The best karaoke in the land turns three years old tonight at Cowboy Monkey. Live Karaoke Band (a band consisting of members from the Brat Pack and X-Krush) is actually a real band that you can get up and sing with. No more crappy recordings, bouncy balls over words on a screen, or annoying karaoke DJs who sing for half the night. At this karaoke night, you can actually get up in front of a real band. For their third anniversary, band members are planning special festivities and possible contests. Check out livekaraokeband.com for more info and a song list. The show will start at 10 p.m., and you’ll want to get there early to sign up.
Elsewhere tonight, there are other good shows to hit up. At the Canopy Club, an early show (7 p.m.) will consist of Watery Domestic, along with The August and Dan Hubbard. Then later (10 p.m.), popular band Treologic will take the stage along with the J. Davis Trio. The weekly jazz night at Zorba’s will feature the Damon Short Quintet, and over at Bar Louie, Larry Gates (of Lorenzo Goetz) will mix some originals into three sets of cover tunes.
Friday is Unofficial, which means there will be a ridiculous amount of stupid shit happening all over campus. For instance, Kayla Brown and I will be playing not one, but two different shows at Bar Louie (the first starting at an amazing 11 a.m.). Will people be able to skirt all of the new restrictions put into place in order to get completely wasted? Somehow, I think they will. Oh, and I know absolutely no Irish music. Sorry.
Speaking of Irish music, it really seems to be lacking on Friday. That’s okay, though, as the shows that are happening are still good. The ever-popular Desafinado will fill Cowboy Monkey with the gentle sound of Latin Bossa Nova for happy hour. Down at the Savoy Rec Center, a show spearheaded by Mad Mardigan bassist Rory Grennan will attempt to bring original, local music to the underage crowd. The lineup includes Maximo, The Signal, Bastion and Mad Mardigan (a blues-tinged rock trio). The cover is $5-$7, and the event is all ages.
Santa is back and headlining a Canopy Club show Friday, sharing the stage with The Squares, Company of Thieves and Carl Hauck. The ladies love Santa, so guys, get out there.
Down the road and into downtown Urbana, you’ll find the Tractor Kings with New Ruins, The Kyle Sowashes and Tunnels. The Tractor Kings have been on fire lately, putting on outstanding live shows and leaving concert goers wondering when a new record will appear. According to band members, it’s not too far off. It better not be. A band that does have a new CD out is New Ruins, and it seems to be a favorite of just about everyone in town. Tunnels is a new project from Steve Ucherek (The Living Blue) and Ben Ucherek (The Beauty Shop).
Saturday brings the Red Hot Chili Peppers back to town. I saw them with Foo Fighters and Muse the last time around, and the other two bands were more exciting to me. I have a feeling that this will be the case this time, as well, with Gnarls Barkley in the opening slot. The music from the Chili Peppers sounds great (how could it not with the players involved?), but Anthony’s voice is not something I enjoyed in a live setting. Cee Lo’s, however, is one of the best in music today, so the Gnarls set should be a treat.
Those looking for something a little less expensive on Saturday will find an excellent pair of bands at Cowboy Monkey. Matt Poss and the Wild Bunch have rocked CU on many occasions, and the Big Sky String Band is also very good. Stop in and enjoy some country-ish rocking.
The word from Europe is that the members of Headlights (along with Shipwreck’s John Owen) are having a blast. The band will be back soon, and playing an absolutely ridiculous show at the Courtyard CafÇ on March 10 with Margot and the Nuclear So & So’s (one of the best bands in the country, easily), Page France (high on the Seth Fein indie-o-meter), Canada and Gentleman Auction House. More on that show next week.
The Prairie Dogs, a favorite country band amongst music fans in the area, will play two gigs this weekend. On Friday they’ll play happy hour at the Iron Post (5 to 7 p.m.), and on Saturday they’ll play a lunch set at Strawberry Fields in Urbana (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.). The band specializes in classic country covers and features a banjo, upright bass, acoustic guitar and slide guitar. (Oh, and a coyote with light-up eyes).
The CU Local Music Awards Nominees will have been announced by the time this goes to press, meaning it’s time to hit up the Web site to cast your votes. A trip to the WPGU or Buzz site will link you to the right place. The awards ceremony will take place in April at the Highdive, and will feature several performances from nominees.
Mike ingram can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org