The Overture: September 18-24 – Music – Smile Politely – Champaign-Urbana's Online Magazine

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The Overture is a rundown of live music and performances happening in and around Champaign-Urbana each week. All of the information is as accurate as we can publish; however, all shows and performances are subject to change at any time. Thank you for understanding.
Did we miss something this week? Have a show coming up you think we should know about? Email us at [email protected] with the details.
Rose Bowl // tips in bucket // 5:30 p.m.
The U of I Concert Jazz Band is part of the jazz studies program at the University of Illinois. They perform big-band jazz music and give students experience performing in a large jazz ensemble.
Rose Bowl // tips in bucket // 8 p.m.
The Urbana Hootenanny is a local bluegrass jam session that happens weekly at the Rose Bowl Tavern. All levels of musicians are welcome to come play bluegrass standards together.
Rose Bowl // tips in bucket // 5 p.m.
Joan Hickey is a jazz pianist and composer based in Chicago. She leads a piano trio that performs a mix of jazz standards and original compositions.
Rose Bowl // tips in bucket // 8 p.m.
Silverweed is a progressive bluegrass band from Champaign-Urbana that blends bluegrass with jazz, rock, and funk influences. Their live shows feature high-energy jams and improvisation.
The Castle Theatre // $29.50 // 6:00 p.m.
Atreyu is a metalcore band from California and Memphis May Fire is a metalcore band from Texas. They are co-headlining a tour with support from metalcore bands Catch Your Breath and Another Day Dawns. Expect a high-energy rock show.
Rose Bowl // tips in bucket // 5 p.m.
The Justin Dyar Quintet performs jazz standards and originals with a unique fusion sound combining jazz, funk, and pop elements. Justin Dyar is a jazz guitarist based in Central Illinois.
Rose Bowl // tips in bucket // 5 p.m.
Catch Hunter Peebles live for an intimate solo performance, delivering heartfelt songs that navigate the complexities of the human experience, all set to his unique blend of country, folk, and Americana.
Rose Bowl (Indoor) // $15 // 8:45 p.m.
Ratboys are an indie rock band from Chicago, known for their unique blend of indie rock, post-country, and indie folk genres. This show is part of PYGMALION and includes Free Range and local act Snack’d Out.
The Canopy Club // $15 // 8:30 p.m.
Ax and the Hatchetmen is a Chicago-based rock and roll band known for their shimmering three-guitar attack, earthy rhythms, and blistering horns. They deliver a blend of quasi-pop melodies mixed with flavors of Indie/Alternative Rock, Classic Rock, Surf Rock, Pop, Jazz, Blues, Folk, and Punk. Vallis Alps and local punkers Venus Overdrive are in support at this PYGMALION event.
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (Studio Theatre) // $20 // 7:30 p.m.
Arushi Jain is a Brooklyn-based modular synthesist and Indian classical vocalist. Arushi will perform her compositions inspired by Hindustani ragas, blending electronic instrumentation and vocal improvisation. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to experience the fusion of ancient tradition and modern technology.
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (Stage 5) // free // 7 p.m.
Carrie Sue & The Wood Burners, a trio hailing from Urbana, IL, are known for their unique blend of folk, bluegrass, country, and Americana music. Their performance is marked by honest songs, heartfelt vocals, and excellent musicianship, combining the timeless art of a well-crafted song and the beauty of interwoven melody and harmony with contemporary inspiration. Don’t miss this harmonious fusion of the old and new!
The Castle Theatre // $29.50 // 7:30 p.m.
Lukas Nelson leads the band Promise of the Real and is also the son of Willie Nelson. Expect a dynamic show drawing on country, folk, and roots rock.
School of Music // free // 7:00 p.m.
Susan Warner is giving a clarinet recital, likely playing classical and contemporary pieces for clarinet.
Rose Bowl (Outdoor) // $25 // 5 p.m.
SUSTO is an indie rock band from South Carolina, known for their compelling blend of rock, folk, and psychedelia. This show is part of PYGMALION and features several other great rock and indie acts such as Chicago’s Divino Niño, Friko and The Afro-Caribbean Collective.
► Rose Bowl (Indoor) // $25 // 6 p.m.
Thelma and the Sleaze is an all-female, queer southern rock sensation from Nashville, led by the charismatic Lauren “LG” Gilbert. This band promises a night of high-energy performances and soulful rock ‘n’ roll. This show is part of PYGMALION and features several other great rock and indie acts such as southern punkers Thelma and the Sleaze, prog-rockers and local favorites Kangaroo Court, and the exciting experimental rock of Man on Man plus Bloomington indie rockers Chuck’s Papas.
► Gallery Art Bar (Indoor) // $15 // 7 p.m.
Sweetmelk is set to christen the Gallery Art Bar stage with their powerful and unique brand of rock music as part of PYGMALIAN. Local acts Belles-Lettres and Lollygagger are in support.
► The Canopy Club // $10 // 7 p.m.
Josh Spinner, a multi-talented musician from Chicago is known for his unique sound that blends elements of Funk, Jazz, and Indie-Rock. A student at the University of Illinois with a degree in Jazz Guitar, Josh not only performs his original music but also leads his band, showcasing his passion for creating music with heart and soul. Garden Girl and Murfee will be in support.
► The Castle Theatre // $25 // 7:30 p.m.
glaive is a singer, songwriter, and producer who blends pop, R&B, and electronic music. He’s gained a following online releasing music independently. Provoker opens in support.
► Virginia Theatre // $20.75 to $100.75 // 7:30 p.m.
Zach Williams is a contemporary Christian music artist known for songs like “Old Church Choir” and “Fear is a Liar.” Expect uplifting anthems and worship music.
