The local music scene felt a huge blow last week with the passing of Paul Martin. Paul wasn’t a musician who played in any band, but he was one of the biggest fans and supporters of local music. His warmth and kindness were felt by all. Those who don’t recall the name would surely recall the smiling face they’d seen out and about at several shows. His presence will be surely missed. A show in his honor will be held at Cowboy Monkey on Tuesday the 13th, with proceeds going to an education fund for his children. At press time, a lineup wasn’t confirmed, but some rumored appearances include Brandon T. Washington, elsinore, Adam Wolfe, Darling Disarm, Larry Gates and others. The amount of bands and musicians who showed up to his visitation to pay their respects indicates that it should be a night of great performances. Check openingbands.com for more info on the show.
I love jazz. Just ask Paul Wirth over at the Iron Post in Urbana. Tonight at his joint you can catch the University of Illinois Jazz Combo under the direction of Ron Bridgewater for only $2. This is a chance to see some great young players in a cozy setting, but now without smoke (though Paul runs outside heaters in the beer garden so smokers don’t have to freeze their asses off while smoking). The show even has an early start time, at 7 p.m. Listen to some good jazz, eat some fries with Cajun spice and some of Paul’s Hot Sauce, and reminisce fondly on when that giant moon-thing hung at the back of the stage. Wirth will be offering a lot more jazz over the course of this week (and every week, for that matter), with Miami Heat Latin Jazz on Friday, the Leigh Meador Trio on Sunday, MRS Trio on Monday and Andy Schumm and the Flatland Gang (playing traditional big band jazz from the ’20s and ’30s) on Tuesday. Check out theironpost.com for more info.
Also on the jazz circuit, there’s the Thursday night jazz night at Zorba’s on campus. This week features the Craig Russo Latin Jazz Project from 9:30-12:30. Now only if Zorba’s could be convinced to serve food that late …
Southern boy Will Hoge returns to the Canopy Club on Friday night, featuring semi-local opener Backyard Tire Fire. Will’s previous shows at the Canopy Club have been excellent, especially the show I opened, which had three people in the audience. He is still working on building a strong following in the midwest, as his big touring spot is the south. But so long as he keeps putting on great rock shows, I don’t see it being too long before he’s packing the house at the Canopy. Backyard Tire Fire is a band that has built up quite a local following, and the band should compliment Will’s style nicely. Also on the bill are Marah and the Drams and Matt Mays & El Torpedo. Tickets are $10.
Over at Cowboy Monkey, former CU live-in and current Chicago resident Todd Kessler will make a tour stop to open for the Eclectic Theory CD Release show. At the Highdive, the area’s premier hard rock cover band, X-Krush, will rock all night, while at Boltini DJ Mertz will be spinning (and hopefully dancing). Out in Mahomet, the little venue that could, the Shed, will apparently host a show with Karate High School, Cautious Last Words and Krashtype 17. I imagine that the 7 a.m. start time listed on openingbands is a mistake but, you never know. The cover charge is TBA, but whoever submitted the show to OB says, “it’ll be cheep” (sic). All right.
On Saturday, Green Street Records will host a show at the Courtyard CafÇ featuring mad mardigan, The Greytones, Jack Pine Savage and Boba Fett and the Stormtroopers (are all of the obscure Star Wars references taken?). Green Street Records is a pretty cool organization that students can get involved with if they have aspirations to work in the music business. They pick student bands to put on a free compilation, along with promoting shows. If you’re interested, I’m sure there will be someone at the show whom you can talk to about it (if that person is able to find a parking space within a mile of the Union).
Monday night will bring Quietdrive (Epic Records) to the Canopy Club, along with opener Ronnie Day. Ronnie, a Bay Area prodigy, apparently didn’t like his last name much, so he asked fans on his MySpace page (which looks a lot like my little sister’s, actually) to give him a new one. They settled on Day, and that’s what he’s going with. The CD is full of melancholy pop odes, so Ronnie should fit nicely with the rest of the artists on the bill (Quietdrive, as well as Melee).
Wendy’s update: So, there are actually two Wendy’s still open in Danville. I can’t believe they’ve been there this whole time, just waiting for me and my need for a spicy chicken fix. And the best part? They still serve Pepsi products. That’s right, folks – while our local Wendy’s were all giving up the good fight and switching to Coke, Danville stood strong and kept the possible Mountain Dew/Chicken Nugget combination alive. I’ll be in California when this issue hits stands (likely eating at In and Out), but when I get back, I’m heading for Vermilion County.
Mike Ingram lives in Champaign, where he books shows and heads up the local music section at 90.1 WEFT. Contact him at email@example.com.