A second benefit for the family of Paul Martin has been scheduled for Friday, May 25. Paul was a huge supporter of music in general, but especially of local music. You were almost guaranteed to see him and his wife Tara at any local show you attended, usually with a Rolling Rock in his hand and a smile on his face. Sadly, Paul passed away in January. Local musicians came together almost immediately following his passing to play a show to benefit the education fund set up for the three children under 18 he left behind. For those who missed that show, or those who want to give a little more, a second show featuring some new faces will take place at either the Highdive or Cowboy Monkey (more info next week). Cameron McGill will make his first appearance in CU in months for the show, and Erin Fein and Tristan Wraight (of Headlights) will do a special acoustic set. Several other bands are trying to arrange their schedules, and a full lineup will be available soon. Updates will be added to the show’s listing at openingbands.com as they happen.
This week is kicked off by Live Karaoke Band at Cowboy Monkey. If you’ve somehow missed all the action, the band (featuring members of the Brat Pack and X-Krush) has a huge list of songs that you can pick from and perform onstage, backed by real musicians. No teleprompters and no lame karaoke guy telling bad jokes. Make sure to get there early to get yourself signed up! If you want to make sure that the band will let you sing several times, make sure to wear clothing representing both the Packers and Superman – and having a mohawk wouldn’t hurt. 10 p.m., $5.
Chicago country-rocker Robbie Fulks will make the trek down to Champaign on Friday to play the Highdive. The singer/songwriter will be bringing along copies of his new double-disc live album, half of which was recorded right here in Champaign at a previous Highdive date. This year’s Local Music Award winner for Best Folk/Americana Band, elsinore, will open the show. Next week the band will head up to the Chicago studio of Anthony Gravino (Temple of Low Men) to record a new EP with Anthony and Adam Schmitt. You can catch some of the EP songs live at the Highdive show, which starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Elsinore lead singer Ryan Groff has also recently delivered a new CD to Parasol Records, which will release the album (People in the Midwest) on June 14. More info soon.
Elsewhere on Friday night, Kilborn Alley (another LMA winner), will play all night at the Iron Post (9 p.m., $4) while the salsa craze continues at Cowboy Monkey with Screaming Salsa (a live salsa band) at 10 p.m. Salsa, salsa, salsa.
Adam Wolfe (Tritone, the Jammies) is single-handedly keeping things rocking at Potbelly Sandwich Works on campus. With noon-time shows on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the man who dons a cape to shred with metal band Tritone tones it down to a pleasant acoustic level to melt the faces of college kids looking for a sandwich or shake. And sure, that raised platform that performers are expected to play on may look unstable, but that just adds to the ambiance. Go in and see for yourself. It’s free.
Saturday night once again proves that there is just too much good music being made in this area, as several good shows are scheduled (including two CD release shows). The Canopy Club will host two shows for the evening, with an early Monte Montgomery show at 6 p.m. followed by a 10 p.m. show featuring Casados, fresh from a marathon tour of the nation. Monte Montgomery has been well-received in his several shows at the Canopy Club over the years, all of which included his lengthy cover of the Dire Straits tune “Romeo & Juliet,” I believe. If not, it was close. You’d better believe that Casados will have plenty of copies of the new EP Passages at their show, unless they sold them all on tour, in which case I’ve been no help at all. No surprise there, really. Sharing the stage with Casados for the late show will be A Light Sleeper, The Dowry, Dan Beahm and Kang Drum. Cover is $7. Expect lots of politeness towards the sound guy.
Another venue pulling double-duty for the night is the Iron Post, which will host a 6 p.m. show with Big Grove Zydeco, along with the 9 p.m. Lucky Mulholland CD release show. Formerly a solo project from singer/songwriter/Larry-Gates-sympathizer Brian Phelps, the L.M. (think the O.C.) is now an action-packed quintet! The new EP, titled La Petite Rendezvous, is the first release featuring the new lineup. The show will also feature local songstress Megan Johns, Indiana band Sprickets and DJ LEGTWO. Cover is $5.
Local electronic/rock band i:Scintilla have also picked Saturday to release their new album, a 12-track effort titled Optics. The album is being release by Europen label Alfa Matrix, and is also being released in a limited edition package featuring a second disc with remixes of the album songs, along with a sticker, postcards and a poster. The quartet has been hard at work on the record, which features production work from Wade Alin, and will head to Germany following the release of the new disc to play a big show. The Saturday show will likely sell out the Cowboy Monkey, so get there early and get a good spot. Openers: Cruciform Injection, Relenter. Cover: $5. Time: 10 p.m. Check out myspace.com/iscintilla for more info.
Captured! By Robots is finally making another stop in town this week, with a show at the Highdive on Tuesday. More info at thehighdive.com.
Retraction! Sort of! Snowsera now has a drummer.
Mike Ingram can be reached at