Early shows: more common than you’d think

Kicking off this week’s shows is Aroma Café’s acoustic series this Thursday. This week, the cozy coffee shop will host Lynn O’Brien and Jane Boxall, the latter somehow managing to squeeze a giant marimba somewhere into the space. This is another in the likely long list of shows the two ladies will play together, as they’ve become accustomed to collaborating during their sets. Boxall, the drummer for bands like Triple Whip and Tritone, shows a softer side in her mastery of the marimba. She has an ability that captivates even the most skeptical of the marimba’s ability to do so. O’Brien sticks a bit more traditionally to the keyboard, but her ability to grab hold of an audience is just as evident. She weaves words and melodies around intricately written piano parts, sounding like Rachael Yamagata if she were Joni Mitchell. The duo’s Aroma show starts at 8 p.m. tonight, is all-ages and is free.
If you’re looking for something a little more campus-friendly, you can drop by Zorba’s after 9:30 p.m. to catch CU Jazz Crusaders, or head to the Canopy Club to catch a tour stop from The Avett Brothers. Out of Concord, North Carolina, the band tours as a three piece (guitar/banjo/bass, with all three singing), with drums handled in pieces by the other members. Intricate harmonies and a folksy backbeat are the norm. Tickets are $15 in advance; showtime is 9 p.m. Be sure to check out myspace.com/theavettbrothers.
On Friday night, the Canopy Club offers another excellent show. This time, scene seniors The Beauty Shop will share the stage with some of the hottest new bands in town (Underpaid Packy and World’s First Flying Machine). The Alphabet People are set to open at 9 p.m., with the Beauty Shop playing third (of four), co-headlining with Underpaid Packy (you might remember them from some shows at that awful Bar Louie place that royally blew in Champaign). The show starts at 9 p.m. Get there before 10 p.m. and pay $5 instead of $7!
Mike ‘n Molly’s isn’t playing the sliding cover charge game on Friday. Instead, Murph is offering a kickass indie hip-hop show for $3, which features Eureka Brown, Cornbread, Tina Sparkle, and Kristov’s Agenda. MnM’s is proving to once again be a great place to catch a show, stepping it up after the closing of Cowboy Monkey. Sadly, MnM’s is 21+, so you’ll have to find another place to go if you’re in that awkward 19-20 range where you can get into most bars but can’t drink. 9 p.m. start for the show.
Most musicians in the area ­— drummers especially ­— have a certain reverence for Ian Shepherd. Whether you like to talk about the time you saw him play the sickest fill with only one stick or if you’ve seen his acting work in some of CU’s best local films, one thing is certain: the area took a double hit when he and his wife (dependable news anchor Trisha Shepherd) lit out of town. But our loss was the gain of a bustling Des Moines music scene. Popular touring band The Nadas snatched Ian right up, and now he rolls around with them in their motorhome, playing to huge crowds all over the country. That motorhome will pull into Champaign on Saturday as the Nadas are set to play an early show at the Highdive alongside Elsinore. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., with Shepherd and the Nadas on first. They will have copies of their new record, The Ghosts Inside These Halls, which features Ian in the drummer’s throne. Elsinore doesn’t have a new album to sell you yet, but you’ll be able to hear some of the songs slated to be on the record that will see its release sometime this year. $7 will get you in the door and again, the show is EARLY. If you show up at 10 p.m., expect crazy dancing and not indie rock.
The Duke of Uke is back in action! He will bring his delightful show to the masses once more with a show at the Canopy Club on Wednesday night, opening for a solid lineup of Everthus the Deadbeats (the third appearance in CU for the Standard Recording Company freak-pop act), Grampall Jookabox, and Elsinore’s Ryan Groff in a secretive, special set. This show is also early (this time starting at 6:30 p.m.), which means plenty of time to go out afterwards (or stay and salsa in the big room!). It’ll only take $5 to get in.

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