I almost felt bad about calling the Taste of Champaign a shit-fest in my column last week, but then reports started coming in that McDonald’s had a space this year. Wow. Among the boasts of “seventeen new eateries” and “best Taste ever!” that I kept hearing about in the weeks leading up to the event, it turned out that everyone who actually said those words while at the Taste this year added the words “my ass” on the end. But things weren’t all bad, as some of the music (that wasn’t canceled due to rain) was great and a few decent food tents wedged themselves in among the national chains.
Does anyone remember Temple of Low Men? In the two-ish years since the band called it quits, I’ve heard “who?” more often than anything else when I’ve brought them up. For those who missed the boat, TOLM was the band to see when they were active. Their Cover Up sets were always hugely anticipated, and the best (Stone Temple Pilots, Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine) remain as reminders of Cover Up sets done right. The members have all moved on to new adventures – lead singer Brandon T. Washington plays solo shows and fronts Beat Kitchen having also gotten his teaching certificate and a teaching gig; guitarist Anthony Gravino moved to Chicago and has played in several bands while also getting his own studio going (where the new elsinore EP was recorded); drummer Ian Shepherd moved to Des Moines where he continues to be asked to drum for anyone who sees him in action; bassist Josh Walden still plays bass for damn near everyone in town including Jazz Sandwich; and guitarist Andy Lund is living the good life as a rep for Taylor Guitars in San Diego, Calif. A new album that was in the works when the band dissolved is still, sadly, unfinished. The two CDs that the band did issue can still be found at Borders. For me, there has never been another local band that compelled me to rock out so furiously at the front of the stage. Check out myspace.com/templeoflowmen to hear a few songs.
The reason for all of that information is that TOLM drummer Ian Shepherd is the new drummer of popular Midwest band The Nadas, and they will be making a tour stop at Cowboy Monkey, 6 E. Taylor St., tonight. Not only that, but opening the show will be Brandon T. Washington and Ian Shepherd in a little throwback set. Cover charge is $5, and the show will start at 10 p.m. – don’t miss it.
Darrin Drda, the folkie that everyone loves to love, has returned to Champaign for the summer from his new home in Oakland. He will offer up his humorous and lefty songs for your consideration tonight at Aroma CafÇ, 118 N. Neil St., at 8 p.m. Also tonight, Jazz Sandwich will make a return (including a heartfelt tribute to Bob Barker) with a show at the Iron Post, 120 S. Race St., at 8 p.m.
Social Distortion will play on Friday at the Canopy Club, 708 S. Goodwin., and that is the big story of the night – but I’ll let someone else handle that. Instead, let us turn our attention to the benefit show for Invisible Children that’s happening at Cowboy Monkey. Local (and hopefully about to be nationally known) rapper Krukid has done a phenomenal job of getting the word out on this show. He will perform at the show along with DJ Delayney, Ryan Groff, and Larry Gates. Other special guests are rumored. The artists are coming together for a great cause that happens to be close to Krukid’s heart. Invisible Children is both a group and a movie having to do with the plight of child soldiers in northern Uganda. Go to invisiblechildren.com for more info on how you can make a difference, or hit up this show for only $5. Start time is around 10 p.m.
The streets of downtown Champaign will be alive with the sounds of the ’80s on Saturday as the Brat Pack will play a streetfest in the parking lot outside of Cowboy Monkey across from Merry Ann’s. The event will be all ages, meaning you can introduce the tykes to the crazy costumes and Journey covers that everyone knows and loves. It’s also free. You heard me. Free ’80s tunes. Go.
Also in the all-ages realm, but about as far away from ’80s tunes as you can get, the IMC (in the old post office in downtown Urbana) will host an all-ages punk show on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The show features bands Vexed Youth, Third Rate Heroes, Alleyway Sex (that just sounds all-ages!), Carbomb Lottery, and Outcast To Society (I feel for them). Cover is $5.
Mike Ingram loves to get e-mail about shows at email@example.com.