Twenty years ago, one of CU’s most prominent, influential booking artists, Josh Gottheil, passed away from complications due to lymphoma at the age of 19. In his brief but active life, Gottheil left a remarkable impression on the CU music scene, booking locals and soon-to-be-huge names alike. The spirit of Gottheil, however, is the important factor and one that lives on through this weekend’s Play or Pose Reunion.
As cited by the event Web site, Play or Pose received its title as such: “When we would wait for Bowery Boys or Titanic Love Affair to play a show, their line check would take forever … causing us to scream, ‘Are you gonna play or pose?!’ Well, 20 years on and the phrase lives on and encapsulates that time…”
Sunday, May 24’s aptly titled reunion show features four key acts from the late ’80s/early ’90s era of rock in Champaign-Urbana. Though none of the groups ever disappeared from the radar, so to speak, each has dealt with separate paths that lead from and around music as a career.
The Outnumbered will reform for the first time in 22 years to play the opening set to the evening. Calling the band openers, however, sounds like a disgrace to the prominence of the act’s garage-rock style. With the Outnumbered often cited as one of the most notable CU bands of the last 20 years, it is only fitting that the band’s singer/guitarist Jon Ginoli went on to form the San Francisco-based Pansy Division, one of the defining acts in the queercore genre.
Following is art-rock trio Lonely Trailer. During their time in CU, the underrated mid-’80s act worked closely with Mud Records, an associated label of local Parasol. Lonely Trailer’s eccentric style is a fitting centerpiece to the four-band lineup, expanding upon the rock edge of the Outnumbered and working into the power chords of band Cowboy X. As stated by Poster Children’s Rose Marshack, “Lonely Trailer is probably one of the most amazing bands you’ll ever see to come out of Champaign.”
Power-pop act Cowboy X, an instrumental force in the Play or Pose Reunion, is the third billed band for the event. The Trashcan Records act was prevalent during the late ’80s and was a recognizable force in creating the CU “scene” as it appears today.
Closing out the night (but certainly not ending it) is a highly active, “emerging from hibernation” Poster Children. The indie-rock four-piece has kept their name alive through work as electronic group Salaryman and a commitment to the DIY music scene. The act’s presence reaches above and beyond their listable achievements because of an open eagerness to aid the CU music community whenever possible.
On the reunion aspects of the weekend, Marshack commented, “I guess we’re not 20-something anymore, but we’re still the same people who were 20-something back in 1988. I don’t feel any different; I just feel like I’ve seen a lot, been through a lot, am maybe a little bit wiser. I still believe that live music can hold a powerful force—(and I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to prove it!)
The Play or Pose Reunion Show will take place at the Highdive on Sunday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and at the door, and proceeds will benefit the Josh Gottheil Memorial Fund. Don’t miss a chance to witness four of Champaign-Urbana’s most notable acts compile fond memories and serve an honorable cause.

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