Tonight, grab a cup of Hot Dickens Cider and share in the magic of a very special Sound vs. Silence Records performance featuring beautifully insecure singer-songwriter Danny Vesper. SVSS, an independent label formed in 2003 by four SLC locals, heralds the spry, redheaded musician as entirely underrated. Vesper’s songs embrace humiliation, casting harsh light on your darkest secrets. He also has a penchant for detailing the less astute side of humanity, particularly lies we tell would-be lovers: “It’s funny how people will fool themselves into doing things, I fooled myself into saying it, and someone else fooled themselves into believing it. In the end, I’m still a complete fraud.” Lo-Fi Café, 127 S. West Temple, 7 p.m. Info: 949-6324 (with The Middle Distance, Art of Kanly, Her Candane’s Kellin Dopp and ex-Form of Rocket Curtis Jenson).
Also Thursday: Trans-Siberian Orchestra (E Center).
STARMY, RED BENNIES, THE WOLFS
Tonight, children and young-at-heart Salt Lakers will engage in wholesome “First Night” activities while the rest of us pack into dingy, smoke-filled bars for another raucous performance by Starmy, The Wolfs and Red Bennies. For those who are thinking, “But these bands play all the time! What makes tonight different from their last shows?” consider this: All three groups have been working overtime on new material to please the tired masses. Starmy recently finished up a 7-song EP with tunes like “I Get So Drunk,” and “Girls Gone Susan.” No word yet on whether these new songs will appear as random B-Sides, future singles or a full-length album. Meanwhile, Red Bennies continue to promote Adult Sophisticates, unheard gems coupled with two rereleases, “With a Hug,” and “Watch Your Language.” They also recently unleashed the Walk Right In 7-inch vinyl. As for The Wolfs, well, Eli and Jeremy do enough for the scene as it is. Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 10 p.m. Info: 355-4949.
Also Friday: Purdymouth (Egos); Solid Gold (Port O’ Call); Disco Drippers (The Standard); Pagan Love Gods (Piper Down); Wicked Diamond (Burt’s Tiki Lounge); Spazmatics (Liquid Joe’s); Helter Skelter (The Whiskey); Sister Wives (Mo Diggity’s); The Album (Todd’s Bar & Grill); Johnny Vicious (Vortex); Diamond Experience (Suede); Star 69 (Northern Xposure, Ogden).
ANGEL CITY OUTCASTS
“Popeye in Afghanistan” is no “America, F—k Yeah!” but damned if Angel City Outcasts didn’t put a fancy spin on patriotic lyricism. The Los Angeles-based quintet (featuring Youth Rebellion and Broke Till Thursday alum) routinely challenges evildoers, especially those out to sabotage their upbeat message of solidarity. ACO represents the I-never-quite-fit-in-but-who-needs-you-anyway crowd, misunderstood kids searching for a positive escape. Despite their mission to liberate minorities, the group is often mislabeled as a bunch of skinhead bigots. Of course, ACO won’t let a few limiting stereotypes threaten freedom: “Hey, if condemning Osama bin Laden and terrorism means that you’re a Nazi, then you can call me Adolf right now,” guitarist Artack “Tak” Boroyan told Rock & Roll Purgatory. Lo-Fi Café, 127 S. West Temple, 7 p.m. Info: 949-6324.
MICKY & THE MOTORCARS
Those praising Micky & the Motorcars for transcending traditional country standards might be missing the point. One listen to the Texas-based band reveals more skillful interpretation of the past, less strange trippin’ on foreign territory. In fact, their debut, Which Way From Here is seeped in straightforward country. Follow-up album Ain’t In It for the Money dabbles in alt-territory, but never loses its appreciation for simple chords and lines about broken hearts, Uncle Sam, homesickness and drinking wine from paper cups. Egos, 668 S. State, 9:30 p.m. Info: 521-5255.
While rabid Guns N’ Roses fans climb the walls waiting for Chinese Democracy, Steven Adler is out recruiting groupies for his latest project, Adler’s Appetite. The former GNR drummer—the first member axed by Axl—learned a valuable lesson about self-destruction: It really isn’t worth all of those strokes, heart attacks and jail time. Soon, Adler was shouting, “Hurrah for sobriety! Double hurrah for unlawful termination suits!” and supplementing late-’80s anthems with inner-’60s-child musings. While his Appetite is no Velvet Revolver, Adler has managed to get more gigs than his previous bandana-clad boss, thereby informing his healthy perspective on it all. “When we were growing up and playing around, you had fistfights, but nobody pulled out a gun or a knife. It was a different scene back then,” he told Glam-Metal.com. Velvet Room, 145 W. 200 South, 8:30 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499.
Jim Brickman (Capitol Theatre, Jan. 6-8). Ty Herndon (Velvet Room, Jan. 8). Showdown to SXSW Prelims (Various, Jan. 8). Minnie Driver (Eccles Center, Jan. 15). Michael Franti & Spearhead (Suede, Jan. 21). Calexico (Egos, Jan. 22). Snocore Tour (In the Venue, Jan. 23). Cake (Suede, Jan. 24). Scissor Sisters (Suede, Jan. 25). Tony Furtado (Velvet Room, Jan. 25). Bowling for Soup (In the Venue, Jan. 26). Cher (Delta Center, Jan. 31).