Shows! And more shows!

Last week, I mentioned Tim Fite and my excitement at his return to CU. A couple of years back, Tim played a show at Cowboy Monkey to a handful of people and absolutely killed it. While playing live onstage, there was also a video screen behind him featuring Fite sitting in a wheelchair and playing other various instruments heard on the looped tracks. It was witty and funny, and the songs were solid. The record was OK, but the live show was an absolute blast, and I was sad that the crowd I was a part of was so small. Hopefully this time, opening for Man Man, things will have changed a little. Check out the show tonight at the Canopy Club at 9 p.m. ($12/$14).
If you’re not up for dropping that kind of cash but still want to hang out somewhere that you can try to talk loudly over live music, check out Cowboy Monkey, where you’ll find World’s First Flying Machine, Common Loon and Hathaways, starting at 9:30 p.m. ($5). Now that the cold weather has begun to settle in, and the beer garden has calmed down, Cowboy Monkey is picking it back up with live music. Look for shows mainly Thursday through Saturday, along with Tuesday open-mic night and Wednesday salsa (with DJ Bris).
Thursday is a popular one, it seems. Mike ‘n Molly’s is also trotting out some great bands as Santa continues its march on downtown Champaign, teaming up with Mordechai in the Mirror (hopefully you caught their recent CD release show to snag the disc for free), Kirkland and Hark the Herald. $5, 8 p.m.
The Clark Bar (nee Nargile, nee Ruby’s) is continuing with infrequent live music, this Friday hosting The Impalas (featuring Dawna Nelson). The show begins at 9 p.m., and there is no cover charge. The Impalas have a storied past, featuring many of CU’s best and brightest musicians over the years. The current lineup features a back-and-forth between the tasteful blues riffs of Bruce “Bruiser” Rummenie and the strong pipes of Nelson.
Cory Chisel has had a whirlwind year, involving getting signed to a major label and skipping around the country to play shows with artists such as Jackson Browne and The Roots. He’ll return to CU this Saturday with the Wandering Sons, playing an early (7 p.m.) show for $10 (in advance, $12 the day of the show). Some new material is now out in the form of the Cabin Ghosts EP, with some of those tracks available to preview at
Another campus choice for those on a budget (especially with a UIUC ID) is the Courtyard Café in the Illini Union. What this place lacks in common venue perks such as parking and alcohol and stages that aren’t measured from the floor in inches is made up for by enthusiastic student booking personnel on the hunt for cool bills. On Saturday night at 8 p.m., the Courtyard will offer up a show featuring fantastic DeKalb outfit Light Pollution in the headlining position. Ryan Groff of Elsinore will perform just ahead of LP, while touring bands Greycoats (Minneapolis) and Loquat (San Francisco) will kick things off. Cover for this show is $5 unless you’re packing your ID (which will get you down to $3).
Texas indie rockers (and Touch and Go Records band) The New Year will stop at the Highdive on Sunday as part of a ramp-up tour before heading over to Europe for three weeks (much like Headlights). The band is the brainchild of Matt and Bubba Kandane, once the might behind the band Bedhead. The infectious writing continues with The New Year, who you’ll find at the Highdive alongside Oklahoma City band The Uglysuit (also about to hit Europe) and locals Sunset Stallion.
And then there’s GWAR. At the Canopy Club. On a Wednesday. Awesome.
Keep an eye out next Thursday for more info on the Cowboy Monkey show featuring Elsinore, Post Historic and Chicago outfit Oh My God, which now features former CU musician (Temple of Low Men) and current Chicago recording engineer Anthony Gravino.
I made my first official trip of the fall to Curtis Orchard last weekend because I wanted some tiny pumpkins. And apple donuts. I had to stand in a long line for the donuts (totally worth it), only to find once I arrived at the donut station that I was supposed to have paid for them already at the register. Argh. I looked in vain for a sign of some sort. Negative. Don’t waste 15 minutes like I did. Now you know the secret to getting donuts more quickly. Also, don’t bother with the corn maze at this point as it is already in shambles (and featuring incredibly short corn in the places that haven’t been trampled by idiots).

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