Students return, townies weep

As students redescend upon campus, the shows begin to return to the area between Lincoln and First streets. On top of the Canopy Club, which is in full back-to-school mode with a series of shows meant to introduce new faces to the best and brightest of local bands, Urban Outfitters has also emerged as a show space. The trendy spot is currently running a series of Pygmalion Music Festival pre-parties; Elsinore rocked it last Sunday, and Headlights will roll in this Friday for a 6 p.m. show. The event is free, and if you find yourself wondering, “Who the hell is Headlights?”, well, you need to educate yourself very quickly. You’ll be hearing a lot about them over the course of the year, so get on the train early. Swing by for a little preview.
Thursday at Canopy, World’s First Flying Machine’s brand of quirky freak-pop will anchor, along with the harmony-laden pop goodness from the (lovely) ladies of Tall Tale. Lovely continues to be the theme of the evening once you add Sunset Stallion to the mix, along with Common Loon, whose Matthew Campbell used to sport the loveliest of mustaches. $5 is seriously a steal. 9 p.m. start, and you can get into the Canopy Club even if you’re 18!
“But, I’ve already been to the Canopy Club, Mike, and I’m wanting to check out another club — maybe in downtown Champaign or something.” Alright, fine. Cowboy Monkey in downtown Champaign may be just a husk of what it used to be, offering not much in the realm of live music, but a little light peeks through Thursdays when the joint offers up shows that are — get this — free. This week’s show has the delightful benefit of being genre crazy, as the bass-heavy rock onslaught Scurvine, the rough-edged pop smarts of Chemicals and the brilliant lyrical flow of Krukid all conspire under one roof to rock your face. 11 p.m. start!
Aroma Café’s long-standing Thursday night music series will go on official hiatus after this week’s show (which will feature Matt Turino and Victore Towle) as owner Lissette Wells plans to take some time to reorganize the music situation there.
Live Karaoke Band (which is what it sounds like — you sing right up there with a live band) will begin melting faces at 8 p.m. in the beer garden of Mike ‘n Molly’s. Expect a $5 cover and lots of terribly awesome singing (which you can be a part of!) Check out for a song list!
This week is also as good a time as any to familiarize yourself with how cool and shitty at the same time the Illini Union Courtyard Café can be. It faces insurmountable odds, and yet the place still comes through with some pretty great shows sometimes. For instance, Headlights (there they are again) will act as direct support to one of my very favorite bands, Milwaukee’s Maritime, this Saturday night. Maritime has made many stops in CU over its career as critical darling to the indie media, and while I don’t think they open shows with “The Window Is the Door” these days, one can hope. But wait, there’s more! Santa (the local band, not the mythical icon — a collection of jolly boys, not the one jolly dude) have nabbed themselves the opening slot. Arrive promptly at 9 p.m. to catch a set from one of the most popular bands on campus. Word on the street (where you won’t find any parking) is that this show is free!

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