Pygmalion music festival announces lineup

Roy Ewing of Urbana flips through records while working at the Parasol Records store in Urbana on Monday. Ewing will be performing with his band alongside dozens of musicians at the Pygmalion Music Festival Erica Magda

Roy Ewing of Urbana flips through records while working at the Parasol Records store in Urbana on Monday. Ewing will be performing with his band alongside dozens of musicians at the Pygmalion Music Festival Erica Magda

By Phil Collins

The lineup was announced, the schedule was released and the fourth annual Pygmalion Music Festival is set to kick off next Wednesday, Sept. 17.

While Pygmalion will welcome national acts such as Yo La Tengo and Black Mountain to Champaign-Urbana, it will also give festivalgoers a chance to get better acquainted with the offerings of local record labels.

Parasol Records and Polyvinyl Records Co. will each have a showcase at The Canopy Club on Sept. 20. Angie Heaton, Beaujolais and New Ruins will represent Parasol, and The M’s, Headlights and Asobi Seksu will take the stage for Polyvinyl later that same night.

“It’s cool of Seth (Fein, festival creator) to set aside a nice spot for us on a Saturday evening,” said Jim Kelly, label manager and publicist for Parasol.

With some big-name bands on the bill, the festival will also be highlighting a lot of the artists from the area and exposing them to a wider audience. These artists may benefit quite a bit from more local residents coming out to these shows.

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“Nationally, I think we have a pretty good reputation but in the local community, I feel like a lot of people don’t know we’re there,” said Seth Hubbard, publicist for Polyvinyl, the Champaign-based label that has signed artists from around the world.

Next weekend will also put Champaign-Urbana in the spotlight, both for visitors and locals looking to get to know the music scene better.

“I think what it helps with is getting people from the outside – bands and concertgoers – interested in the scene,” Kelly said.

“Within the scene everybody is perfectly happy. It would be nice to have a little more audience response. I think there are still nights where popular local bands have under-attended shows.”

Angie Heaton, an artist on Parasol and employee at the Parasol Records store, 303 W. Griggs St., Urbana, has played Pygmalion in the past. She said she likes that Seth Fein asks local artists to play, along with the bigger name artists.

“I always feel honored when he asks me to play,” Heaton said.

The bands playing the Parasol and Polyvinyl showcases share their respective labels, but they may not get a chance to actually see each other very often. Hubbard said the Polyvinyl showcase is a night of camaraderie for the label.

“It’s always good to get a bunch of those people all in the same place and have a party,” he said.

Most of the bands playing both showcases are from the Midwest, but Kelly said in the future he would like to bring more Parasol bands to Champaign.

“I’d like to maybe coordinate a little with Seth early on, try and put together a Parasol showcase that features some of our out-of-town bands,” he said.

Several local artists that are not affiliated with either label will also play the festival. Zmick, Common Loon, Krukid and World’s First Flying Machine are among them.

Festivalgoers will also be drawn to at least a couple of venues they may not be accustomed to hosting shows, including clothing store Jennifer North, 17 E. Taylor St., Champaign, and Blue’s BBQ, 1103 W. Oregon St., Urbana.

“I’ve played at Jennifer North once, and it was actually an awesome venue,” Heaton said. “And it inspired me to buy my first pair of expensive jeans.”

Between the Parasol and Polyvinyl showcases, The Canopy Club will host a Yo La Tengo pre-party featuring a rare performance from the local band Centaur.

Kelly, who plays drums for Centaur in addition to his work at Parasol, said the band only plays two or three times a year.

Local music connoisseurs will know Centaur as the home of Matt Talbot, who played with the well-known local band Hum.

“He has a built-in audience,” Kelly said. “We’ve only put out one record and it was five years ago. When another one is ready, that built-in audience comes out of the woodwork.”