Valentine’s Day — yep, it’s still around.

Blargh. It’s time for Valentine’s Day again. That means that plenty of you will be doing something that you don’t want to tonight to please someone who still clings to this holiday for some strange reason. But to those of you who don’t need a special, planned day to be romantic, you have several options. You could even forego the usual dinner at a packed chain restaurant with a frazzled server and instead poke your head into one of the local shows below. At the very least, if you still want to wine and dine, do it at one of the many great local places that CU has to offer.
Mike n’ Molly’s is rolling out a show at 10 p.m. featuring The Beauty Shop — fitting for those of us who have always associated John Hoeffleur with pink hearts and lace — who will headline the cozy upstairs room. If you haven’t picked up Just Some Demos yet, stop by the show or Exile On Main St. to get yourself a copy. “Ambulance” (which you can preview at is one of the best tracks released in 2007, period. The band will share the stage with Gristle (punk-rockabilly from Champaign) and Friday Night Villain (rock from Charleston) and the show will carry a cover charge of some sort. Show up and support the show so we can see more of them at Mike n’ Molly’s.
The fun-time, bastardized-Japanese alternative for Valentine’s Day? Well, that would be Live Karaoke Band at the Highdive, of course. For five bucks (ten if you pay for your lady or fella, you suave one) you can sign yourself up to sing on one of the best stages in the land. You could also serenade someone, or get up in someone’s face with your scornfulness.
With the loss of both venue space/time and with crowds fizzling, house parties are starting to trend again. What does that mean for you? Well, house parties don’t have to be quite as bad as those you remember from undergrad (or, you know, the ones you still end up at on Saturdays before you have to run from the cops). In fact, with organized efforts like High Anxiety Music Center ( and Error House ( now hosting events, the odds of you having a good time with other music fans and not having to watch some dude puke in the front yard are pretty good. The house at 700 W. Illinois Street in Urbana will play host for a house show on Friday starting at 7:30 p.m. and carrying no cover; donations are appreciated. On tap for the show? CU fave New Ruins will headline, while Chicago’s Mt. St. Helens and Iowa City band Birth Rites will make tour stops. Ryan Martin of Oceans will round out the bill. Again, no cover, but throw some gas money in for the touring bands if you can.
I don’t think that it’s any sort of secret that I am a huge fan of Cameron McGill’s. He’s one of the best songwriters to ever come out of CU, and with each new release he continues to improve upon the streak that he began as far back as 2001 with the CU band Morris Miners. Cameron (& What Army) will release a new album (Hold On Beauty) at an early show this Saturday at the Highdive. Track previews can be heard at The band’s (8 p.m.) set will be bookended by Tunnels (7 p.m.) and Gentleman Auction House (9 p.m.), making this an absolutely fantastic night of music. Plus, the show will be over by 10 p.m., meaning four more hours of endless possibilities!
Jazz fans should take note that CU’s longest running jazz jam still takes place every Monday evening at the Iron Post. MRS Trio (Jeff Magby, Chris Reyman, Ed Schaller) kicks off at 7 p.m. each week, offering varied styles of jazz for only $2. Over at the Canopy Club, Zmick still does “Monday Night Rage,” which is free and boasts $1.50 domestic drafts. Away from campus and into downtown Champaign (though who the hell could tell with the parking rates?), you’ve got Nekromancy (industrial/goth) at C Street every Monday (9 p.m., $2), while DJ mingram lays down your favorite Hall & Oates tracks at the Highdive (10 p.m., no cover). Mondays are totally the new Thursdays.

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