In honor of American Music Month, this week’s blog is dedicated to musical events around campus. Who doesn’t love going to a concert and experiencing some new music? Champaign-Urbana consistently draws a wide variety of acts across many genres, so there’s probably something that you’d enjoy seeing. Grab a friend, get some food, and then go experience some new music. It’s the recipe for a perfect night.
GWAR at The Canopy Club – November 2 at 8:00pm
If you don’t know who/what GWAR is, you should probably go to this show. The self described “masters of Earth”, GWAR have been taking over our puny planet for around 30 years with their blend of heavy metal and insane stage antics; it’s nearly impossible to leave a GWAR show without being covered in fake blood and feeling AWESOME for it. American music has always been subversive and shocking and it pretty much does not get more subversive or shocking than GWAR.
“I was a bum once myself.” at Smith Memorial Hall – November 10 at 7:30pm
This unique performance is unlike any other on this list and is sure not to be missed by those of you interested in the vast scope of American music. Presented by the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, this performance features Chris Rainier performing guitar pieces by the famous microtonal composer and instrument builder Harry Partch. Pieces arranged for voice and arranged guitar that detail the rough lives of 1930’s hobos will be the focus of the evening and Rainier will be performing these pieces on a guitar specially constructed for this event. Admission is free, so catch this one-of-a-kind performance for a deep look into American history.
Illinois Modern Ensemble at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts – November 17 at 7:30pm
Rock music may not be for everyone, so this performance by UIUC’s Modern Ensemble will be a delight to those searching for something a bit different. The ensemble performs regularly and highlights pieces by famous American composers such as Steve Reich, the legendary American minimalist, and Augusta Read Thomas, the masterful American experimental composer, as well as original pieces by students and faculty. This performance is only $4 for students and will force you to reach beyond your expectations of what music truly can be and connect you with a the deep experimentation found in so much modern American music.
Solo Showcase at Mike ‘N Molly’s – November 19 at 8pm
The origins of the punk rock movement of the 1970s and beyond are as much of an argument as any, but it is safe to say that punk has been a huge movement in America since the first power chord was struck. Innovation runs rampant through the genre and this Solo Showcase at local watering hole and popular local music venue Mike ‘N Molly’s will certainly show off the flexibility and innovation that can be found in this ever-expanding genre. Headlining is local visual artist Kamila Glowacki whose band Kowabunga! Kid has toured across this country and play an exceptionally surfy brand of punk. Other performers include members of local favorites Roberta Sparrow and Street Justice, so head over to downtown Champaign for a unique night of passionate performance.
Marathon Guitarkestra at The Art Theater Co-op – November 21 at 10pm
Living in such a creative and open-minded city has many benefits for all sorts of artists- Marathon is one of the best examples of a group of artists taking advantage of the openness of this area. Marathon creates drone music in the occasional form of a “guitarkestra”- an ensemble of 6 guitarists, 2 drummers, and a bassist all working to create a massive amount of pleasurable and quite solid feeling sound. This performance is a rare one and not to be missed for several reasons: The Art Theater typically does not have musical performers and is an incredible space for this occasion, this performance is in honor of the release of Marathon’s new LP “Sanctuary”, and the Media Commons’ own Jake Metz will be performing live video manipulation for the performance. American music takes so many forms and is constantly reinterpreting itself and this is probably the closest one could get to truly feeling that slow, intense, passionate change.