LIVE MUSIC PICKS: DEC. 19-25 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Music » Music Picks


Charlie Parr, Dead Horses, The Pelicants, Head Portals, Pillars, and more.


  • Darin Kamnetz

Charlie Parr, Dead Horses
With all due respect to the man, singer-songwriter, Charlie Parr appears far older than his 52 years. Then again, the fact that he hails from the heartland—Minnesota, to be precise—and travels around the country alone in an old automobile (often cooking meals over the manifold) provides him with a rugged existence that could account for his wizened appearance. Truth be told, he's lucky he's still active at all, given a recent skateboarding mishap that broke his shoulder and put the future of his performing in doubt. On the other hand, Parr is also ageless in some respects—especially because his material shares a timeless tapestry that references the sounds of Bob Dylan, Lightnin' Hopkins, Pete Seeger, Reverend Gary Davis and Woody Guthrie. It's not that he's out to imitate those icons, though he does emulate their populist approach. His music takes a cue from the elements that define Americana—roots, blues, folk and classic country. He delivers this vintage brew sans any embellishment beyond gutbucket guitar, dobro, banjo or whatever other fretted instrument he's toting at the time. "Won't somebody tell me what I'm doing here? Won't somebody tell me where I'm going?" he asks on the song "Hobo," a track off his recent self-titled album. We can't provide answers, but we can credit him for his perseverance. (Lee Zimmerman) The State Room, 638 S. State, 8 p.m., $17, 21+,

  • Ben Turok

The Pelicants, Head Portals, Pillars
There's a bit of jazz and a bit of math rock in The Pelicants' music. In fact, there's a lot of many things: progressive rock, trumpets, sax, a slight self-described Latin flavor. The group's 2015 album All Things Considered runs the gamut of all these in a 50-minute ballad that ebbs and flows—the sort of record you'd put on while you clean the house. The group produced the album via Kickstarter, where they reveal that they'd been writing the album for years during high school. Before entering college, the members agreed their work needed to be recorded before they went their separate ways. Seeing The Pelicants live, then, is itself a moment to capture in a bottle—whether the five-piece will ever play again consistently is unclear. But it's been four years since the release of All Things Considered, and with college behind them, they may be ready to regroup. Also playing is local band Head Portals. Please Be Kind, their August release, is an aggressively pleasant record with the kind of uplifting rock and that feels like it could fit as easily into the soundtrack to a Life is Strange game as it could a commercial for outdoor sports. (That's a compliment.) Their song "Sweet Tooth" is one of their swellest, most angrily heart-warming. Lastly, Pillars will also open—a post-rock band from Indianapolis playing long, winding rock that fits right in with their show-mates. (Parker S. Mortensen) Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court, 8 p.m. $7, all ages,

FRIDAY 12/20
Racist Kramer, I'm a Monster!, Fail to Follow
Nothing says "SLC legacy band" like a group that still has a functioning MySpace page stocked with their music—though the streamer doesn't work, indicating that Racist Kramer, the page's owner, may have been one of many victims of the big MySpace crash that lost thousands of musical files from ye olde musician pages. The decay of older internet platforms like MySpace, and the accompanying loss of files like that, is a sad thing. But it also goes to show that nothing really comes close to capturing music like seeing it live. Luckily for us, Racist Kramer is still doing just that. The band has been around forever—its members hailing from SLC and Holladay—and they made up parts of other popular SLC bands in the late '90s and early aughts. The four-piece plays fast, hard punk music that certainly speaks to the aforementioned eras, influenced by the likes of NOFX, Propaghandi, Strung Out and Goldfinger among many others—all bands they've notably also opened for over the years. They'll display their true punk talents to The Urban Lounge's Friendsmas Eve Punk Rock Xmas show, alongside fellow longtime punk devotees I'm a Monster! and Fail to Follow, all of them bringing a similar punchy, hardcore punk sound. Acoustic performances by Jason Coop, Zach & Bridget, Dana Schroyer and Matt Chiodo round out an evening benefitting the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition. Let yourself get sentimental this holiday season for a good cause, but also for the hard work of these true SLC punks—playing for you, live in the flesh. (Erin Moore) The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., free, 21+,

  • Austen Diamond

Michelle Moonshine
One of the first things to listen for in an Americana artist is whether they sing in their real voice. Americana is music for and about regular, working folks (albeit usually white ones), but plenty of young artists in the genre affect a dramatized honky-tonk voice of working folk that doesn't exist. On one end of the spectrum are artists like Lucinda Williams or Travis Meadows, who emote real dirt and tears. On the other end is an artist like Kid Rock, who despite having released a guilty-pleasure banger or two, built his entire career as a rich kid playing poor. Michelle Moonshine sings with her real voice—and she has a hell of a voice. It's why she received offers to perform on NBC's America's Got Talent and The Voice following the release of her 2015 EP Hell Bent—both of which she turned down. She would have performed well on either, no doubt, but in the meantime, she's continued to develop her Mountain West honky tonk evoking the early work of roots singers like Alison Krauss. Since then, Moonshine has continued to play regular shows throughout Northern Utah. And on social media, she's teased a soon-to-come original album, as well as a potential Townes Van Zandt cover album. Fans who have seen her emotional live performances are eager for either one, especially knowing that she's capable of producing breathtaking country laments like "Make You Mine." (Alex Murphy) The Yes Hell, 2430 Grant Ave., Ogden, 9 p.m., 21+,

  • Peter MacPherson

SUNDAY 12/22
The Delphic Quorum, The Holy Locust, The Owl Light
If you're first looking up The Delphic Quorum, they might seem disturbing and deranged. The Provo-based avant band (that's the simplest way to describe what they are, though not the most accurate, because they require many adjectives) has a myriad of influences, ranging from Frank Zappa and The Specials to Daughters and Tool. And, despite a Facebook page full of show poster art with aesthetics including the psychedelic, campy, mystical, kinky and gory, I was expecting something much ... well, at least louder from them upon listening to their album Day 5. It's a surprisingly meandering and ponderous piece of experimental electronica, oriented in the drone and ambient genres more than anything else. Their obsession with gloom and doom comes out in their videos, though, like the one for the song "Day 2," which features a clearly sad and suffering man covered in blood, tripping over bodies in what looks like a bachelor pad, a hunting lodge, or both. They find support in chaotically like-minded five-piece act Holy Locust. Hailing from Pittsburgh and New Orleans, but with their folktale-focused folk punk influenced by their world travels, they'll provide some vim and vigor to The Boxcar Studios' whimsical stage setup. Provo locals The Owl Light open up the night. (EM) The Boxcar Studios, 156 W. 500 South, Provo, 6 p.m., free, all ages,