This week the ladies of CU will have a hard time finding eyeliner at the neighborhood drug store, as kids all over town will be dolling up in eager anticipation of an Assembly Hall show featuring The Used and 30 Seconds to Mars. Mars’ Jared Leto, better known as an actor in movies like Fight Club, might just be the prettiest boy who ever wanted to be a pretty boy. The bands will hit Champaign with a long list of other whiny bands on the Rockstar “Taste of Chaos” Tour. Hey, maybe they’ll be handing out free visors or something. Your money would be better spent at any one of these shows:
Jeff Helgesen, widely regarded as one of the best trumpeters in the area, is one of the key pieces in Jazz Sandwich (my favorite jazz band of late). Tonight he’ll be fronting his own quintet with three sets at Zorba’s on campus. The show starts at 9:30 p.m., but it’s worth it to get there early and have a gyro and some crinkle fries. Then grab a beer and relax for the show.
Dodge some Frisbees on the quad on your way over to the Canopy Club, where Shooter Jennings makes a return to town. I hate pretty much everything that’s calling itself country these days, with the Toby Keiths and the Kenny Chesneys – it’s all shit. So it’s nice to see someone like Shooter who still manages to be popular as a country act without caving to all of the pitfalls of this modern pop-country. At the rate that Shooter is gaining popularity, you might want to take this chance to see him in a small club for only $16. I can’t imagine it will be too long before his Champaign stop brings him to the Assembly Hall.
On Friday evening, the Iron Post will present Desafinado for a happy hour set, with no cover charge. Desafinado combines the best aspects of latin, bossanova and jazz music into a set that’s very pleasing to the ear. At Champaign’s Cowboy Monkey, the Prairie Dogs will offer their county/bluegrass-centered set for the happy hour crowd for $3. The shows begin at 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively.
At 6 p.m. down at the Savoy United Methodist Church, a few bands will lend a hand to a family in need with a special benefit show. Maximo, A Toothless Life and The Signal will play a show with a $5 donation, with proceeds going to help a father/daughter who have recently lost their home. For more info, email Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pearl Jam hasn’t dropped by CU in awhile, but what I suppose is the next-best thing will be at the Canopy Club on Friday. Even Flow is a Pearl Jam tribute band (that probably still doesn’t copy Pearl Jam as much as Creed did and Nickelback does, but hey), and they’ll play all of your favorites for only $5. Pearl Jam isn’t an easy band to cover, so I’m interested to find out how they do. At least dressing up like the band is easy.
Downtown Champaign will be bumping on Friday, with Baby Teeth and an army of DJs putting on a show at Cowboy Monkey. Baby Teeth is excellent and worth the $5 cover alone, but along for the ride are DJs On Call, Tips For Teens and We Need To Talk. That should make for an interesting evening, starting at 9:30 p.m.
Also on Friday is a show at the IMC in Urbana (in the old post office, downtown, next to Lincoln Square) featuring
Saturday is St. Patrick’s Day (the official one, guys), but there doesn’t seem to be much happening in the way of Irish fare. The Urbana Backyard BBQ Band will play the Iron Post at 6 p.m., and I imagine that Paul Wirth will be taking a break from wisecracks long enough to cook some steaks out on the grill. Well, at least he’ll probably be cooking up some steaks. Be sure to pinch him if he’s not wearing green. He’ll love it. The show is $3. Later in the evening, Big Bluestem will play. I have no information on that band. Maybe they’re Irish.
Candy Foster and the Shades of Blue (guys, make it Green for the night) will play at Cowboy Monkey. Maybe Candy will dress like a leprechaun or something. Actually, I think that would be an excellent idea, as this picture in my head of
a leprechaun doing “the sprinkler” is pretty amazing. You know you want to, Candy. See if I’m right by ponying up $5 at the door for a 9:30 p.m. start.
On Wednesday night, the area’s longest-running monthly comedy night will pop back into the Iron Post. The Zoo Improv Comedy Troupe will hit the stage at 7 p.m., and will entertain you for only $4. Unconfirmed reports state that Iron Post owner Paul Wirth will perform a vagina monologue.
If you’re looking for more info on any of the shows listed here, or are looking for other shows, be sure to check out openingbands.com, which features a comprehensive show list and local music resource area. Listing your upcoming shows on the site is also the easiest way to get them listed in this column, though e-mail is also good.
Mike Ingram can be reached at