With the downpour visible through the plate-glass door behind bassist Jim Mefford, Mad Science Fair unleashed a lot of new songs Saturday at Brass Rail, among them unnamed synco-funk and pseudo-metal tunes, as well as “Let’s Go” and “New Hippie Pumpkins.” The eleven-song set featured only four songs from the album …for a better tomorrow, a strong seller on the road. Attendees received complimentary copies of opener The Respondent’s four-song self-titled EP.

Across University Avenue, Cameo Turret played for the first time with bassist Chris Ericson, while Mike Schmitt drummed despite a sprained wrist. Ericson, an audio assistant at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, is producing the Cameo Turret full-length due later this year.

Folk singer-songwriter and two-time WPGU-buzz Local Music Awards Best Female nominee Joni Laurence announces her last local concert, Wednesday at The Canopy Club. It is a non-smoking show, as well as an all-request show, and Laurence asks that fans e-mail her with song requests. Show time is 7 p.m., and cover is $5. Laurence moves to Portland, Ore. May 14. Her live album, recorded Feb. 18 at Unitarian Universalist Church in Urbana, is “still on track for a June release.”

The six-song fireflies EP initially due in mid-April now has a release show June 3 at The Canopy Club. The show will alternate between the lobby and the main room, and opening for fireflies are: Shipwreck, Bailey, The Old Faith and Monte Carlos. Shipwreck also has an EP due in June, and the track listing became official last week: “House of Cards,” “Atlantic,” “Alias,” and “Black Moon.” Meanwhile, Shipwreck continues its April residency at The Canopy Club for Rehearsal Space, followed in May by Watery Domestic and in June by Lorenzo Goetz.

Tomorrow at Mike ‘n Molly’s marks the debut of Michael Allen and Jason Ewing’s self-described crunk-trance-black metal band (their lie, not mine) Bellcaster. It is also the second show for popcorn-obsessed lo-fi quartet The Rise and Fall of Tomax and Xamot, and The Vivian Girls (ex-The Hissy Fits). Show time is 10 p.m., and cover is $4.

Also tomorrow, Late Night spACE at Independent Media Center has broadened its Boneyard Arts Festival lineup. Now aboard are: Alma Afro-Beat Ensemble, Triple Whip, Jason Finkleman’s Nu-Orbit Ensemble with Mark Deutsch, Brandon T. Washington, Ear Doctor, and Environmental Encroachment. Show time is 8:45 p.m. and admission is free.

An even larger lineup is Sunday for the Artists Against AIDS record release at Cowboy Monkey. Scheduled are: reds, The Greedy Loves, Adam Wolfe, Megan Johns, Mike Grill and the Downslope, elsinore, U of Idol winner KJ McKinnie and Bruce Sain, Angie Heaton and The Sokolski Boys (Cody and Nate), all of whom have donated original material for a CD to benefit the Greater Community AIDS Project. Show time is 6-11 p.m. and cover is $5.

Correction: Last week, about the disconnect when elsinore lost Best Folk/Americana yet won Best Live Band, I appeared to write: “This will seem quaint in retrospect, despite how well elsinore connects with audiences.” I actually wrote: “This will seem quaint in retrospect, as well as elsinore connects with audiences.”

Todd J. Hunter hosts WEFT Sessions and Champaign Local 901, two hours of local music every Monday at 10 p.m. on WEFT 90.1 FM. Send news to soundground@excite.com. Support your scene to preserve your scene.

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