Smile Politely

The Overture:  Oct. 26 – Nov. 1

With school, work, family and all that time you’re spending trying to decide which Jonas brother to be for Halloween, who has the time to find out about the best shows happening in Champaign-Urbana?  No need to fear, because the editors at Smile Politely have taken care of it.  

Check back in later this week for an addendum to the Overture featuring all the best shows Halloween night.  

  Griffin House

When:  Monday Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m. 

Where:  Cowboy Monkey, $7 

Nashville-via-Ohio’s Griffin House set off on his own tour earlier this month in support of this newest effort, Flying Upside Down, before joining up with the reunited Cranberries for a string of dates in November.  Flying Upside Down is filled with Jackson Brown melodies and richly personal poetry.  To top it off, House managed to rein in his own all-star cast of studio musicians for the record including producer Jeff Trott (Sheryl Crow), bass player Justin Mendal-Johnson (Beck), drummer Victor Indrizzo (Macy Gray, Aimee Mann), violinist Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek) and Benmont Trench and Mike Campbell from Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers.  Check out House’s extensive bio for a personal play-by-play of Flying Upside Down.

mjWhat:  Mason Jennings, Anni Rossi

When:  Tuesday Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m. 

Where:  The Highdive, $15 

Perhaps Mason Jennings’ largest claim to fame outside of his adopted Minneapolis home is the two Bob Dylan songs (“The Times They Are a-Changin'” and “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”) he was hand selected to record for the Dylan biopic I’m Not There.  If that isn’t enough of a testament to the drawing power of this Hawaii-born singer/songwriter, I don’t know what is.  His fellow Hawaiian singer/songwriter, Jack Johnson, released Jennings’ Blood of Man on his own Brushfire Records in September.  He is on tour with Chicago’s Anni Rossi through the end of November.

O.A.R., Elmwood  

When:  Wednesday Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m. 

Where:  Assembly Hall, $27-$32 

Had this show come a little earlier in the football season, we could expect a little Illinois/Ohio State clash at the Assembly Hall.  With roots at Ohio State University, O.A.R. has stuck to what they know best (college scenes) and have toured relentlessly to build a cult college following that owes much to the jam band genre.  Their most recent studio effort, 2008’s All Sides comes as a prequel to two live records in 2009, the Hello, Tomorrow EP and a to-be-released Rain or Shine.  Earlier this month, O.A.R. announced a less than revolutionary outreach campaign with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America entitled “Open Up Your Arms” with the goal of engaging Americans to pledge support for our nation’s armed services.  Luckily, they’re keeping the politics out of it.  Nashville’s Elmwood opens.

thaoWhat:  Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, Portland Cello Project, David Schultz  

When:  Thursday Oct. 29 

Where:  Canopy Club, $10 

Thao Nguyen and the men of the Get Down Stay Down (Adam Thompson and Willis Thompson) have some mountains to climb.  Off of the success of their 2008 record, We Brave Bee Stings and All, which was the top-selling record of the year for Kill Rock Stars, their newest studio album, Know Better Learn Faster has some shoes to fill.  They have once again tapped producer Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, Spoon) for what is sure to be an infectious genre-bending record that lives up to the energy of their live shows.

batriderWhat:  Batrider, Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, the Duke of Uke & his Novelty Orchestra

When:  Friday Oct. 30, 7:00 p.m. 

Where:  Courtyard Café, $3 students/$5 public 

I hope you don’t need much convincing to spend Devil’s Night with a band from New Zealand called Batrider.  They have that hard-to-describe fuzzy grunge sound with traces of the more beautiful elements of Sonic Youth.  Their debut record, Tara, received critical acclaim and they have since relocated to London where their live performances are becoming equally notable.  They set off on a tour of the states earlier this year and will be on the road through the end of November.  If you need any more convincing to make it out to this show, take a listen at their newest record, Why We Can’t Be Together, for free.

dbWhat:  Disco Biscuits, Orchard Lounge  

When:  Sunday Nov. 1, 7:00 p.m. 

