The weekend is packed with festivals and fairs, but the following shows are worth squeezing in between trips to the gyro and funnel-cake vendors.---
Nebraska native/Utah artist Joshua James is talented, no doubt, but his 2007 release The Sun is Always Brighter lacked the serious bite that Build Me This (Northplatte) offers from the get-go, with foot-stomping opener “Coal War” culminating with James’ tortured yowl: “It’s not the hand that cuts/it’s the hatred deep inside!” Album art for the new release (available on vinyl and CD Sept. 22) features a striking, almost-primal photo of James covered in white body paint, and the music is equally powerful. James is coming across stronger and more resolute in his beliefs while still tackling questions of faith. His current tour includes two special homecoming shows at Provo’s all-ages gallery, beginning tonight with an acoustic set. Tomorrow, he’ll perform with a full band. Don't be surprised if you get chills during "Black July." Velour, 135 N. University Ave., Provo, 8 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 24Tix.com
Also tonight, the band we love but whose name we can't print in the paper in full, Starfucker. The dance-tastic electro-rockers played an all-ages gig at Kilby Court tonight and will appear again tonight for the 21 and over set at Urban Lounge with SLC's Birthquake. 241 S. 500 East.
Tomorrow evening at In the Venue, Happy Mondays will perform without their iconic dancer Bez who recently left the "Madchester" lads to form a group with members of The Stone Roses. His raver-hype-man contributions will be missed, but it should still be a smashing good time. Plus, Psychedelic Furs are still super dreamy.
Sunday, see if Wavves have fully recovered from their European meltdown and subsqeuent hammering by the unforgiving music blogosphere to launch a "comeback." The San Diego-based lo-fi, fuzzed-out pop group touted as the Next Big Thing before great expectations and an exhaustive tour schedule led to a very public freak-out. Their self-titled LP is out on Fat Possum, home to current greats Heartless Bastards and A.A. Bondy. Trust the label and check out Wavves for yourself tonight. The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 10 p.m.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are traveling farther and farther away from the dirty sound that colored their first few albums, but the slick new sound of songs like “Heads Will Roll” off It's Blitz! is still infectious and cool. Plus, they still absolutely rule in a live setting. We’ve witnessed their potential to throw a real barn-burner (DV8, 2004) and you don’t want to miss that again. In the Venue, 579 W. 200 South, 7 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 24Tix.com