Local Artists Fight for Glory in Cage Match

Tonight marks the third occurrence of the CU Music Awards, held at the Highdive in downtown Champaign. This publication has been running info on all of the nominees over the last month, and WPGU 107.1 FM has also been introducing listeners to the local bands and musicians nominated. Hopefully, this onslaught of media has turned you on to a new band or two, maybe meaning you’ll go check out a live show soon. Or, maybe it has just made you realize that there’s a huge local music scene here that deserves a little attention. Really, that’s the best part about this whole ordeal. Some artists don’t like the idea of “competing” against their peers, while others might even take it too seriously. Mainly, most realize that this is just a way to get together and applaud each other while getting tons of free publicity and making the best of it.

Tonight’s awards show will feature several live performances spanning genres like metal, industrial, jazz, experimental and folk. A new band full of familiar faces, Tritone shredded onto the scene this year, claiming to be the world’s third most evil band. A leather-clad slot at the Cover Up as Judas Priest backed up the claim. Another new band full of people you’ve seen playing in pretty much every other band ever, Jazz Sandwich, left friends and jazz fans wondering why the hell it took these guys so long to get their shit together and start a band. Not yet ready to get his shit together and start a band (okay, he doesn’t really need one) is one-man-band Coco Coca, who hits the stage with guitars and keys and all sorts of stuff to create a unique set. Having kissed their drum machine goodbye, trading it in for a shiny new, real drummer, i:scintilla now pack much more of a punch live. Finding a home on a European record label and hitting the road on tour, the band has picked up a strong fan base. Folk fans in CU have a new band to follow in the form of Casados, a band built around the songs and voice of Nic Dillon. They’ll be making a quick stop in town during a nationwide tour to play the awards. Also in the mix for the evening is DJ LEGTWO, better known as Larry Gates, the funny-hat wearing leader of Lorenzo Goetz.

The awards are sure to be a blast again this year. Will Coulter get wasted and accost someone in the bathroom? Will some take a cue from Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls and break up an award to be scattered amongst all the musicians? Will the lifetime achievement award go to Don Gerard for all his years of being such a positive force in the scene? Will someone puke all over a table and have to be carried out of the bar? Well, for only $5, you can find out for yourself. Witness the local music scene in all its glory – or chaos – with your own eyes. The show kicks off at 9 p.m., and will carry on late into the night.

Fans of all things awesome will be happy to know that CU has an Awesomefest, and that it’s happening this Friday night. The Independent Media Center in downtown Urbana will host six bands at an economical $5 and it’s a place where you can bring in your own alcoholic beverages (only if you’re of age, of course). All ages are welcome for the show, though. Local awesome bands Roberta Sparrow and Johnnyork will play alongside the Blue Addictions, Fire of 1000 Suns, Deconstructing Jim and Icelandic Bandits. Showtime is 7 p.m.

Across the aisle, Cowboy Monkey will host Spectacularfest, a Seth Fein’s Nicodemus Agency joint, featuring Headlights, Page France and Shipwreck. When asked about the title for the night, Headlights drummer Brett Sanderson’s beard replied that there was a fear that the Awesomefest happening across town would lure people in with its awesome name; And so, Spectacularfest was born. Page France is the cat’s pajamas, according to anyone who’s anyone in the indie world, and is sharing the stage with Headlights on tour. Headlights has a new tour EP with a name that would run until the end of my column (and let’s face it, it would also be more interesting than my column). The EP features live versions of several songs, performed at various radio station stops during a nationwide tour, including an unreleased tune from the band’s days as Orphans. You’ll be able to pick up a copy of the EP at Friday’s show, which starts at 10 p.m. and carries a $7 cover that is subject to change. What does that mean? No idea. But show guru Seth Fein has assured the Revue that the show will not be more than $36. So, there’s that.

Saturday night features a show from local garage-rock outfit The Living Blue at the Canopy Club. A rumor involving certain band members and their involvement in a pinup calendar featuring skinny boys in girls jeans seems to be false, but you can never be sure with these guys. They’ll share the stage with the Changes, Skybox and Butterfly Assassins. Early show – 8 p.m. $7.

Over at the Iron Post, where everybody knows your name, Casados will make another appearance before heading back out on tour. This time they’ll team up with Lynn O’Brien. 9 p.m., $5.

Mike Ingram, CU music guru, can be reached at forgottenwords@gmail.com.

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