Canopy Club 10th Anniversary Show

Last night, the Canopy Club celebrated their tenth anniversary by swamping the venue with the best and brightest local bands. Running from six o’clock all the way until two in the morning, the show brought out many local music fans sharing the celebration. Most exciting for all involved was the interaction of the fans of different bands. Plenty of intense music conversations were struck up out in the courtyard while the crowd transitioned from the void room to the small hall every half hour. The constant shuffling to and fro of the patrons gave this event a near festival feel, as people alternated between dancing, lounging, drinking and singing along.
Toward the middle of the night, Hot Cops got the void room faithful energized by breaking down the doors with their fast riffs and potent hollers. Their set finished with a bang with their raucous shout-a-long “Ah Ha!”, which the Hot Cop fans really enjoyed.
Shifting gears in the small hall, World’s First Flying Machine took the stage one by one, slowly gathering the lift and thrust required to break gravity’s bind. As their set went on, the band shuffled their instrumentation, adding an ambient ukulele and a xylophone to create a lovely back drop to Brian McGovern’s songs. WFFM was one of the bands last night a bit inhibited by their half hour block, as they were disappointed when they heard they only had time for one more. Fortunately they did not disappoint, playing the fanciful “Ferris Wheel” to great applause.
Fans wandering back into the void room were treated next with a set from The Brother Whys. Synthesizer effects gave their songs a fun, bouncy feel which was enjoyed by people with all sorts of musical tastes. The triple threat of Tom, Kelly and Billy on vocals really gives this band their signature sound.
The next small hall timeslot was filled by New Ruins, enveloping the Canopy Club with their steady riffs and ambient fuzz. I was very impressed with New Ruins bassist, Paul Chastain, who always kept the groove by playing a deliciously tasteful bass line, with only the perfect few notes that fit the phrase. The vocals of Elzie Sexton were very relaxing, and the thirty minutes came and went before the crowd could notice.
After New Ruins, Tall Tale took the stage, and, arguably gave the best performance of the night. They all played with such energy and passion that one couldn’t help but get into their music. The highlight of the performance was the song “Apology” off their new release Pirate Ship. The bouncy drumbeat and the minor piano part make the intro a whole lot of fun, and the chorus of the song has lovely vocals, lead and backup, sang by Tracey and Trisha.
The stage presence award of the night would have to go to Sangamon guitarist, Tyler. For the first song, he spent time wailing on his Gibson Explorer, complete with lightning bolt strap. Now, this guitar is a rather large guitar, but Tyler is a big, tall guy, so he looked extremely powerful on stage. His soloing usually stayed right in the bluesy pocket that so many guitarists love to settle into. It was clearly evident in his facial expressions that he loves to play live and be up on the stage. It was a fun performance to watch.
Next up was a very familiar act to the void room stage, Urbana’s household name in jam, Zmick. In order to use their time on stage efficiently, they melded two of their songs together into one. “Cob” > “Interrogation” featured an extended solo from guitarist, Brad Miller and plenty of ethereal licks from keyboardist, Mike Donato. Both of these songs feature tricky time-signature changes in their bridges and these were handled with apparent ease from rhythm section members, Kris Ahrens and Dan Wonsover. The crowd really welcomed the dance-friendly music, and many could be seen shakin’ that ass to the wah-heavy “Sexy Crazy.”
For a bit of cool-down time, the Tractor Kings serenaded the Canopy Club with their gentle alt-country vibes. Lead singer and twelve-string plucker known as “Cujo” was yet another artist playing the show with a voice that was very easy on the ears. A relaxing set was played for the almost sleepy music fans, and it was much appreciated.
A sharply-dressed set from Snowsera followed the Tractor Kings, which kept the theme of the show alive; alternation. It was very interesting to follow faces in the crowd from band to band. By now many had wandered home, but true local music die-hard fans stuck around to end the show with a bang from Snowsera and Santa. Although, many people were not in the mood for another loud, fast-paced set, the Snowsera fans in attendance mobbed the front of the void room to sing and dance along.
Santa finished off the festivities with a gracious introduction thanking all of the devoted fans for sticking around and supporting the venue. Their set included the aromatic “Hashish”, the toe-tapping “The Crumble” off the latest Green Street Records compilation album, and an all-new song played for the first time live at this show. Stan has gathered a lot of personal energy and put it into Santa’s songs, which make it easy for the crowd to get excited about his music as well.
That just about did it last night, as students said goodbye to Urbana’s best live venue, if only for the summer. Here’s to another ten years for Canopy Club! Cheers.

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