Want to have your face melted? Read on.

Vvvvv has been transformed. Where there was once a band riffing on many falsetto-rich songs, there now stands a band packing several originals that actually kick a lot of ass. Don’t fret, though, if you were a fan of some of the covers. Vvvvv doesn’t want to disappoint you, so they’ve cherry picked a couple of the best old songs to pepper into current sets. Vvvvv (pronounced like the beginning of “vroom”) is set to play tonight (Thursday) at Cowboy Monkey alongside Brother Embassy in a birthday tribute/celebration for BE guitarist John “Quez” Vasquez. The 10 p.m. show will cost you three bucks, and you’re encouraged to bring an eggroll as a gift for the birthday boy.
If you’re feeling jazzier (or Urbana-ier), be sure to swing by the Embassy Tavern tonight at 8 p.m. to catch the dependable Jazz Sandwich — one of the truly great “jazz” acts in the area that doesn’t really conform to any particular genre. Take a peek at http://myspace.com/jazzsandwich where you’ll find songs like the Price Is Right theme and a spectacular cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?” featuring Brandon T. Washington on vocals. No cover charge is announced, but take a few bucks just in case.
On Friday, Caffe Paradiso in Urbana will host a CD release show for Mordechai in the Mirrorh, the ambient/experimental band made up of some familiar faces from Pulsar47 along with word man Jonah. The show kicks off at 8:30 p.m. and is free, which is crazy because they’re giving away the new CD (with fantastic artwork) for free as well. This means that you can go and enjoy an entire evening of music and art (band member David Samuel and P47’s Rachel Reed will have a gallery presentation, while video master Harsh will present his own interactive visual presentation) for free. If the art being shown is anything like the posters and such that you can find at http://myspace.com/mordechaiinthemirror, then attendees are certainly in for a treat. Buy a cup of coffee and a snack, though, to encourage the continuation of music in the space.
Another Friday possibility (and a little earlier, allowing for some show hopping) is a free event just fifteen minutes west on I-72 in Monticello, where the monthly “First Friday” celebration will kick off at 6:30 p.m. This month, the historic downtown square will be filled with the sounds of Brandon T. Washington, Curb Service, and Elsinore. DJ Tim Williams is one of the event’s handlers, and for those who don’t know, Tim runs a record store in Monticello (more about that next week). Also, for those who have never experienced eating at the Brown Bag, believe me when I say that you need to check it out — excellent sandwiches and excellent dessert.
On Saturday evening, punk fans will find a house show running at 9 p.m. at 700 W. Illinois in Urbana. The $2 donation will get you 4 bands: the Infected, Facepuncher (perhaps the best band name I’ve ever heard), Dizzy Chair Time, and the Red Hat Society (hopefully packing a punk Devo cover).
The Life and Times returns to CU to melt faces this weekend. This time around, the band is hitting the Courtyard Café in the Illini Union, which is a room that may not be able to contain all of the awesomeness, so exercise caution. The Kansas City trio is a touring machine, seemingly spending as much time on the road as at home these days, so they have an incredibly tight live show. Chicago’s Sleepy Sleepy Octopus is set to open the show, which will only cost you $3 with your student ID ($5 otherwise). Kickoff is 9 p.m.
Following the early Matt Wertz show at the Canopy Club on Saturday, another Matt is set to take the stage. Student-turned-townie Matt Wagemann will release a new CD titled Matter of Time at the late (10 p.m.) show. Songstress Liesel Booth is in the opening slot. Check out http://myspace.com/mattwagemann for a preview of the new album.
Open mic patrons might be interested to know that Radio Maria is now hosting a weekly open mic shepherded by Jake Fleischli of the Tractor Kings. There is no cover charge and the event starts at 10 p.m. every Wednesday.

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