On the heels of a successful White Elephant Song Exchange show in December at Mike 'n Molly's, Nic Dillon, Ryan Groff and Cole Rabenort are branching out to try to re-create that concert's mellow, acoustic ambience with a new project, The Shadowboxer Collective.

"We felt like there were a lot of rock shows in town," says Dillon, of Casados. "But not as many opportunities for quieter bands. We recognize that there are a lot of people who are into somewhat stripped down or chilled out music. Our goal is to organize shows that they'll enjoy."

Shadowboxer will strive to present opportunities for "turned-down" local musicians, as well as musicians from out of town with similar styles. "Being the kind of artists we are," Dillon continued, "we know a lot of people. We're trying to bring people we really admire to Champaign-Urbana."

When pressed on the origin of the name, Dillon pled ignorance. "Cole came up with it," he said. "I don't know."

Shadowboxer already has scheduled two shows, the first of which is Saturday, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. at Cowboy Monkey. Groff (of Elsinore), Casey Reeves (Columbia, Mo.), & Clifton Roy (Naperville,Ill.) are slated to appear, and the cover is $5.

Next up will be Saturday, Feb. 21 at 10 p.m. at Mike 'n Molly's. That show will feature local folks Mordechai in the Mirror and Carl Hauck, Cedarwell (Sheboygan, Wisc.), The Daredevil Christopher Wright (Eau Claire, Wisc.) are on the bill, once again for just five bucks.

You may have noticed that Casados is conspicuously absent from these bills. "We'll play on shows," Dillon explained. "We're shooting for two [Shadowboxer] shows a month, and we're certainly not going to play on all of those. Right now, our schedule is dedicated to finishing up our record."

Photo of Casados by Samanta McGranahan