Written by: Gavin Good (@itsallG_O_O_D)
When fall comes around to Champaign-Urbana each year, you can expect a few certain things. Bad Illinois football, drunken students galore and Pygmalion. Now in its fourteenth year, the festival celebrates local music, art, literature, technology, and even comedy this year. Running from Wednesday, Sept. 26, to Sunday, Sept. 30, Pygmalion has something to offer all types.
Here at Prime, we’re the music types, so let’s take a look at some of the most intriguing acts set to hit stages across across Champaign-Urbana this weekend.
NP0 - (UI Independent Media Center on Friday at 7 p.m.)
One of the nicest things about Pygmalion is the showcase it gives local artists. NP0, which stands for No Power Off, has a self-described, eclectic sound that blends bars with zesty live instrumentals. The Chicago native offers a wide variety of pace and sound in her music, dishing out off-rip thoughts about life and with a dynamic delivery. If you’re into underground music and want to explore some of what the area has to offer, NP0 is the perfect place to start. Check out her latest single, “Dysphoria”, below for a taste.
Kweku Collins - (UI Independent Media Center on Friday at 9 p.m.)
Longtime Prime favorite Kweku Collins has been making lots of noise this year, and with his summer set at Pitchfork and a fall tour with Pivot Gang’s Joseph Chilliams as his next move, this one should be a doozy. He hasn’t released a whole lot of new music this year — just enough to keep the people going — but he has a deep stable of ear-pleasing tracks in his discography. The Evanston MC crafts sonic trips with his smooth flow, and he has a knack for producing, regularly rapping over his own broad-based beats. For a sampling of his music, check out his new track, “Sisko and Kasidy”, featuring Chicago’s Ajani Jones.
Cuco - (Canopy Club at 10:30 pm on Saturday)
Southern California artist Cuco has been making waves this year and is about to descend on Canopy Club Saturday night. Watch for our preview of Cuco’s set tomorrow afternoon.
Mount Kimbie - (Canopy Club at 12 a.m. on Saturday)
Set to take the stage after Cuco, English duo Mount Kimbie brings an original sound to the table. The nearly post-EDM pioneers are fresh off collaborating with the likes of Jay Z (Dominic Maker produced the beat on “Many Faced God”) and King Krule, and racking up millions of plays on their own, the pair are certain to put on a memorable show come Saturday night’s late hours. Check out their most recent project, “Love What Survives” on Spotify below.
JPEGMAFIA - (UI Independent Media Center on Friday at 7:45 p.m.)
Baltimore’s JPEGMAFIA is one most intriguing acts set to hit the stage at Pygmalion this year. Check back tomorrow afternoon for our preview coverage of his set.
Melvin Knight and The Amber Sky - (Pygmalion Street Stage outside Canopy on Saturday at 7 p.m.)
Another scintillating local act, Melvin Knight and his band, The Amber Sky, provide a refreshing change of pace from many of the artists on the lineup. He’s got a great voice and a comforting sound, perfect to pull up for the free on at Pygmalion’s Street Stage on Saturday evening. The Champaign-Urbana R&B and soul singer has a home-like quality to his voice, and they even did a video at local custard joint Jarling’s before the beginning of the summer. Get a taste of Knight and his group’s sound with “Ice Cream” below.
Ausar - (Pygmalion Street Stage outside Canopy on Saturday at 8:30 p.m.)
Long one of the predominant student-rappers at the University of Illinois, Ausar has bloomed into record form in 2018. He’s been all over, doing shows in Chicago and the midwest, and somehow he’s made all those moves without dropping a project this year. There’s just something irresistible about his sound flow and well-versed delivery — Ausar’s music has a wide range and can appeal to hip-hop old heads, the religiously inclined and, anyone, really. Combined with the fact that this performance is also free and Ausar hasn’t been on campus or doing shows much over the last six months, this one is going to be popping. For a hint of what Ausar’s got to offer, stream his single, “WHOLETIME”, below.
Frankie Cosmos - (UI Independent Media Center on Saturday at 7:30 pm)
New York artist Greta Kline and her band have surged throughout 2018, releasing their 18-track album, “Vessel”, and continuing to build on the immense discography Kline has constructed. Her soft-pitched vocals come through majestically over catchy guitar riffs and drum rolls. Blink once and you might think you’re back in time while inside the Independent Media Center on Saturday night. Get in tune with Frankie Cosmos ahead of their set by streaming their new project, “Vessel”, below.
Foxing - (Pygmalion Street Stage outside Canopy on Saturday at 10 p.m.)
St. Louis group Foxing should be a fun one to catch on Saturday night, capping off an evening full of free performances. Since releasing their debut project, “The Albatross”, in 2014, the group has only continued to evolve and imprint listeners with their alternative aura and constantly developing sound. Fresh off the release of their new project, “Nearer My God”, give the album a listen below to get an idea of what Foxing might play when Saturday night rolls around.
CJ Run - (Canopy Club at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, )
CJ Run has never been afraid to set themselves apart from the rest, and that’s what the young MC has done ahead of a transcendent return to Canopy Club on Saturday night, ahead of Playboi Carti. After feeling like they should move onto bigger things beyond traversing the Champaign-Urbana scene and building a name amongst the student body, CJ has spent the last several months in Chicago and doing shows in a variety of places throughout the midwest. But this one’s going to be special, it’s CJ’s biggest show yet and the barslinger is certain to have some fresh cards up their sleeve. To get familiar, give “Tangerine” a listen below on Spotify.
Playboi Carti - (Canopy Club at 1 a.m. Saturday, 708 S Goodwin Ave, Urbana, Illinois)
This one speaks for itself. The Atlanta-based rapper is set to perform in front of a sold-out Canopy crowd on Saturday night. Check in with us tomorrow for our preview of his set.
Post Animal - (UI Independent Media Center on Saturday at 202 S Broadway Avenue, Urbana, Illinois at 1 a.m.)
Chicago group Post Animal has burst onto the scene over the past couple years, cementing themselves in the hearts of their supporters with catchy tracks that ring out over psychedelic instrumentals. Graduating from do-it-yourself basement shows to touring across the country in their own lane, Post Animal is a great alternative to Carti on Saturday night and is set to put on an eclectic, memorable show. For a sampling of what the group has to offer, stream their new album “When I Think Of You In A Castle” below on Spotify.