Thanks to contributions from viewers like you, last week’s benefit show for the Paul Martin Memorial Fund was a success. The night’s best surprise was the inclusion of Living Blue singer Steve Ucherek (on drums), to the set from Erin Fein and Tristan Wraight. The set of songs both new and old (including some songs not debuted with Headlights yet) was an excellent part of a generally great night of music. Seeing the duo break out of their comfort zone and still put on such a great show was very cool. Fresh from a few days in the studio, elsinore debuted some new arrangements with drummer Dave “Piledriver” Pride on a regular drum kit. Cameron McGill made a rare solo appearance with his usual brand of well-written songs, while his friend Leslie Stevens was a welcome surprise. A good cause got a boost, and that was the idea, so good work CU.

San Diego, CA, native Steve Poltz will make a tour stop in CU tonight (Thursday) at Cowboy Monkey. A quick listen to the songs on reveals a quirky, sometimes funny songwriter – a bit like if the Jayhawks or Son Volt had a funnier lead singer. Poltz is on a nationwide tour and will call Champaign his home for the night, and if we’re sticking to this ridiculous theme, I guess that will make opener Kayla Brown, his wife for the evening – or, at least, his live-in girlfriend. Kayla will open with a set mostly comprised of songs that have been officially debuted with her band Darling Disarm, though some other surprises might be in store. Showtime is 10 p.m., and the cover is $7.

Neither nor the Canopy Club’s own Web site has a time listed for tonight’s Corn Desert Ramblers show, but let’s take a guess at 10 p.m. – though a call to the bar might give you a better idea. Does everyone in town know that the Canopy officially has food again? I had no idea. Having recently opened Manolo’s Pizza on the Oregon St. side of the building for carry out and delivery service, the joint also serves pizza and a huge-ass array of empanadas to Canopy Club patrons. Look for coupons scattered all around campus.

Thursday is, of course, the usual night for Aroma CafÇ to shine as a local music spot. The weekly “Acoustic at Aroma” series will bring Grass Roots Revival to you this week. The show starts at 8 p.m., and is free. Tips are awesome, though.

Friday night the Highdive will be bursting at the seams with loudness, as two of CU’s metal/hard rock giants will both try to fit on the same bill. The show will serve as a release date for Dropsixx’s new EP (that I assume has a title, but I can’t find it anywhere). Sharing the stage for the night is the cape-wearing trio Tritone, the metaphorical codpiece to Champaign’s music scene. Will your ears survive the night? No, it has been written that they will not. But it will be worth it. 9:30 p.m., $5. None Taken opens the show.

Also on Friday night, the Canopy Club will get an early start (8 p.m.) for a marathon show featuring Coco Coca, Mit’n, Sam Vicari, the International Theatre of War, Clock Hands Strangle and Jazz To Moon Base 2 – for only $5. Well, that is if you get there before 10 p.m. to avoid the $2 bump. So get there early and actually catch some new bands, huh?

I’m sad to say that I will be out of town on Saturday, because there is a great show at the Canopy Club. For those who have never seen the dynamic duo called the Lymbyc Systym, now is your chance. The brothers from Arizona make music as a pair that is just ridiculous. Pretend you’re camping at Bonnaroo and score some hallucinogens for the evening – it’ll make it even better. For this tour stop, the band will play with Shipwreck – local favorites in the spacey rock genre who should have a new EP coming soon if my calculations are correct. Watery Domestic and Hypno Music Corp will also lend a hand. 8 p.m., $5.

Scarf-wearing trendsetter Larry Gates will be back in action again this weekend. You may remember him from such films as No Way Out, the touching story of Danville mall employees, or Silly Hats and You: A Guide To Hip Headwear. Now you can catch the former Lorenzo Goetz frontman opening for Bottle of Justus at Cowboy Monkey on Saturday. 10:30 p.m., $5.

Maserati, the Georgia band last seen in CU at Pygmalion Fest 2005 (featuring Tristan Wraight on guitar), will once again bring their instrumental onslaught to us on Wednesday night. Cowboy Monkey has put together a monster bill to play alongside them: The Tractor Kings, The Beauty Shop and The Chemicals. At only $7, it might be the most band for your buck for the entire week. Don’t miss this one. 9:30 p.m.

Mike Ingram lives in Champaign, where he is looking for a house. It is a shitty process. You can reach him at

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