Local bands reunite for a triple performance

New and long-standing local music fans can unite Friday for a nostalgic reunion show at Cowboy Monkey in downtown Champaign. Current local bands, Elsinore and Hathaways, will join Champaign-Urbana native band Grandkids, which will be making a trip from Chicago on Friday. 

“The idea was to have an end-of-summer slash beginning-of-the-school-year weekend in Champaign,” said Ryan Groff, lead singer of Elsinore, the band hosting the event.

The show, open for individuals ages 19 and over, will begin at 9:30 p.m. at Cowboy Monkey, located at 6 Taylor St. in Champaign. Hathaways will open the event, with Grandkids following at 10:35 p.m. and Elsinore closing the show at 11:45 p.m. Tickets are $8 and will be sold at the door.

The three bands have arguably been the cornerstone of the Champaign-Urbana music scene for years, according to Vivian McConnell, lead singer and guitarist for Grandkids. Each band has a slightly different twist of musical styles. 

“There are different (musical) aspects that connect us,” wrote James Hathaway of the Hathaways in an email. “With Grandkids, they’re always doing something dynamically that interests us … Elsinore has always had a wonderful pop element, and that’s something we’re trying to bring out as well.”

Grandkids has grown and evolved in Champaign-Urbana, though last October its members decided to make a move to Chicago. Still, this area remains special to them, McConnell said.

“I think Urbana has a really big spot in all of our hearts,” she said. “We’re excited to see all of our friends down there, but hopefully we see a lot of new faces.”

Alone, each band’s performance embodies its unique approaches to indie rock, folk, pop and a myriad of other genres. But together, they will meld into an eclectic mix of original tunes.

“It’s definitely high-energy, meant-to-be-performed-live type of music,” Groff said, speaking specifically about his band Elsinore’s newest album “Push/Pull.” “It’s rock and roll music; it’s got some things that sound old and some things that sound new.”

Elsinore will also be performing its new album on Saturday at 7 p.m. at downtown Champaign’s Indi Go Artist Co-Op, as well as at Pygmalion Music Festival in late September. 

Music from Hathaways dips into some folk roots while maintaining its indie rock components.

“One of the underlying elements that has always been there for us and continues to be (is) the sibling harmonies,” Hathaway wrote, referring to his and his sister Kate Hathaway’s vocals.

On the other hand, Grandkids have a harder time defining their music style, which is in the realm of indie rock, but is also peppered with art rock features. 

“We kind of made up a genre. We’re calling it ‘humblecore,’” McConnell said. “I think that we’re really listenable, but at the same time we keep things interesting as far as songwriting goes. I’ve been getting a little more experimental in comparison to our first record.”

Each band has played with one another on at least a few occasions over the years, and the trio knows one another well.

“We support each other’s bands a lot, and we like to play shows together,” Groff said.

McConnell said she learned about Elsinore before she attended the University, from which she graduated last year with a degree in Spanish. She met James Hathaway during her time in college, and since then they all have been close.

“We all kind of crossed paths in really interesting ways,” McConnell said. “It feels really special, too, to be welcomed back by Elsinore and Hathaways.”

Reema can be reached at [email protected]