7 p.m.

This week of Summer Camp Saturdays sees Willie Waldman joined by Al Schnier, Vinnie Amico, and Jim Loughlin of moe. for a night of free form jazz. 

Kilborn Alley Blues

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

Hitting you with some tasty licks and southern fried soul, you’re always in for a great time with Kilborn Alley.

Image from DJ Belly’s Facebook.

DJ Belly

NOLA’s Rock Bar // free // 10 p.m.

Looking for some late night Saturday fun? DJ Belly has you covered, spinning beats at NOLA’s through the evening, so come out and bring your best dance moves — it’s going to be a party.

SUNDAY, February 6th

The Groove Lemons

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

A big ole lineup of local jazz greats, The Groove Lemons bring jazz fusion with some funk mixed in as well. 

Matthew Storie Quartet

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

Saxophonist Matthew Storie is putting out his debut album Hwy 538 and this is his release show. His quartet also features Jesus Fuentes on piano, Emma Taylor on bass, and Frank Kurtz on drums. 

Top image from Krannert Center’s Facebook page. 

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