Local musicians are leaving us left and right these days. We’ll soon be losing Darrin Drda, the singer/songwriter behind the band Theory of Everything, to San Francisco. Drda hosted a going-away party/show at the IMC last Thursday (which was announced after my deadline last week, much to my dismay), with performances from Brother Embassy, Brandon T. Washington (Temple of Low Men, Beat Kitchen), Ryan Groff (elsinore), Kayla Brown, Larry Gates (Lorenzo Goetz), Lindsey Markel (Baez!) and Drda himself. It was a great night that hinted a lot as to the camaraderie that exists amongst musicians in this community. It’s easy to forget how connected everyone is in the music scene, and it was clear that night just how much of an impact Darrin has had on everyone. My first memory of him was seeing him at an open mic years ago, and the only thing that I really remember is thinking, “Wow, that guy’s tall and skinny.” I know, that’s some hard-hitting journalism right there. Over the years, Darrin has grown into quite the political songwriter, with songs like “Hug A Republican,” “Democrazy!” and “Deathmobile.” It’s possible you’ve heard his song “White Guys with Guitars” on the radio or at Cowboy Monkey on Mondays, where it has become an open mic staple. The song appears on the recently released Loveway album, which can be found at Borders and Exile on Main Street. The scene will lose quite the artist when he leaves later this month. And sure, it seems silly for him to move all the way to California when it’s going to be time for him to move to a retirement community in Florida so soon, but hey, San Francisco’s nicer than Champaign. While there are no scheduled shows remaining, you can still head over to myspace.com/darrindrda to check out some tunes and add a new friend to your list. He’s a good one to have.
Also departing shortly is Jesse “Snake Snake” Greenlee. Jesse is the drummer for the band Lorenzo Goetz, and has in the past worked with Synesthesia, Adam Wolfe and many others. He teaches drums/percussion at Skins-n-Tins, and he bears a striking resemblance to Johnny Depp. The addition of Jesse to the Lorenzo Goetz lineup in 2004 proved to be the ingredient that the band needed to solidify its sound and start making its way around the country. He brought a new energy and style to the band that it sorely needed, and with him laying down the beat, the band was voted best rock band at the CU Local Music Awards in 2005 and 2006. My first run-in with Jesse was shortly after his move to Champaign in 2001 when he started coming to Canopy Club’s open mic just to jam with people (this was back when open mic at the Canopy drew 500-600 people a week). I had to borrow a cymbal from him because I’d forgotten a crash and my excellent band, Passenger, was poised to rock the house. He saved the day. Jesse will head to New York City following the final Lorenzo Goetz show, where he will start working with American Minor as a part of their new lineup. While he’ll be sorely missed, he’s certainly moving on to something very exciting. And while he may not remember anything about the week of this year’s World Series, the rest of us have those fond memories to think back on whenever we miss him. The last Lorenzo Goetz show will take place on New Year’s Eve at Cowboy Monkey, with special guest elsinore. Tickets are on sale now at cowboy-monkey.com, as well as at the bar. Hurry, though, as they’re going fast. Funny hats will apparently be worn by all.
Darrin and Jesse will be added to the list of recently departed local musicians, including Santanu Rahman (Triple Whip), Ian Shepherd (Temple of Low Men, a billion other bands), Ryan Lee (The Pitch), Noah and Adriel Harris (The Elanors) and Andy Lund (Temple of Low Men, Rosewood Guitar Shop). Apparently, when it gets cold, they just start flocking away. But lucky for us, there are still plenty of people staying here in CU, so let’s get to them and where they’re playing this week.
Tonight at Cowboy Monkey, partial Oklahoma transplants Stella Polaris will share the stage with Hotter Than June and The Confines. That will be the place to be if you’d like to do some solid rocking. Over at Mike ‘n Molly’s you’ll find something a little more experimental, as Coco Coca plays with Spectaculo and Sam Vicari. And on campus, Larry Gates will transform Bar Louie into Bar Larry – three sets and no cover.
Friday night’s big show is at Cowboy Monkey, featuring Watery Domestic, Casados, Husband and Wife, Without Atom and New Ruins. That’s five bands, for only $5. Bloomington, Ind. band Husband and Wife (with a MySpace page that lists them playing in “Champagne”) does not feature a husband and wife team, which is odd considering two of the other bands on the bill do. Casados is led by Nic and Heather Dillon, the couple who leads the race for the “most sickeningly cute couple in CU” award following the departure of Noah and Adriel Harris (the Elanors) to Chicago. Watery Domestic is fronted by the newly married Hubbards (Seth and Rachel, married this past weekend, and also leaving us for the left coast soon). But, no married couple in Husband and Wife. Okay, then. This show will be the debut of the band Without Atom (ex-Emotional Rec Club), and with five bands and all of the equipment, there will probably only be room for about seven people inside. So get there early. The show runs from 7 to 9 p.m.
Also on Friday: fireflies will make people sweat in the upstairs of Mike ‘n Molly’s. Mad Science Fair plays Canopy Club with Team Rockit (featuring Poster Children drummer Matt Friscia). And at Bar Louie, I will be selling my soul alongside Kayla Brown. No, sir, “Freebird” will not be played this evening. How do you feel about Richard Hawley? No? Fine, The Outfield, then.
Sunday night features another great show at the Iron Post put together by Triple Whip’s Jane Boxall. For those who aren’t familiar yet, the idea is to have three very different bands play in two hours, from 7 to 9 p.m., with a low cover and an end time that will get you home and in bed early. This week’s show will showcase shoegazey rockers Shipwreck, CU’s best hip-hopper Krukid and indie-punkers JigGsaw. The best part is that the show is only $3.50 ($3 with a flyer from a band).
If you’d like to find more info about these shows and others, head to openingbands.com and check the shows section. Don’t see a show that you know is happening? Submit it yourself. The more people that use it, the better the resource it will become.
Amongst all of the moves and weddings, I’d also like to congratulate Adam and Kelly Fein, who welcomed a baby boy to the world last week. Adam, the lead singer of Absinthe Blind (one of my all-time favorite bands) has slowed his musical life down since the end of AB, but he still works under the name Cortisol. The other members of AB went on to eventually become The Headlights you know and love. It’s nice to see some remaining local musicians taking steps to fill the holes left by all of the guys who are heading out of town. If you can’t keep everyone here, just make your own little musicians. So, welcome to the world, little Fein. Don’t listen to a word your Uncle Seth says.
Mike Ingram can be reached at email@example.com.