Juan MacLean, King's X, Femi Kuti, Lemonheads, John Cowan | Music | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Juan MacLean, King's X, Femi Kuti, Lemonheads, John Cowan

Live: Music Picks June 11-16



Thursday 6.11
The Juan MacLean have the potential to deliver a live show as bubbly and breathtaking as that of fellow DFA label mates LCD Soundsystem. To what extent the music created by John MacLean (formerly of Six Finger Satellite) and Nancy Whang (the female voice cheering her guts out on LCD’s “North American Scum”) will inspire audience members to apathetically sway like androgynous robots or jump up and down like kids on Pop Rocks is anyone’s guess. The new The Future Will Come contains both extended house anthems and, as the Juan MacLean widely acknowledge, sterile ’80s deadpandelivered lines a la Human League. Tour mate The Field’s latest album Yesterday and Today features Battles drummer John Stanier adding to the organic side of the Swedish artist’s electronic productions. It’s hypnotic material that flows like dry ice in vodka. Do not miss local opener Laserfang who bring increasing amounts of mind-blowing noise and go-gogadget magic to each new live show. The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 10 p.m. Tickets: 24Tix.com

Friday 6.12

Commercial appeal isn’t always the golden goose it’s cracked up to be. Oftentimes bands hit the Top 40 one year and the next the American public is fawning over the latest Idol or manufactured tween band to hit Today. And so, occasionally, it pays to be a band like King’s X who’ve coasted on a wave of critical acclaim and devoted cult fandom since their official debut in ’88. Incorporating elements of metal and progressive rock, their sound is melodic, passionate and capable of inspiring impromptu fist-pumps from even first-time listeners. They might not be “hip,” but they’re super pro. Watch for guitarists drooling in the front row. Club Vegas, 445 S. 400 West, 8 p.m. Tickets: SmithsTix.com

Sunday 6.14

On May 29, Nigerian authorities shut down Femi Kuti’s long-running Africa Shrine, a popular Lagos venue for music, dance, discussion and dissent. Judging by Kuti’s history with government and law enforcement officials—a tense relationship that dates back to his father, legendary Afrobeat godfather Fela Kuti—it’s likely the latter two activities prompted the Shrine’s abrupt closure, though official reports cite “noise nuisance,” among similar offenses. The crackdown came one week before Kuti hit the road for a tour that reaches Utah tonight, offering more fuel for the political fire that propels much of his lively sets of Afrobeat material that while influenced by Fela are smoother, more compact and eclectic—music designed to appeal to audiences beyond the obsessive audiophile. Femi Kuti combines thought-provoking content with hip-shaking instrumentation that will have you dancing across the outdoor amphitheater. If his set doesn’t bring a smile, Bela Fleck and Toumani Diabete will make up the difference. On his latest album, Fleck, an accomplished banjoist with an eclectic approach to bluegrass reaches new heights with material seeped in South African tradition. Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Way, 7 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: RedButteGarden.com

Monday 5.15

Never thought I’d see the day when Kate Moss and Townes Van Zandt appeared in the same liner notes, but stranger things have happened. Perhaps less bizarre, but still rather curious, is Evan Dando making a comeback with the Lemonheads by releasing a grab-bag collection of covers. Varshons, out June 23 on The End Records, features a wildly eclectic track listing with numbers by Wire, Van Zandt, Gram Parsons, G.G. Allin and Leonard Cohen whose “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” includes a duet with actress Liv Tyler. Produced by Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers), the LP takes on a largely country/ folk tone with the exception of “Dirty Robot,” a stiff, catchy dance number pairing Moss (sounding a bit like Metric’s Emily Haines) with computerized chorus. Varshons succeeds in fits and starts, culminating in a less bombastic version of “Beautiful” which, minus Christina Aguilera, is a surprisingly effective tearjerker. Liquid Joe’s, 1249 E. 3300 South, 9 p.m. Tickets: 24Tix.com

Tuesday 6.16

Pat’s BBQ kicks off its summer series with John Cowan whose versatile talents lend themselves to a number of projects including Grooveyard, The John Cowan Band and Cowan/Scott/Flynn which reunites him with fellow New Grass Revival pioneers Darrel Scott and Pat Flynn. A seasoned bassist/ vocalist with a resume that includes a brief stint in the Doobie Brothers along with session work and tours galore, Cowan has his craft down flat and is continually discovering fresh ways to reinvent the wheel. Pat’s BBQ, 155 W. Commonwealth Ave, 7 p.m. Allages. Info: 801-484-5963

Coming Up

Dusty Rhodes & The River Band
(Urban Lounge, June 18); Smokey Robinson (Red Butte Garden, June 19); Au Revoir Simone (Kilby Court, June 19); Marc Cohn (Sandy Amphitheater, June 20); Shawn Colvin (Thanksgiving Point, June 20); The Kris Special (Kilby Court, June 21); Railroad Earth (Depot, June 22); Green Sky Bluegrass (Star Bar, June 23); Bill Callahan (Urban Lounge, June 24); Andre Rieu (Usana Amphitheater, June 25)