MINUS THE BEAR
How do you measure ingenuity? For Seattle-based quintet Minus the Bear, it’s all about wacky track titles (“Hey, Wanna Throw Up? Get Me Naked!”) and clever pseudonyms (Ezilla, Funzo, Rico, FIMD, Batman). When it comes to musical prowess, however, these math/art rockers come correct with serious chops. They Make Beer Commercials Like This, their second EP on Suicide Squeeze, boasts a diaspora of metal and dance—play it on a date with that androgynous headbanger and he/she will be yours, always and forever. Amen. Kilby Court, 741 S. 331 West, 7:30 p.m. Info: 320-9887.
Also Thursday: Mellowdrone (Lo-Fi Café).
TED LEO & THE PHARMACISTS
Unlike select Hollywood glitterati mocked in Team America: World Police, musician Ted Leo isn’t seeking any soapbox photo-ops—from his perspective, politics and music are inseparable forces. His bosom-buddies aesthetic is rooted in early East Coast hardcore, where performers like Ian MacKaye taught street kids the meaning of social justice. Leo is a bit more relaxed, infusing punk with elements of folk and soul. Shake the Sheets, the newest effort from TL/RX, is a good-time album offering dreams of better access to health care. In the dawn of “four more years” it’s comforting to have someone lead us through the muck. Kilby Court, 741 S. 331 West, 7:30 p.m. Info: 320-9887.
Success is fleeting—unless you’ve got the right hook. Take Bond, for example. This classical string quartet carves a niche in an oft-overlooked market with its winning combination of long legs and electric violins. Seventeen Magazine picked them as one of the girl groups you’ve got to like. Maxim is also a fan, presenting different reasons for its “mature” readership to jump on board the Bond-wagon—“they look great plucking their G-strings.” It’s as if Mannheim Steamroller replaced its regular crew with hot British-Australians in various states of disrobe. Genius. Peery’s Egyptian Theatre, 2415 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 8 p.m. Tickets: 801-395-3227.
Also Friday: The Ten Tenors (Kingsbury Hall); Concrete Blonde (Velvet Room); Australian Pink Floyd Show (E Center); Ying Yang Twins (Teazers, Ogden).
Concept albums are risky business. Then again, so are songs about suburban ennui. Berkeley-based punk trio Green Day managed to succeed on both ends, starting with their slaphappy ode to masturbation on 1994’s Dookie—a catchy anthem for angst-ridden youth. Ten years later, Billie Joe & Co. have pulled out all the stops, banking an unexpected comeback on a monumental rock opera. American Idiot is an opera that, if not as epic as the Who’s Tommy, certainly demonstrates how snot-nosed gutterpunks evolve into respectable composers. Not bad for a band whose fame could have culminated as a response to ’90s-themed Trivial Pursuit. E Center, 3200 S. Decker Lake Dr., West Valley City, 7 p.m. (with New Found Glory).
Also Saturday: Mother Hips, Court & Spark (Ego’s); Presidents of the USA (Velvet Room); Bitch (Mo Diggity’s); Bluebottle Kiss (Sugarbeats); Swamp Donkeys Reunion (Burt’s Tiki Lounge).
Groovy Ghoulies, Jackass (Lo-Fi Café).
RIVER CITY REBELS
During their reign as mayors of the Sunset Strip, Nikki Six and Tommy Lee got away with promoting typically inexcusable misogyny. Why? They f—kin’ rocked. Victory Records’ River City Rebels, on the other hand, need more than a CD booklet full of naked women to prove similar merit. Perhaps this seven-member army of tatted sinners will secure fame with Hate to Be Loved, an album produced by New York Dolls Sylvain Sylvain. Or maybe, just maybe, they’ll gain praise for lyrics bearing Andrew W.K-like flourish and insight: “F—king was never so f—k ... I’m so, I’m so vain. Baby, baby, baby, baby.” Not exactly “Shout at the Devil,” but you get the idea. Lo-Fi Café, 127 S. West Temple, 6:30 p.m. Info: 480-5634.
Also Monday: Ropeadope New Music Seminar (Suede); John Pizzarelli Trio (Abravanel Hall); Avril Lavigne (Delta Center).
Comparisons to Elvis Costello and Ben Folds only begin to describe Joe Knapp, leader of Saddle Creek Records quintet Son Ambulance. Besides nasal vocals and heavy piano, the group stumbles over itself to reach new ground. While their experiments on Key—from heartland rock to electronic interludes—sound amateurish at times, the haphazard arrangements are endearing enough to work. Bright Eyes devotees know Knapp as the second side of a split-EP, but if his latest effort is any indication, he’s found the secret to breaking out. “If I like the way it feels after I finish this next album, and if I get a good response, I’ll just keep doing it,” he told Lazy-I. Kilby Court, 741 S. 331 West, 7:30 p.m. Info: 320-9887.
The term “hardcore” apparently holds different meanings for different people. Take MTV, for example, whose rotating line-up includes Shadows Fall—a “hardcore” band featuring members in dreadlocks and basketball jerseys ready to bring the noise to TRL lovers across the nation. Upon closer inspection, however, it appears the group is just well schooled in Swedish death metal. Man, words are so misleading. Lo-Fi Café, 127 S. West Temple, 6:30 p.m. Info: 480-5634 (with Damageplan).
Also Tuesday: Shellshag (Urban Lounge); Particle (Suede); Mark Wills (Westerner).
The Used, My Chemical Romance (E Center).
High on Fire (Crazy Goat, Nov. 18). Del the Funky Homosapien (Velvet Room, Nov. 19). Agent Orange (Burt’s Tiki Lounge, Nov. 19). Everclear (Velvet Room, Nov. 20). These Arms Are Snakes (Lo-Fi Café, Nov. 21). Wilco (Kingsbury Hall, Nov. 22). Metallica (E Center, Nov. 22). Yellowcard (McKay Event Center, Nov. 22). The Fixx (Velvet Room, Nov. 23). Skinny Puppy (In the Venue, Nov. 24). R.E.M. (E Center, Nov. 26). Edith Frost (Crazy Goat, Dec. 6).