You know, I’ve often made my distaste for tribute bands known, but fuck it, this band is called Winds of Thor, which is amazing. And it’s a Zeppelin tribute, so at least it’s the mimicry of a band that you can’t see touring the country regularly (I’m looking at you, shitty DMB tribute acts). So it’s with a caveat or two that I endorse Friday’s show at Chief’s from the Cincinnati band. Wait, where is Chiefe’s, you ask? Well, it’s nowhere near campus and it’s nothing like a campus bar, but they still serve liquor and crank the music, so I’m guessing it’ll work just fine. Chief’s (123 S. Mattis Ave. in Champaign) is basically at the corner of Mattis and University in the strip mall. I don’t know if they found Winds of Thor or if Winds of Thor found them, but I can say it’s a good match whatever the circumstance. This band has all of the things you’d expect from a Zep tribute: a golden-haired siren of a singer with his shirt open; a double-necked-guitar-wielding axe-man with his shirt open; a drummer that worships the empty throne of Bonzo and packs a gong. One good thing is that the four-piece never seems to go bass-less while playing songs with key/recorder/whatever-the-hell-JPJ-was-playing parts. That always frustrated me about Zep shows and is rectified here. Chief’s show is listed as a 10 p.m. start, and while I’m sure there is a cover, I can’t find any info on what it is. Call the bar 359-2177 the day of to see what the story is.
First up in the non-’70s rock world is Mike ‘n Molly’s, which will host the action-packed lineup of New Ruins, Tractor Kings and the Championship starting at 9 p.m. Tractor Kings’ new record, Homesick, is out now, and if you haven’t picked it up, you really need to. New Ruins has a new album, We Make Our Own Bad Luck, in the can with a release to come shortly. The Championship is from Milwaukee and has hit CU on several occasions, so this equates to a very solid lineup that will surely pack the upstairs of MnM’s. Expect a cover of five-ish bucks.
Over at Cowboy Monkey, you can catch Elsinore, who return to the CM stage after a long hiatus. The band will share the stage with Chicago act Oh My God, featuring the guitar talents of former Temple of Low Men short guy Anthony Gravino. The band is quirky in all the right places and will fit in nicely between Elsinore and fast-rising newcomers Post Historic (opening the show at 10 p.m.). The show will cost you $7.
Mike ‘n Molly’s is the place again on Saturday as Curb Service heads up a bill also featuring local pop-sters Lucky Mulholland along with Carta Marina and John Boy’s Courage. Slide on over around 9 p.m., drop your $5 and enjoy the excellent selection of both good beers and cheap beers, along with the bevy of heaters in the beer garden.
Kayla Brown will make her first trip home from Nashville this weekend to settle into her old habits of playing epic cover gigs with this columnist around the central Illinois area. Look for her around town, including playing at the Route 45 Wayside in Pesotum on Saturday at 4 p.m. and at the Cowboy Monkey open mic night on Tuesday. Check out http://www.myspace.com/kaylabrownmusic for more info on her trip home and also to see what it is she’s doing down there in Nashville.
In one of scheduling’s cruelest jokes ever, Atmosphere is playing The Canopy Club next Wednesday opposite mega-fan Larry Gates’ weekly DJ residency at Boltini (where he spins some pretty great stuff, from old R&B to newer hip-hop). Will Gates send in a ringer? I’m certainly interested to find out.
Next Friday is Halloween, and while half-assing a lame costume and rolling into some random campus bar to ogle all of the girls who think that dressing in their underwear or some costume that includes the word “slutty” in it sounds like a blast, why not be bold and head to a rock show where you can ogle slutty costumes while live music happens mere feet away? Take a look at local venue pages for info about the various shows happening that night, including the Living Blue and Elsinore at Radio Maria, Krukid at Courtyard, and Zmick at Canopy. More info next week.

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