DJs seem to have claimed victory over Thursday this week. Barfly will be bouncing with a free show from Chris O, spinning all kinds of house goodness from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Over at the Highdive, DJ TwinScin and DJ Copper Top will be dropping all sorts of dark techno, ebm (I don’t even know what that means!) and industrial starting at 10 p.m. with a $5 cover. I don’t give DJs a lot of love, generally, but my love for DJs knows no bounds – even the radio ones. Plus, writing about them gives me the opportunity to talk about stuff that I clearly know nothing about. Win-win in my book.
As this issue goes to print, early bird festival passes for this year’s Pygmalion Music Festival are on sale at http://2007.pygmalionmusicfestival.com for $35. There will be a limited number offered, so get yours quickly. Want to know what you’re getting yourself into? Well, confirmed headliners for this year’s fest include Andrew Bird, Okkervil River, Owen and Headlights. Other acts lined up include Shapes and Sizes, Bound Stems, Unwed Sailor, elsinore and many more.
Kayla Brown, formerly a DJ herself (come on, who has seen DJ LilBigBass in the last year?), will play her guitar and sing for you at Aroma CafÇ. That’s right, Thursday means music at Aroma – possibly even out on the patio if the weather is nice. Aroma offers this to you free of charge, so come out and have some coffee and enjoy some live music. Chicago songstress Monica Del Castillo will round out the show, which runs from 8-10 p.m.
The Embassy Tavern in downtown Urbana is making a comeback as a live music space. Under new ownership, the bar is taking steps to book acts and make itself home to musicians and bar-goers. Jeremy Harper will play a free show on Friday as part of a kick-off of the new direction, starting at 9:30 p.m. Stay tuned for more info on the Embassy.
DJs strike again as the Highdive will play host to country music all night long with DJ Stifler. That’s right, that country night that you usually go to on Wednesday will take place on Friday this week. Is there enough Gretchen Wilson and Kenny Chesney music to cover that much time guys?
The Canopy Club will play host to a rockin’ show on Friday as well – though I doubt you’ll get to hear any country songs. Rock-tastic duo Triple Whip will … rock! Now full-band Lucky Mulholland will … be a full band! Ugh, what a horrible paragraph. Kate Hathaway and 5th Floor Mercy also play. 9 p.m., $5.
Elsewhere on Friday you’ve got Mike Mangione and Steele Rose at the Iron Post at 9 p.m., while rock band JAB will storm the stage at Radmakers Rock n Roll Tavern in Tolono. Have you been to the new Radmakers?
Rory Grennan and Jack Marck, both of the band mad mardigan, will celebrate their birthdays this Saturday at Mike ‘n Molly’s. Their band will play along with Pistol Whipt, one of Adam Wolfe’s 37 currently active bands. For only $5, you too can share in the festivities that must surely include pony rides, face painting and finger tapping.
Kelly McMorris, the man behind former CU band Ambitious Pie Party, will showcase his new project, Suddenly Everything, on Saturday night at the Iron Post. The show starts at 10 p.m.
Saturday night also marks the return of Wisconsin band the Wandering Sons to town, with a show at the Canopy Club. The Sons have an increasingly demanding tour schedule thanks to growing popularity, including dates with big names like Jackson Browne. For now they seem to be calling Urbana home when stopping in, but who knows, maybe they’ll decide to give downtown Champaign another shot sometime soon. I think it’s fair to say that the downtownies miss them a little. They’ll also be back to the area on June 30 to play the Homer, Ill., town festival. For Saturday’s show, though, look for opening sets from Noah Harris (now officially a Sons member, but also a Parasol Records artist), Tunnels (Steve and Ben Ucherek) and Chad Werner. The show starts at 8 p.m. with a $7 cover.
Speaking of Steve Ucherek, his band the Living Blue will make another appearance at the Highdive on Sunday, this time playing with Black Tie Revue, The Dirty Novels and The International Theatre of War. Showtime is 9:30 p.m., with a $5 cover charge. More live music at the Highdive is a good thing.
The Canopy Club will forgo its normal “bad bands” Sunday night showcase this week to instead host San Francisco band (and Saddle Creek artist) Two Gallants. Local acts Sangamon and Roses and Sake will open. 8 p.m., $8.
This week’s WEFT Sessions act is Ryan Groff, who will be kicking off his CD release week. People in the Midwest will officially be available next Thursday (6/14) at the Highdive. The album is being released by Parasol Records. You can preview some of the tracks at myspace.com/ryangroffmusic, or tune in to 90.1 FM on Monday from 10-11 p.m. to hear Ryan live in the studio.
In other local music news, busy beaver Seth Fein has picked up a new artist for his Nicodemus Agency – Adam Franklin (of Swervedriver). Seth has always been a little gooey about him, so it’s nice to see him make the snag.
Congratulations are due to Cowboy Monkey manager/bartender Tim Fahey, who will be married to Jackie Cunningham this Saturday. Tim, the lovable bartender known for his enthusiastic “YEAH!” shouts (no, not like on Chappelle’s Show – and for those of you who still think that’s hilarious, it’s really not) when bands have finished a song, has also perfected the art of the slow clap. His wedding will be attended by many local musicians who have grown to love the man over the years.
Mike Ingram can be reached at