Let me start by saying that my column last week was sadly written before the Pygmalion finale show at the Iron Post, which meant that I wasn’t able to devote any space to how amazing Erin Fein’s (of Headlights) short set was. In two songs, which was unfortunately the entire length of the set, she knocked me flat. Make no mistake, Erin Fein is at the top of her game as a songwriter right now, and it is an absolute pleasure to count her as one of our local talents. You can find video of those two songs on the Web at http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=laidbackliam. There are also several other videos from that night and others, taken by your friendly neighborhood bad dancer, Liam O’Sullivan. I would estimate that a good half of the plays for Erin’s videos are mine. If you’ve never seen or heard Headlights, do yourself a gigantic favor and head to the Courtyard Cafe this Saturday night to see one of the area’s finest bands – more on that in a moment. And also, it was ridiculously nice of Paul Wirth at the Iron Post to allow us to serve free beer at his place. Stop by and have a beer sometime. Just don’t ask for a Zima.
You know what a lot of people still don’t know? That Zorba’s, the outstanding gyro place on Green Street on campus, hosts live jazz on Thursday nights. Zorba’s has long been a favorite of CU eaters (myself included), and if you’ve never been, tonight is the perfect night to go. They charge a measly $3, which helps pay the band, and they serve food a little later than usual. Tonight you’ll find Jeff Helgesen’s Jazz Mayhem tearing it up from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Go get a gyro and enjoy some great jazz.
Friday will be an interesting day for me. I’ll be playing a show at Kam’s (yes, Kam’s) with my cohort Kayla Brown. Over the course of four hours (from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.), our secret will be spilled. We know an atrocious amount of cover songs. As much as we try to hide it, we love ’80s music. On most weekends, we slip away to towns like Danville, Hoopeston, Catlin and the like, to play hours of covers for chatty crowds. And now that show is coming home to CU, and I think it’s even free! Come for the spectacle, stay for the Journey covers. Plus, a happy hour set means you can head out after to see a much better show! Like Everclear! Okay, well, not Everclear. We’re better than them, at least. But you get the idea.
My suggestion would be to head over to Cowboy Monkey to see the Living Blue, Catfish Haven, and The Silent Years (10 p.m., $5). The Living Blue (formerly the Blackouts) have long been a favorite of mine, and Catfish Haven is a fantastic live band. The Silent Years are a mystery to me, but their Myspace page has me excited. Hey, Steve, play “Open Casket Access,” huh?
Saturday night, at the most inaccessible venue in town, there is a fantastic show. The problem with having a good booking agent over at the Courtyard Cafe (in the Illini Union) is that there are suddenly a ton of shows that you want to attend at a venue that doesn’t sell or allow alcohol, has a coffee shop that closes at inexplicable times, and has no parking. You shouldn’t let these annoyances keep you from Saturday’s show. Headlights – after a huge set at Pygmalion, and fresh off of a big tour and gearing up for another – will lay some knowledge upon the Courtyard. They play in the fourth of five slots, just before Viva Voce. The third band, Silversun Pickups, has a new album that I’ve been listening to a ton. Local band Shipwreck, one of my favorite locals of late, will play first, followed by the Kingdom. For only $7 ($5 with UIUC ID), this show is just about perfect. Just pull onto Mathews Street just to the east of the Union and hope that one of the open spaces you see hasn’t been bagged by the mysterious meter gnomes that move the bags around every night. The show starts at 8 p.m. Monday night the Canopy Club hosts
Pulsar 47. Last week I mentioned them as one of the highlights of the Pygmalion Fest. It’s hard to explain how good the band is, layered with keys, strings, drums, bells and several guitars. This is a band to see now, for sure. The music is instrumental in the best sense of the word, lush and moving. This show the band will officially welcome violin player Rachel Wittrig, the younger sister of cello player Emerson Aaron Wittrig, to the fold (bringing the number of members to a nice-looking nine). Also on the bill are Caspian, Actors and Actresses and new local group Post Historic (9 p.m., $5).
Tuesday begins a new month of Rehearsal Space shows at the Canopy Club. This month: elsinore. But, with so many other great shows being booked on Tuesdays at Canopy this month, the band looks to only be playing two free shows, on the 10th and the 24th. Be sure to get out there early (9 p.m.!) and start slamming drinks early. Word on the street is that $2 Long Islands are back! Rehearsal space, the brainchild of Seth Fein (okay, he stole it from Schubas, but whatever), puts the audience right into a band-practice-like environment. In the past, elsinore has stopped in the middle of songs to work on harmonies. It’s a fun experience, and it’s free! Go check it out.
Coming soon: Beirut plays the IMC (10/13), The Appleseed Cast at Canopy (10/17), the return of U of Idol at Canopy! (10/18), Lovedrug at the IMC (10/27).
Mike Ingram lives in downtown Champaign, where he gets asked for two dollars all the time. Seth Fein once kissed him right on the mouth. He’s a booking agent and adequate musician, and is also the Local Music Director for 90.1 WEFT, where he books WEFT Sessions and puts colorful tape on CDs. His diet needs to start consisting of more than donuts from Curtis Orchard and dumplings from the Esquire. Contact him at email@example.com.