Another action-packed long weekend of live music kicks off tonight at 8 p.m. with an admirable last-minute twist to CU Rock the Vote at Mike ‘n Molly’s. Per prior arrangement with the bar, the presidential debate live from Florida will air in its entirety on the television set downstairs. After the 90-minute telecast, Mad Science Fair, Goldman, Mandarin and Balisong will play.
On campus, also at 8 p.m., the Courtyard Cafe hosts a Christian show at which brand-new light rock band Bread Box opens for Fire by Night and Rantoul metal ministry Kwench. Cover is $4 or $2 for University of Illinois students.
Back downtown, there are two opportunities to see singer-songwriters for free. At 8 p.m., Aroma hosts Kristi Kjeldsen and Dave Burdick. Then at 11 p.m., Cowboy Monkey presents its Thursday Special with J. Scott Franklin of Cleveland and local gal Angie Heaton, who has neat new I-57 pinback buttons to go along with her song “Drive.” Gina Villalobos is no longer on this bill. Angie Heaton appears again Oct. 4 on “WEFT Sessions,” and J. Scott Franklin returns Oct. 8 for an engagement at Borders with G. Lee.
Tomorrow, Joni Laurence launches yet another local concert series, this time with Verde Gallery manager Curt Tucker. The aim of “Acoustic Fusion” is to pair acts that are different, yet complementary, so that distinct crowds may experience and enjoy them together. Shows are the first and third Fridays of each month, with Joni Laurence and Noisy Gators Oct. 1, and Jimmy Legs and Grass Roots Revival Oct. 15. Show time is 8 p.m., and cover is $5. For those unaware, Verde Gallery has a cafe with wine bar.
At 9 p.m., Independent Media Center Booking Collective has an alcohol-free, all-ages show at Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant, once a hotbed for the folk and punk scenes. On the bill tomorrow are Palomar, a pop group from Brooklyn, The Opportunists and Wasteoid Workforce (ex-The Failures). Palomar is on tour in support of their third album, Palomar III, and rarely play venues this small. Cover is $5.
Saturday, Headlights (ex-Absinthe Blind) finish a 15-state tour, their first, at Cowboy Monkey. Also aboard are New Sense (Decibully), The Roots of Orchis and Triple Whip. Show time is 9:30 p.m., and suggested cover is $5.
An alcohol-free Local H show? Sounds dubious, but one is scheduled at the Courtyard Cafe that same night at 9 p.m. Suffrajett, “a ratty little band from NYC,” sadly cancelled due to a wedding, but promised a makeup date by November. Ascot Fire remain on the bill. Cover is $9 or $7 for University of Illinois students.
Colonel Rhodes, an alt-country act that formed here last autumn and opened for Juliana Hatfield at The Highdive, recently added vocalist Elizabeth Holt and guitarist Paclavel Pierzysztipopintoff. The new ensemble played their inaugural show Sept. 19, upon completion of their debut track, “Setting Sun,” with Adam Schmitt for the Save the Plastic Records compilation Anger Is a Gift. In the meantime, the track is available for free download at http://www.colonelrho-des.com/. Colonel Rhodes perform Oct. 4 at The Highdive with Lucero and Oct. 8 at The Void with Catfish Haven and The Invisible.