Record stores — not just for old people!

You are faced with an epic choice tonight if you’re looking to catch a live show. On one hand, you’ve got a four-band bill at the Highdive featuring locals Curb Service (remember Lorenzo Goetz? Yeah, the guy from that) and Sangamon (the band fronted by campus favorite Piano Man) in the first and second slots, respectively. Touring in from NYC, Belikos will play third with their interesting blend of hip-hop and funk with semi-local band Organic Flow holding down the closing spot. The show is $5 and offers a wide array of musical styles. It kicks off at 9:30 p.m.
On the other hand, there is a Michael Jackson tribute act playing at the Canopy Club. My guess is that even a Michael Jackson tribute band could put on a better show than you’d currently see from the king himself (not to discredit his amazing body of work in any way), so what the hell — it might be worth the $10. 9 p.m. start.
Tall Tale is a band that has come a long way in a very short amount of time. Last year at this time, dual frontladies Tracey and Tricia were playing acoustic shows and looking around for possible band members. Now the group has a fully fleshed out sound with a strong rhythm section and a handful of very catchy pop songs that shine most when the girls stretch out with harmonies. The band will be playing on Friday as part of the oft-publicized Pygmalion ramp-up shows at Urban Outfitters. The show is free and will begin at 6 p.m. with a set from Hathaways.
Wednesdays have become littered with residencies this fall with salsa night with DJ Bris at Cowboy Monkey, Ben and Zach at the Canopy Club, DJ LEGTWO (Larry Gates) at Boltini Lounge and this columnist spinning 90s jams at Soma as DJ mingram. But there is a different kind of thing happening at (of all places) the Senator’s Pub in Savoy. Every Wednesday from 8 to 11:30 p.m. you can catch Dawna Nelson (one of the premier female singers in the area) alongside the Bo Jackson of local music, Josh Quirk (known as the fantastic drummer behind the Brat Pack, Angie Heaton and many others — but here playing the guitar). The duo often morphs into a trio or better as Dawna and Josh (under the name Rocket Science) have many talented friends. This show (along with the other residencies mentioned in this paragraph) is free. You can find more information on these (and almost every other local show) by heading to and clicking the “shows” link. Another great source is
Generally, I like to devote a column at the beginning of each school year to local record stores in order to point new (and old) students in the right direction regarding what places stock certain items and really just to emphasize that there are several really great local places that will serve you much better than big box stores, often for relatively similar prices. I’m going to split it up this year and toss one or two at you each week. Up first, Record Swap.
Record Swap has a storied history in Champaign-Urbana, having survived several moves before landing at its current location at 114 E. University Ave. in Champaign. The current space (just off-campus at University and First) has the best layout of the locations that I can remember with a long floor plan dominated by record bins. Vinyl is the big plus here as owner Bob Deiner has a ridiculous collection. Pricing for the main floor records might seem higher than similar stock at other shops, but generally, with Bob’s stuff, he’s not trying to pass off a scuffy, skippy record at too high a cost. For those looking for a more economical shopping experience with vinyl, there is an entire second floor filled with dollar bins (where you can likely find every Journey record ever pressed). As far as other media is concerned, there are plenty of used CDs, some random local CDs and used DVDs and cassettes (a format enjoying a slight resurgence of its own). New stuff isn’t much Record Swap’s style, so don’t go in expecting to find whatever crap you hear on Q96. Like most places these days, Record Swap has a Web site (, but this one is horribly outdated (including the store’s previous address), so don’t go there looking for much. Instead, pop into the store, and don’t worry if Bob is a little gruff — he takes a bit to warm up to people. Probably has something to do with living through the worst time to be a record store owner.

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