Where:  Canopy Club, $15 

With their hometown Phillies on the way to the World Series, jam band legends Disco Biscuits stop by Canopy Club Sunday night to nurse your Halloween hangover on the official Day of the Dead.  If you missed your chance to catch O.A.R. earlier in the week, Disco Biscuits should provide an adequate jam band fix with their philosophic approach to the genre complete with “inverted” and “dyslexic” versions of their own songs.  Their first EP, On Time, dropped earlier this month but is only available in digital format or for purchase at their shows.

Know about something we don’t?  Want to promote your own gig?  Peep the comment section below.

Looking ahead…

Canopy Club – David Barnes, Good Luck Jane
Foellinger Auditorium – Matisyahu

Canopy Club – Mathien
Courtyard Café – Generationals, Spinto Band, Pepi Ginsberg
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts – Vladimir Feltsman and the Pacifica Quartet 

Canopy Club – Neko Case, Sarah Harmer
Mike N Molly’s – Hot Cops, Take Care, Alaya Conscious 

Canopy Club – Corey Smith, the Elms
Cowboy Monkey – i:Scintilla, DJ Sorcery Kid, Terminus Victor, DJ Kannibal
Indigo Art Gallery – You and Yourn CD release party with Caleb Engstrom 

Canopy Club – Ace Frehley, 16 Second Stare, Verdict 

Canopy Club – Ok Go, Princeton
The Highdive – Band of Heathens
Krannert Center – Tito Carrillo 

Assembly Hall – Jay Z, N.E.R.D.
Canopy Club – 1079 Jay Z Jamz Afterparty
Krannert Center – Dena Vermette 

Canopy Club – Family Groove Company, Mhondoro Rhythm Success, TBA
Courtyard Cafe – Maps & Atlases, Ruby Rodeo Love
Cowboy Monkey – Heyokas
Krannert Center – Dena Vermette
Mike N Molly’s – Aaron Williams Band, Jack Pine Savage
U-C IMC – Bossa Nuevo 

Cowboy Monkey – Heavy Trash (Jon Spencer of JSBX)
Krannert Center – The Walkmen
Memphis on Main – Renegade 

Memphis on Main – Charlie Shafter and the Gnomes, Mayhew the Traitor 

Foellinger Auditorium – The Academy Is…
The Highdive – Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers 

Canopy Club – Cross Canadian Ragweed, Seth James
Cowboy Monkey – Of a Native Vibe
Mike N Molly’s – On Again Off Again, Breaking Laces, Curb Service 

Mike N Molly’s – Prussia, TBA 

Cowboy Monkey – Dubstep Massacre
Po’ Boys – Thrash Zombie, TBA
Shady Nook Pub – Hot Club of Cowtown, Saybrook

Canopy Club – Laughing Prairie Dog Festival with The Hood Internet, Santah and more

Canopy Club – EOTO (featuring Michael Travis and Jason Hann of String Cheese Incident)
Mike N Molly’s – Laarks, My Dear Alan Andrews, and Zach May and the Maps 

Mike N Molly’s – White Elephant song exchange 

Mike N Molly’s – Neoga Blacksmith

Assembly Hall – The Oak Ridge Boys 

Mike N Molly’s – New Years Eve with New Ruins 

Krannert Center – Maxwell Street Klezmer Band
Krannert Center – Kronos Quartet, Wu Man

Canopy Club – The Prairie Ensemble: The Soldier’s Tale 

Krannert Center – The Band of the Irish Guards 

Krannert Center – Frederica Von Stade 

Krannert Center – Moscow State Radio Symphony Orchestra

Krannert Center – Abraham Inc. 

Assembly Hall – Martina McBride, Trace Adkins 

Krannert Center – Danu 

Krannert Center – San Francisco Symphony 

Krannert Center – What it Is!  Featuring Mavis Staples, Booker T. JJ Grey 

Krannert Center – Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra 

Krannert Center – Joshua Bell 

Krannert Center – James Farm 

Krannert Center – Ozomatli

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