Smile Politely

The Overture:  Oct. 5 – 11

With school, work, family and that all too obvious loss to Penn State, 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.

CabellWhatSoprano Nicole Cabell

When: Tuesday, October 6, 2009, at 7:30pm

Where:  Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Foellinger Great Hall.  Tickets from $10 – $44.

The laundry list of rather badass names for this world-renowned soprano are pretty astounding, but I think the “silken lasso” (coined by the New York Times) might top the list.  Never the less, Cabell will perform a variety of American and international vocal pieces alongside the equally renowned pianist Spencer Myer Tuesday night.  Cabell won the 2005 BBC Singer of the World Competition, so even if the classics aren’t your thing, she is nothing to scoff at.

WhatFlotation Walls and World’s First Flying Machine

When:  Thursday, October 8 at 8 p.m.

Where:  Courtyard Café

Keep your hump day a little weird with two dynamite experimental orchestral pop bands.  Columbus, Ohio’s Flotation Walls are currently on tour and have been likened to early British psychadelia while locals World’s First Flying Machine challenge themselves regularly to add more musicians and more zany goodness.

OhMyGodWhatOh My God, Heyokas, Curb Service, Anthony Gravino

When:  Thursday, October 8 at 9 p.m.   

Where:  Cowboy Monkey, $5

Following the week’s trend of atypical art rock, Chicago’s Oh My God lands in Champaign-Urbana Thursday night while on tour in support of their newest release, The Night Undoes the Work of the Day.  Having not seen them, I can’t attest to their live prowess, but they have been making quite the name for themselves in Chicago and have grabbed the international media’s attention as well.  Kerrang (UK) called them a “monumental feast of pile-driving hooks,” so be sure to check them out before they hit the road. 



What:  Sudden Sound Concert: Yuganaut

When:  Thursday, October 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Where:  Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, Free

There is a current trend in avant-garde jazz where groups throw every possible combination of influences into the same improvisational basket and then stand back to watch what emerges organically.  Thus the multi-instrumental jazz trio Yuganaut, who blends Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra oddness with European free jazz, classical Indian and Western European traditions.  The show is 100% free of charge to you, dear reader, so drop in for a listen and peruse the Museum’s current offerings.

WhatMike Droho

When:  Saturday, October 10    

Where:  Canopy Club, $7

His official MySpace labels him as rock/hip-hop/indie, so expect a little diversity at Canopy Club this weekend.  Hailing from Madison, Wisc., Mike Droho sites a plethora of 90s rock bands as his primary influences, but peppers in the classics as well.  Having performed alongside the Black Keys, Violent Femmes and the Roots, Droho is steadily building a following that will only continue to grow Saturday night.

LLBWhatLac La Belle (formerly Jennie and the Sure Shots)

When:  Sunday, October 11 at 7 p.m.

Where:  The Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center

Detroit’s acoustic trio Lac La Belle offer a twist on traditional folk music via the hoot-and-holler of a little backwoods country western swing.  They somehow manage to elicit an ancient Americana feel without succumbing to the all-too-close shtick that could come with raising such a ghost.  The fact that they’re based out of Detroit makes them even more interesting given their distance from the honky tonks of the Appalachians where one would expect this kind of ol’ fashioned good time. 

Did we leave anything out?  Want to promote your own gig?  Peep the comment section below.


Looking ahead…



10/13 Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers @ Highdive

10/16 Blitzen Trapper @ Canopy Club

10/16 Black Whales @ Cowboy Monkey

10/17 NIL8 @ Cowboy Monkey

10/17 Lookbook @ Courtyard Cafe

10/17 The Lifeline et. al. @ Independent Media Center

10/22 Avett Brothers @ Canopy Club

10/24 Great Lake Swimmers + The Wooden Birds @ Courtyard Cafe

10/24 Hallelujah the Hills @ Cowboy Monkey

10/25 Yonder Mountain String Band @ Canopy Club

10/25 David Bazan @ Highdive

10/27 Mason Jennings @ Highdive

10/28 O.A.R. w/ Elmwood @ Assembly Hall

10/29 Thao with the Get Down Stay Down @ Canopy Club

10/30 Batrider + Scotland Yard Gospel Choir @ Courtyard Cafe



11/1 Disco Biscuits @ Canopy Club

11/5 Generationals, Spinto Band + Pepi Ginsberg @ Courtyard Cafe

11/6 Neko Case @ Canopy Club ($25 in advance, tickets on sale 8/29)

11/13 Ruby Rodeo Love @ Courtyard Cafe

11/14 Heavy Trash (Jon Spencer of JSBX) @ Cowboy Monkey

11/18 Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers @ Highdive

11/21 Hot Club of Cowtown @ Shady Nook Pub, Saybrook

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