This Sunday, there will be a benefit for V-Day International at Cowboy Monkey. The group raises money for local charities which help women and children who are victims of rape, abuse and domestic violence. This year, several great acts have donated their time to be a part of the cause. Announced for Sunday’s show: Pulsar47, Casados, Mad Science Fair, Watery Domestic, HypnoMusicCorp, Coco Coca and The Pat Mustain Band. This is a great lineup that spans several genres, so on top of supporting an excellent cause, you also get to see a great show. Three of the bands were part of this year’s Great Cover Up, so you might even see some encore performances. Check out www.vdayuiuc.com for more info.
Speaking of benefits, the tribute to Paul Martin last week was a great event. Sadly, the date had to be moved to the Monday after my column had already been turned in (saying that it was Tuesday), but the word got around. Thanks to everyone who attended.
Tonight (Thursday) there are plenty of shows worth checking out should you decide to brave the cold. At 7 p.m. at the Iron Post, $2 will get you two U of I jazz combos. At 8 p.m. you can catch a Courtyard CafÇ show with Triple Whip, Coco Coca, Sam Vicari and Watery Domestic for only $3. Zorba’s will be offering its weekly jazz showcase starting at 9:30 p.m., this week featuring Ear Doctor. A block away at 10 p.m., Larry Gates will fire up three sets of covers and originals at Bar Louie (no cover). Downtown Champaign’s Cowboy Monkey hosts funk-rock band Brother Embassy (a veritable cornucopia of culture), with the Duke of Uke and a late set from rapper Krukid. Showtime is 10 p.m., with a $5 cover.
Friday features the war of the jazz happy hours, as the Iron Post hosts the Jeff Helgesen Quintet, while Cowboy Monkey hosts the New Orleans Jazz Machine. Both places are great for happy hour, and the music is tasty. Oh, but wait, the Iron Post set starts at 5 p.m., while Cowboy Monkey doesn’t start until 5:30 p.m. Take that, Cowboy Monkey! Earliness right at ya!
For those wanting to see a little less jazz and a little more of a guy in black singing low like it’s his job (hey, wait, it is!), you can check out Man In Black, a Johnny Cash tribute group, at the Canopy Club. And it’s only $10 for a whole night of Cash covers. The show starts at 7 p.m.
Radio listeners can tune into 90.1 WEFT at 6 p.m. for Dave Witzany’s weekly show about upcoming shows in the CU area. This week he’ll have a guest in Dennis Stroughmatt, who will talk about Cajun, Zydeco and Creole music, and also about his show at the Iron Post later in the evening. If you’re in the downtown area and want to stop into the station to catch a possible live performance, Dave surely won’t mind. The station is on Market Street, just north of the Mike ‘n Molly’s beer garden.
At the Highdive, The Bottle Rockets (Bloodshot Records) will play with The Tractor Kings and the Delta Kings. The Bottle Rockets may have to have a name change to fit in. Cover is $12, and the show begins at 9 p.m.
The best band in the country with a Biz Markie cover in its back pocket, Tally Hall, will return to Champaign yet again on Saturday. This time the band will hit the Courtyard CafÇ stage, carrying only a $7 cover. I’ve mentioned the Biz Markie cover before, and the last time the band was here they even opened with a full-length cover of “Freebird” (take that, “Freebird” request guy!), but the band’s originals really are quite good. They also tend to be much better in a live setting than on record, I think. The harmonies are great, and the humorous bits are done well. If you haven’t seen this band yet, do so soon. This might be your last chance to do so at such a low price, as placement in shows like The OC and performances on late-night shows are quickly rocketing the guys to the next level.
Also on Saturday, DJ Dan the Automator (Gorillaz) will do a set at the Highdive. The show is sponsored by Bacardi, which means tons of free ticket giveaways, so keep an eye out. A late set by DJ Tim Williams will follow.
I already mentioned Sunday’s V-Day Benefit, but there will also be a new installment of Jane Boxall’s 7-9 Sundays series at the Iron Post. This week’s show features Jane’s band (Triple Whip), plus Ryan Groff (of elsinore) and Nonagon. Three very different acts in two hours, and for only $3.50, it’s a pretty cool idea.
Sundays also have another new series, this time at the Canopy Club, where New Sound Sundays will offer three new bands for only $1. This week’s show features Brilliance In A Bun, Dirty Nick and the Bandits and Turning Down Today. Look for drink specials as well. Check out www.canopyclub.com for more info.
As I’m sure someone else will cover Guster/Mason Jennings, I’ll just say that if you’re as tired as I am of shows like that, you can leave your Abercrombie visor and COLLEGE shirt at home and head to the Iron Post to catch some excellent jazz. Jazz, though, isn’t a broad enough word to cover all that Jazz Sandwich does. Take some of the area’s very best musicians and sit them on a stage together to play jazz songs, along with TV themes and anything else that they can think of, and you’ve got Jazz Sandwich. The band goes on at 9 p.m. and the cover is $3, which is ridiculously cheap. And don’t just drink water, huh? At least buy a Coke or some fries.
Mike Ingram (sic) can be reached at email@example.com.