The Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, which from February 2002 to May 2003 doubled as the premier all-ages concert venue in the area, announced last week it would relocate from 218 W. Main to 202 S. Broadway. The new location is the old Urbana post office, constructed in 1914 and lavishly renovated in 1986. The move means IMC again can function as a concert venue; furthermore, it comes in time for the scheduled launch of WFRU 104.5 FM, “Radio Free Urbana,” in June. Audio and video production facilities and public-access Internet terminals also will be available.
Next Wednesday, Soma Ultralounge opens at 320 N. Neil in Champaign. Manager John Kosmopoulos promises to “bring the club style from big cities like Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.” The back room has a dance floor with a projection screen and DJ booth, with resident DJs J-Phlip and Mertz (Thursday) and Bozak (Friday and Saturday). This follows the lower-key opening last week of Tracks, an upscale sports bar and restaurant at 116. N. Chestnut in Champaign, where City of New Orleans once stood. Tracks also has a dance floor and disc jockey, with plans for bands in the beer garden this summer.
Nargile Lounge and Upanotch Records are proud to announce a new partnership. Lawrence Hardwick of Upanotch Records has purchased 50 percent of sanyankanta LLC dba Nargile, and Nargile general manager Garenne Bigby has acquired 25 percent of Upanotch Records. According to Bigby, this enables better booking and promoting opportunities. The entire Upanotch Records roster, which features “hot young prospects like Dre Bill, Identity, Lights Out and young Prez,” will appear at Nargile May 22-but beyond that, Bigby seeks to diversify the label with local rock. An in-house cd duplication service, Carohart, is also in store.
Rescheduled from April 7, Kate Hathaway shares the spotlight tonight at Aroma with Cleveland bard J. Scott Franklin. Show time is 8, and there is no cover. Free live, local music continues tomorrow at 5: Tommy G’s Bar and Grill hosts Tom Grassman, aka “The Krusher” from Sick Day, and Cowboy Monkey presents blues band The Impalas. At 9, The Canopy Club is home to a hip-hop showcase with Wylde Bunch, Melodic Scribes, Reese T, Ro Knew, Krukid, Al-Iteration, and Harsh; cover is $5. At 10, Colonel Rhodes headlines at Nargile with Shipwreck and Buffalo Saints. Also at 10, Jim Cole’s Traveling Country Road Show pays a visit to Cowboy Monkey; cover is $4. This is coincidental (but not ironic) because the original name for Colonel Rhodes was Country Rhodes.
Saturday, Music Among the Vines resumes at Alto Vineyards (central branch) on Duncan Road. The first installment for 2005 features the jazz of Jeff Helgesen and Rachael Lee. Show time is 7:30, and cover is $3. At 9, Third Stone plays out for the first time in five years and releases a DVD. The reunion is at The Canopy Club, and the revised lineup is: Third Stone, Sick Day, Pariah and Lidlifter. Cover is $5. At 10, husband-and-wife duo and hot commodity The Elanors rejoins The Wandering Sons and The New Kentucky Quarter, two Americana bands based in Madison, for a concert at Cowboy Monkey. Cover is $5. Also at 10, Mike ‘n Molly’s showcases The Opportunists, Camaro Rouge (ex-The Drapes), and The Frame.