Smile Politely

The Overture: May 30-June 4

WHAT: Neighborhood Night Concert

WHERE: Carle Park (free)

WHEN: Wednesday, May 31 at 6:30 p.m.

This session of another of C-U’s summer revolving-music-and-location series will feature Kilborn Alley Blues Band performing at the shady and cozy Carle Park.


WHAT: King of the Coast, Sinnet & Snayl

WHERE: Exile On Main St. (no cover)

WHEN: Wednesday, May 31 at 6 p.m.

Exile’s got some good stuff planned this week, starting with this Wednesday gig that features Boston’s indie group Sinnet coming to town for a stop on their summer tour. They’ll be in good company with local dream pop act Snayl and beachy punk group King of the Coast.


WHAT: Summer Kick Off Concert

WHERE: Allerton Park ($5 per person / $10 per family)

WHEN: Friday, June 2 at 6 p.m.

Allerton kicks off its summer concert series with Friday’s show. It will include two folk and roots duos: The ornate lyrical stylings of Birds of Chicago and the local heartfelt Americana tunes of The Bashful Youngens. Food and drink will be available for purchase. This lawn chair event will open up the Allerton outdoor event season in the perfect way.


WHAT: The Easy Leaves

WHERE: Cowboy Monkey ($5)

WHEN: Friday, June 2 at 10 p.m.

Honky tonkers The Easy Leaves will be in from California to liven up the Monkey for a late show on Friday.


WHAT: Our Voices: Multi-Media Performance for Girls Rock! C-U

WHERE: Cohen Building, 136 West Main Street in Urbana (donations)

WHEN: Friday, June 2 at 6 p.m.

Our Voices is a “multi-faceted CU Compilation Release Show paired with a Photography Exhibit.” Photos will tell and celebrate the stories of eight different women making music in C-U. Five other musical acts will be performing. Prints and music will be available for purchase, and all proceedings will go to benefit Girls Rock! C-U.


WHAT: Winter Classic with Buzzzard, Euriah, and The Phantom Broadcast

WHERE: Bath House Shows (cover)

WHEN: Friday, June 2 at 8 p.m.

A rare Bath House event will see the return of The Phantom Broadcast to the area to play a release show for their new EP. Carbondale rock and roll outfit Buzzzard are also stopping by to play, as well as Chicago pop-rock act Winter Classic and local emo faves Euriah.


WHAT: First Fridays

WHERE: Downtown Urbana at various locations (admission is free)

WHEN: Friday, June 2 at 4 p.m.

The folks who put together First Fridays know how to do summer right, and it seems like each session of FF is better than the last. An impressive lineup of activities and participants includes an extensive artist showcase, an “instrument petting zoo,” tons of food and drink specials, and the return of the fabulous Main Street Carnival. See the event page for the full rundown and make sure to take full advantage of all the things that DT Urbana has to offer.


WHAT: Friday Night Live

WHERE: Downtown Champaign in various locations (free)

WHEN: Friday, June 2 starting at 6 p.m.

One of the seasonal series events opening up this weekend is Friday Night Live, an outdoor, multi-location summer music event. Three corners in downtown Champaign will have live local musical acts in pop-up fashion every Friday. At the time of this publishing, specifics have yet to be announced, but if you’re downtown this weekend, keep an eye out for some barside outdoor jams. It’s another great reason to choose an outside table for your weekend’s dinner on the town.


WHAT: Jaik Willis

WHERE: Watson’s Shack and Rail (no cover)

WHEN: Saturday, June 3 at 11 p.m.

Rock and country artist Jaik Willis has played with a sizable list of diverse acts such as Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, and Bassnectar. The powerhouse musician has blasted through hundreds of shows a year, and he’s kicking off his summer touring season in part with a return to Watson’s for a rowdy late night show.


WHAT: Homer Soda Festival

WHERE: Downtown Homer (prices vary)

WHEN: Saturday, June 3 starting at 10 a.m.

This year’s Soda Fest has got a really solid musical lineup. Tara Terra, Motes, and Kurt Bielema are only the start of the list of live music that will go from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Check out the Fest’s page for the full bill, as well as more info on the oodles of other stuff to do there, including tons of eating options, kids’ activities, and as much fizzy sugar water as you heart desires.


WHAT: The Claudettes

WHERE: The Iron Post

WHEN: Saturday, June 3 at 9:30 p.m.

Chicago’s blues and jazz group The Claudettes come with a punk kick. They’ll return to one of their favorite venues this weekend to play not one but two steamy sets at the Post.


WHAT: Hogchute Opry

WHERE: Kalyx Center for Sustainability near Monticello ($10)

WHEN: Saturday, June 3 starting at 1 p.m.

A lot of early summer annuals are taking place this week, and it definitely wouldn’t be summer without the Hogchute Opry. This year’s folk and roots barn bash has been condensed into one super packed day that boasts almost TWENTY different musical acts. As per usual, the Fest stretches their folk and roots center to include genres and subgenres like alternative, country, Americana, rock, and much more. All of the fun takes place inside and outside a barn situated in the middle of mother nature’s splendor. Camping is encouraged and is no additional charge, and there will even be a good ol’ bonfire. Get more details via the link above, and don’t miss this essential event that is one of the best the area has to offer.


WHAT: Deconstructing the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s

WHERE: The Art Theater ($8 for students, $10 for adults)

WHEN: Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4, at 12 p.m. both days

In honor of the album’s 50th anniversary, The Art brings you Deconstructing Sgt. Pepper, an in-depth look at the creative process behind the album. Composer, producer and Beatles expert Scott Freiman uses lecture to explore the intricacies that were involved in crafting the classic album in order to let the audience relive the journey of its production. As a perfect way to honor the anniversary, this viewing will leave you an even bigger fan of the monumental album than you were when you walked in.

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