Smile Politely

The Overture: September 12-18

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, September 12th


Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 5:30 p.m.

James Mauck’s percussion and improvisation blend to create a unique sonic landscape. 

Urbanna 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, September 13th

Church Street Ramblers

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 5 p.m.

Playing jazz from the early 20th century, Church Street Ramblers will get the toes tapping, with songs by legends such as Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, and other greats.

Hobnob String Band

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 7:30 p.m.

Hobnob String Band brings you some great acoustic music, from blues to bluegrass and other styles. Catch some great harmonies, and of course some wonderful fingerpicking. This Tuesday, they’ll be joined by a super-secret special guest.

WEDNESDAY, September 14th

Image from Rose Bowl Tavern’s Facebook. 

The Reginald Lewis Quintet

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 5 p.m.

Reginald Lewis on tenor sax, Grace Calderon on tenor/alto sax, Joan Hickey on piano, Emma Taylor, and Maxwell Osawa on bass. 

Demon Hunter

Castle Theatre // $30 adv, $35 door // 7:30 p.m.

Seattle-based heavy metal band Demon Hunter stops by to play songs from all 11 of their albums. They’ll be joined by Opponent. 

THURSDAY, September 15th

The Corn Flakes

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

The Corn Flakes play songs about “trucks, trains, and farmers” and this is sure to be a great night of country and folk. 

Image from QWANQWA’s Facebook page. 


Spurlock Museum // free // 7 p.m.

Part of the Nick Rudd Music Experience concert series, QWANQWA is an Addis Ababa based music ensemble featuring leading Ethiopian artists. The group includes Azmari singer Selamnesh Zemene with virtuoso musicians Endres Hassen (mesenko), Misale Leggesse (kebero), and Bubu Teklemariam (bass krar), and Kaethe Hostetter (violin).

The Great Cover Up (day one)

Rose Bowl Tavern // $15 // 8:30 p.m.

After a two year absense, The Great Cover Up returns. Local bands perform cover sets of famous bands to raise money for local charities. Loads of fun for a great cause. Tonight’s performers include The Falbonauts, Dew Eye, Kayla and Jill, and 90s Daughter.

FRIDAY, September 16th

Jeff Helgesen Quintet

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

Local trumpet guru Jeff Helgesen performs at the Rose Bowl with his stellar quintet, bringing you hard bop of the 1960s.

The Blues Deacons

Hubers // free // 7 p.m.

The blues outfit from Gibson City are hitting Hubers. Playing originals as well as blues classics, come by and “let the blues ease on into your soul.”

Image from PYGMALION’s Facebook page. 


Loose Cobra // $15 // 8 p.m.

Experimental/indie/rock group Tonstartssbandht stops by Loose Cobra while on tour in support of their newest album PetuniaThey’ll have support from C-U rock group Our Landmark. 

The Great Cover Up (day two)

Rose Bowl Tavern // $15 // 8:30 p.m.

After a two year absense, The Great Cover Up returns. Local bands perform cover sets of famous bands to raise money for local charities. Loads of fun for a great cause. Tonight’s performers include Whiskey Shadow, Modern Drugs, Curb Service, Chase Baby, and Los Guapos with Brandon T. Washington.

SATURDAY, September 17th

Oak Grove Brothers

Rose Bowl Tavern // free // 12 p.m.

Oak Grove Brothers play “old growth jam band music in the multi-influenced vein of the Dead, the Doors, the Band, Richard Thompson, and beyond.” Featuring an all star lineup of local musicians. 

Image from Rose Bowl Tavern’s Facebook page.

Hot Club of Urbana

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

Bringing hot jazz tunes including originals and standards, accordion, guitar, drums, bass, sax, and more — there will be great vibes abound.

Larry Fleet

Castle Theatre // $20 adv, $23 door // 8 p.m.

Country singer Larry Fleet stops by the Castle to play some tunes, with support from Megan Maroney.

The Great Cover Up (day three)

Rose Bowl Tavern // $15 // 8:30 p.m.

The Great Cover Up concludes on Saturday with performances from Wardbeast, Airacobra, Decadents, Sandman Slimm, and New Souls. 

SUNDAY, September 18th

Fiddle Sax Fusion Band

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

Saxophone, fiddle, and percussion comebine to create a truly exciting sound. The group will be celebrating the release of their new album Grumbling, Growling, and Other Pandemic Breakdowns, which you can read our review of here.

Nick’s Country Jam

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

An open mic of sorts, Nicholas Stine invites folks to get on stage and perform folk, country, and more.

Top image from Rose Bowl Tavern’s Facebook page.

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