Live Music Picks: Dec. 20-26 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Music » Music Picks

Live Music Picks: Dec. 20-26

Eagle Twin, Royal Bliss, American Hitmen, Ol' Fashion Depot, Otep, Dine Krew, and more


  • Ruby Claire Johnson

FRIDAY 12/21
Eagle Twin, Swarmer, Mosida
Gentry Densley and Tyler Smith have been plying their doom metal trade as Eagle Twin for more than 10 years now. Incorporating blues and sludge into their unrelenting sonic attack, Densley growls and howls both behind the mic and on baritone guitar, playing a specialized self-built instrument and tube amp combo. The pair describe their heavy sound on their Facebook page as "epic compositions drawing upon the collective unconscious," and there's a mystical component to Eagle Twin's dual attack. But the music is more than just a pummeling vehicle for headbanging; with lyrics inspired by poet Ted Hughes' Crow and Biblical mythology involving snakes and serpents, Eagle Twin meld animism and humanism. Such narratives sound even more intense given Densley's vocal style, which channels Tom Waits, Howlin' Wolf and even Tuvan throat singers from Central Asia. Familiar touchstones for metal fans not yet familiar with Eagle Twin include Pelican, Sunn O))) and Melvins, but these local titans have been at it for almost as long as those first two acts; for most of the '90s, Densley fronted legendary jazz/prog/hardcore fusion band Iceburn. The next generation of devotees is represented by desert metal band Swarmer, which celebrates the release of its debut EP Friday, while Mosida opens up the show. The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., $5, 21+,

  • Samantha Madnick

FRIDAY 12/21 & SATURDAY 12/22
Royal Bliss, American Hitmen, Outside Infinity
Local rock titans Royal Bliss return home for the closing weekend of their annual Merry Blissmas tour, which started last month in Cedar City before stopping in Colorado, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin over a marathon eight-day run. The celebratory homecoming makes sense: In a May interview with the Deseret News, lead singer Neal Middleton, who also owns popular nightclub The Royal, described Royal Bliss as "Utah's band." Such a proclamation might have seemed crazy 20 years ago, when the high school band got off to its reggae-inspired start. But through all the ups and downs—major-label record deals that fell through, Middleton's 34-foot fall from a balcony that almost paralyzed him, a shift from alternative radio to the hallowed country halls of CMT—Royal Bliss has stayed true to its blue-collar roots, providing supercharged rock for the rest of us. Already this year they've released two new songs, "Devil With Angel Eyes"—an update of longtime crowd favorite "Devils & Angels"—and "Hard and Loud," giving hardcore fans new shout-along moments to look forward to. "At the end of the day, we're a rock band," Middleton told the Deseret News. "I always look at it like a pizza. You have ingredients to a pizza and I think we're making a pretty sweet pizza right now." Friday: The Royal, 4760 S. 900 East, 8:30 p.m., $15 presale; $20 day of show, 21+,; Saturday: Kamikazes, 2404 Adams Ave., Ogden, 8 p.m., $15 presale; $20 day of show, 21+,

  • Cooley

Ol' Fashion Depot, Lovely Noughts, RCS
Accepting the mantle of local blues band par excellence once Tony Holiday left for Memphis, Ol' Fashion Depot has been everywhere lately. In December alone, Brendan Nunley, J-Rad Cooley, Jay Seamons, Josh Karrick and Josh Fox have played live on KRCL 90.9 FM, headlined the Utah Blues Society's annual membership appreciation party, set up shows in Las Vegas and Sun Valley, Idaho, and brought their unique blend of jazz, soul, rock and blues to the northern and southern ends of Salt Lake Valley. This headlining appearance at Kilby Court is extra special because the ever-shifting lineup has recently started tracking new material at Midnight Records Productions after their extremely busy year. Providing support are rock trios Lovely Noughts and RCS, who seem to appear on almost as many standout local bills as Ol' Fashion Depot. Kilby Court, 741 W. Kilby Court, 7 p.m., $7, all ages,

  • PR Brown

SUNDAY 12/23
Otep, The World Over, Disengaged, Truce in Blood
Returning to Utah just six months after her last visit, Otep Shamaya has clearly found a captive audience here. Perhaps that's because, as the frontwoman of her eponymous metal band and as an outspoken activist, the California native isn't shy about speaking up. Whether it's about LGBTQ issues or militant veganism, Otep makes it clear where she stands. That's crystal clear on her recent album, Kult 45, which takes direct aim at President Donald Trump, who Otep calls a "morally corrupt demagogue." Otep co-produced Kult 45 with guitarist Aristotle Mihalopoulos, churning out a polished product that nonetheless captures the full band's legendary live energy, often described by its fearless leader as "spiritual intercourse." Calling out patriarchal American culture, neo-Nazi white supremacist groups and the two faces of evangelical religion, Otep doesn't hold her fire against anyone. "What I say is meant to provoke," she told City Weekly in July. "I'm not afraid to stand by it. I just make sure I know what I'm upset about." Catch Otep in a more intimate setting at Liquid Joe's and join in the resistance-fueled chorus. Liquid Joe's, 1249 E. 3300 South, 7 p.m., $15 presale; $20 day of show, 21+,

Dine Krew, Zac Ivie, Dirt First, Auratorikal, DJ Mixter Mike Augustus King
Amorphous local hip-hop collective Dine Krew has been relatively quiet as of late. Sure, lead MC Harrison "Erasole James" Montgomery dropped a mind-bending full-length collaboration with Las Vegas-via-Long Island producer Phil A in August that furthers the Dine Krew aesthetic, all sleepy beats and effortless rhymes that flow like a mountain creek. But the full group hasn't uploaded anything to their Soundcloud account since 2017, when Montgomery's fellow MC Shelby "ShelbaDine" Washington dropped a slew of sick singles. Still, we know Dine Krew's potential—2013 EP Dine and Dash earned a rave review from City Weekly, praising the obscure samples of producer Andrew "DK Piccolo" Auman and the artful narratives of Washington and Harrison, while follow-up releases by James and Auman as WE-ET's have become local lore. With founding members Larsen Bernard and Josh Marty, Dine Krew has evolved into a last bastion of old-school rap elegance, mining the outer edges of jazz-influenced Native Tongues territory and MF Doom eccentricity to create their own Salt Lake City-bred identity. Don't miss this post-Christmas celebration with other local standouts like Zac Ivie, Dirt First, Auratorikal and DJ Mixter Mike Augustus King. The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., free, 21+,

Gorgeous Gourds
Feeling the post-Christmas blues? Buried in used wrapping paper, overwhelmed by dirty dishes or just sick and tired of the commercialization of one of our most sacred holidays? Five-piece jam band Gorgeous Gourds will shake you out of that haze and help you kick off an extended celebration of 2018's last week. Combining smooth harmonies and tasty explorations of classic rock, folk, blues and psychedelia, Gorgeous Gourds pleases Salt Lake City fans with choice covers by Grateful Dead, The Meters, The Beatles, JJ Cale, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones. With Fred Hayes on bass, Bob Smith on drums, Bill Baer on acoustic guitar and glockenspiel, Heather McCartin on fiddle and Lucas Jones on electric guitar, these itinerant jam masters know a good time when they see one—good thing they're experts at instigating one, too. Infusing their cheerful catalog with deep grooves, winking innuendo and enough smiles to fill every floor of Gracie's, Gorgeous Gourds rock you in their trademark "meta-4/4 time." (Nick McGregor) Gracie's, 326 W. South Temple, 10 p.m., 21+,