School of Music // free // 5:00 p.m.
Dr. Dwandalyn R. Reece is delivering a lecture on the material culture of African American music, where she’ll delve into how objects like instruments and promotional toys can reveal untold stories and insights. Drawing from her book, “Musical Crossroads: Stories Behind the Objects of African American Music,” and her extensive experience at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Dr. Reece offers a fresh look at music’s cultural impact. Hosted by the University of Illinois as part of the Bruno and Wanda Nettl Distinguished Lecture in Ethnomusicology series, this talk is a must-see for anyone interested in music’s broader role in society.
► School of Music // free // 3:00 p.m.
Okaidja Afroso is leading a workshop on musical improvisation. He is a Ghanaian xylophone player and composer. The workshop takes place in the Orchestra rehearsal room, level 2 of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Allerton Park // $10-$300 // 7:30 p.m.
This outdoor performance at the Allerton estate features opera and musical theater pieces performed under the stars.
► Krannert Center for the Performing Arts // $10 // 10 a.m.
Don’t miss this special school performance by Okaidja Afroso, part of the Krannert Center Youth Series for grades Pre-K to 12. Immerse your students in the vibrant musical traditions of Ghana’s Atlantic Gulf of Guinea, as Okaidja blends indigenous knowledge, nature-based rituals, and ancestral connections to the Ocean in his project, Jaku Mumor. This unique experience combines percussion, guitar, dance, and native language vocals, and even features direct collaborations with local fishermen to incorporate soul-stirring a cappella singing and chants that awaken the human spirit.
► Rose Bowl (Outdoors) // $35 // 1:45 p.m.
Lauren Mayberry, the captivating lead vocalist of Chvrches, steps into the spotlight with her debut solo single “Are You Awake?”. Known for her ethereal voice and synth-pop mastery, Mayberry promises a night of musical exploration that’s sure to leave you spellbound. Claud is bedroom pop artist from Chicago, will deliver a laid-back evening of indie tunes. This PYGMALION event starts at 1:45 p.m. with 5 local bands keeping the music going throughout the day.
► Rose Bowl (Indoors) // $35 // 1:45 p.m.
Theon Cross is a British tuba virtuoso known for his jazz fusion, and Madison McFerrin is a soulful singer whose style has been dubbed “soul-appella” by Questlove. Both artists bring a unique blend of genres and influences to the stage, promising an unforgettable experience that transcends musical boundaries. This event is full of music with local acts Haki ‘N’ Dem, Isiah Kelly, Half House, and Lutalo starting things at 4:30 indoors at Rose Bowl.
The Canopy Club // $30 to $130 // 7 p.m.
Bryce Vine is a rapper and singer known for catchy upbeat tracks like “Drew Barrymore.” This stop is part of his Interstate Tour, and also a part of PYGMALION.
► Gallery Art Bar (Indoor) // $15 // 6:15 p.m.
Sen Morimoto, the Kyoto-born, Chicago-based jazz rap multi-instrumentalist delivers a blend of jazz and rap that’s uniquely his own. Morimoto offers an evening that’s as innovative as it is captivating. Local acts Good Night & Good Morning and Loose are supporting.
► The Castle Theatre // $22 // 8:00 p.m.
Colony House is an indie rock band from Tennessee. Their sound mixes synth-pop and alt-rock influences. Lunar Vacation opens the show with energetic indie pop.
► Allerton Park // $10-$300 // 7:30 p.m.
This outdoor performance at the Allerton estate features opera and musical theater pieces performed under the stars.
► Krannert Center for the Performing Arts // $10-$60 // 7:30 p.m.
Experience the mesmerizing artistry of Okaidja Afroso as he brings the rich musical traditions of Ghana’s Atlantic Gulf of Guinea to life, blending indigenous Ga-Dangme fishermen’s knowledge, nature-based rituals, and ancestral connections to the Ocean. His latest project, Jaku Mumor, is a contemporary African oral tradition that fuses percussion, guitar, dance, and native language vocals, enriched by direct collaborations with local fishermen to incorporate their soul-stirring a cappella singing and chants.
► Krannert Center for the Performing Arts // $5-$90 // 3 p.m.
Experience an evening of unparalleled artistry with the Merz Trio, described as “entrancing” by BBC Music Magazine and celebrated for their “stunning virtuosity” and “fresh and surprising interpretations.” This groundbreaking ensemble is passionately committed to reshaping the classical music narrative through dynamic programming and interdisciplinary collaborations, featuring works from Mieczysław Weinberg, Pēteris Vasks, Robert Schumann, and more. Set in a salon-style atmosphere that fosters a close connection between artists and the audience, the performance promises an immersive experience complete with light refreshments served before and after the show.
Rose Bowl // tips in bucket // 4 p.m.
The Painkillers Blues Band performs blues covers and originals with a classic blues rock sound. They are regular performers at the Rose Bowl venue.
► Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater // $83 to $548 // 7:00 p.m.
The Goo Goo Dolls are on tour in support of their latest album, Chaos in Bloom. They are known for hit songs like “Iris” and “Slide.” Fitz and the Tantrums open the show with soulful indie pop. You can spend over $500 to get a photo with them if you wish.
Rose Bowl // tips in bucket // 7 p.m.
Frontman Caleb Cook is a powerhouse vocalist and guitarist. Come get your country music Sunday night at Rose Bowl.
► The Castle Theatre // $38 // 8:00 p.m.
St. Paul & The Broken Bones are a soulful rock band known for their energetic live shows and horn arrangements. They are on tour supporting their latest album, The Alien Coast.
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