Live Music Picks: July 27-August 2 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Music » Music Picks

Live Music Picks: July 27-August 2

Free Salamander Exhibit, 90s Television, Lucinda Williams, Camila and more.

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  • Free Salamander Exhibit

Thursday 7/27
Free Salamander Exhibit, 2-Headed Whale, Red Bennies, The Moths
In the beginning (aka the '80s), there was Idiot Flesh. In the minuscule but flamboyant arena of avant-garde theatrical music groups—with all their bizarre costumes, puppet shows and household objects used as musical instruments—this Bay Area conglomerate was arguably the prototype. Every performance made you feel like you were standing outside a tent of hippie circus sideshow freaks at Burning Man. Idiot Flesh begat Sleepytime Gorilla Museum in 1999, and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum in 2013 begat Free Salamander Exhibit. Singer/multi-instrumentalist Nils Frykdahl—the de facto leader of all three experimental/art rock groups—is also known for his collaboration with partner Dawn McCarthy in her indie folk outfit Faun Fables, as well as other projects. FSE is his most recent creation, and four of five members of SGM came along for the ride for their debut album Undestroyed (Web of Mimicry, 2016). Local openers are 2-Headed Whale, Red Bennies and The Moths. (Brian Staker) Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., $8 presale, $10 day of show, 21+,

  • Jeremy Devine

Kurt Vile and the Violators, Whitney, 90s Television
Indie singer/guitar-slinger Kurt Vile is probably so popular among the cognoscenti because his genuineness is magnetic. There are no musical or lyrical shortcuts on his releases, and the honesty of his songwriting is refreshing in an age of recycled retro music and canned mashups. Special guest Whitney features the songwriting duo guitarist Max Kakacek and singer/drummer Julien Ehrlich from the defunct but beloved Smith Westerns. The Chicago group's debut, Light Upon the Lake (Secretly Canadian), released in June, is already garnering critical plaudits for its songwriting depth and instrumental proficiency. Local 90s Television provide the perfect complement to the bill. Armed with well-smithed songs variously inspired by the Beatles, skinny-tie power pop and Tall Dwarfs-esque indie rock, their own silly but genuine act—replete with props and set dressing that live up to the band's name—will set a fun tone for a night full of incredible tunes. (BS) Pioneer Park, 350 S. 300 West, 7 p.m., $7.50 presale, $10 day of show, all ages,

  • David McClister

Thursday & Friday 7/27-28
Lucinda Williams, Buick 6
There's a reason these two performances are sold out. No matter which Lucinda Williams album you start with, whether it's her 1979 debut Ramblin' (Folkways), her 1998 classic Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (Mercury) or last year's The Ghosts of Highway 20 (on her own Highway 20 label), you will sit with it from beginning to end—and ride the emotional roller coaster therein. The singer-songwriter has a way of getting to the very core of the human condition, such that she seems to know the ghosts within us better than we do. So listening to her cinematic country balladry is an exercise in commiseration and renewal where we wallow, purge and start anew. If you've seen her live, as some of us did at Kingsbury Hall roughly a decade ago, you know how powerful this effect is when Williams is in the room, singin' to us in that wearily sincere mumble of hers. She makes us own those low-lows, and know we're not alone, and that's worth big bucks. Buick 6 performs an opening set each night before backing Williams. (Randy Harward) The State Room, 638 S. State, 8 p.m., sold out (tickets possibly available via Lyte), 21+,

  • Soledad Esperanza

Saturday 7/29
We've been enjoying an influx of awesome Mexican bands lately, with shows by some of our neighboring country's biggest acts—including Cuca and Molotov—not to mention a ton of local bands like Cenizas Ajenas, Leyenda Oculta, La Calavera and De Despedida. So of course, when there's a market for music, it will attract all kinds—including polished pop acts, which sums up the duo Camila. Call 'em Maroon Cinco—commercial and proud. Although that's not my personal cup of horchata, it bodes well for rock en español in Salt Lake City, because if there's enough of an audience for the pop acts to start showin' up, then we'll see a lot more of the indie acts. So bienvenidos, Camila. (RH) The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, 7 p.m., $24.50 presale, $29.50 day of show, 21+,

  • Beate Grams/

Jason Ricci
Modern blues is littered with superior harp players, so credit Jason Ricci for carving out a distinctive niche not only through his versatility across a wide array of genres, but also in establishing a cult of personality that encompasses both the personal and the professional. Aside from being a musician, he's a proud gay man, a skateboard enthusiast and a former punk practitioner who boasts a lengthy rap sheet for various felony convictions. Legend has it that he originally took his nom de plume, Moon Cat, to avoid the authorities. It's little surprise then that Ricci's music combines a hint of stealth with a sneer. That's evident both on his own and through his efforts with others—most notably, his contribution to the late Johnny Winter's Grammy-winning record Step Back (Megaforce, 2014). A multiple Blues Award nominee and 2010 winner (Best Harmonica Player), Ricci also counts Zac Brown, Tom Morello, Junior Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside, Nick Curran and Walter Trout among his many collaborators. Granted, Ricci's rough-and-tumble image might seem somewhat intimidating, but as a teacher and activist for LGBTQ rights, mental health and substance abuse care, his sentiments are sincere. Ricci rocks, but he's righteous as well. (Lee Zimmerman) The Garage on Beck, 1199 Beck St., 9 p.m., $10, 21+,

  • Liz Linder

Monday 7/31
The Fixx
U.K. new wave quintet The Fixx is no one-hitter, but of all their hits—like "Red Skies," "Stand or Fall," "Saved by Zero" or "Are We Ourselves?"—the slick, funky "One Thing Leads to Another" is their signature song. But true to its title, the lead track from their sophomore album Reach the Beach (MCA, 1983) leads you to these other hits and more. The Fixx's discography, you see, bleeds killer deep cuts, especially songs recorded for film soundtracks, like "Deeper and Deeper" (featured in the 1984 film Streets of Fire and subsequently tacked onto the reissue of Beach) and "Letter to Both Sides" (from the 1985 film Fletch). Technically, there's another one, if we count a collaboration featuring Fixx vocalist Cy Curnin and the band's producer, Rupert Hine: "With One Look," from the 1985 cult film Better Off Dead. Naturally, with Curnin's familiar vox and Hine's production, it sounds just like a Fixx tune—brooding, mysterious and subtly optimistic. Although these tracks are a digression away from the group's main canon, they ultimately lead you back to their studio albums, where you'll find many more hidden gems. (RH) The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, 7 p.m., $24.50 presale, $29.50 day of show, 21+,