Crucialfest—the local festival for lovers of hard, heavy music—is a different take on the festival experience. Instead of a large, open-air field hosting several stages, it's operated in the showcase format, with nine different showcases at three local venues, featuring three to six bands each night.
The Metro Bar lineup on Wednesday is headlined by Salt Lake City's very own Subrosa, who've recently completed their new album, For This We Fought the Battle of the Ages (Profound Lore). Among the offerings at the Art Garden that night are local riff-maestros Yeti Warlord and spoken-word artist, filmmaker and singer of straightedge hardcore band, Trial, Greg Bennick. Thursday, the Art Garden features mostly hardcore bands, including Denver's Muscle Beach, but also local prog band Your Meteor. If you're more into the metal/experimental side, that night at the Metro brings a rare show by esteemed local noise band Ether, as well as sludge-doom masters Invdrs and gonzo rock beast, Thunderfist. Friday at the Art Garden opens with local metal trio Making Fuck and punk-rock lunatics Discoid A and Scary Uncle Steve, while The Urban Lounge hosts a rare appearance by Form of Rocket (promoting the vinyl reissue of Se Puede Despedir a Todos).
On Saturday, Crucialfest wraps up with a locals-only night at The Urban Lounge, with the New Transit Direction, The Future of the Ghost and Heartless Breakers; a showcase by Wulf Blitzer at the Art Garden; and the festival headliner, Chicago prog-metal power trio Russian Circles, capping things off at the Metro. And that's just a sampling of the dozens of great bands Crucialfest founder Jarom Bischoff rounded up this year. So check out the rest online, then clear your weekend. Multiple venues (see site for details). Individual tickets $8-$15, full festival wristbands $50. Crucialfest.com.
Who'da thunk that in 2016 The Monkees—who debuted in 1965—would have a Top 10 album? Good Times! (Rhino), at one point this year, topped even Adele and Prince. That could be a testimony to The Monkees' lasting charms, but with surviving members Mickey Dolenz, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith (who, alas, isn't on the tour), receiving songwriting assistance from Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger (who also produced), Andy Partridge, Rivers Cuomo, Ben Gibbard, Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller, is their sound being updated for the new millennium? Or is a new(er) crop of songwriters discovering the virtues of this originally ersatz, made-for-TV quartet, showing off the influence of this group in a set that serves as an homage to the band's happy-go-lucky style? I suspect that the reason new Monkees music would make such a big splash is the affection for the band's classic material like "Last Train to Clarksville" and "I'm a Believer," and for the group itself. The Monkees are of a certain time, but also timeless. Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Way, 7:30 p.m., $47-$52, RedButteGarden.org
Utah Blues Festival
The Utah Blues Society's second-annual fundraiser, the Utah Blues Festival, is slated for a daylong event at the Gallivan Center. Headliners include Chicago blues and soul guitarist Ronnie Baker Brooks, American-born/Paris-based fretman Bernard Allison and singer/songwriter/string-bender Toronzo Cannon. With all three originally from Chicago, the festival has a definite emphasis on the Chicago blues style—electric and fiery, yet also gritty and sensual. That said, the fest also encompasses other blues varietals. Tony Holiday and the Velvetones, the band fronted by the UBS president himself, is a decidedly more Southern affair—likewise Jordan Young (Candy's River House), who is known to coax smokin' sounds from a cigar box guitar. And then there are the house-rockin' sounds of the long-running Sister Wives. With a youth showcase and workshops to beef up your chops on harmonica and slide guitar, the UBF is also a family-friendly event. The Gallivan Center, 239 S. Main, 1 p.m., $25-$219, UtahBluesFest.org
Eagulls, Outer Spaces
English post-punk band Eagulls' second full-length release for Partisan Records, Ullages, gets its title from an anagram of their eponymous 2014 full-length debut. Musically, in instrumental style as well as George Mitchell's vocals, it seems to echo Robert Smith of The Cure. Baltimore's Outer Spaces, in the title of their release A Shedding Snake, seems to both argue for indie-rock evolution/transformation and "the more things change, the more they stay the same." Does indie rock do more than play with the tropes and riffs of regular mainstream rock and render them ironically rendered/remembered? This remains to be seen, but Cara Beth Satalino's vocals bear more than a passing resemblance to one Kim Deal, for another '80s/'90s fix. Locals The Circulars and Muzzle Tung open. Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 7 p.m., $12, KilbyCourt.com
Big Business, Andy the Doorbum
Remember the Tight Bro's From Way Back When? Because, way back when, the Seattle indie-garage band rocked Kilby Court a time or two. Stoner band Big Business' members did time in various name bands like the Murder City Devils, the Melvins, Karp and even the Tight Bro's (misplaced apostrophe and all). Now based in Los Angeles, the two-piece—comprised of vocalist/bassist Jared Warren (the Tight Bro) and drummer Coady Willis—recalls indie heavy-metal duo C Average in their aural assault, if not their actual sound, "bass-ed," you might say, on a much more low-end sonic spectrum, as opposed to C Average's comparatively heavy treble. Any two musicians who were once the Melvins' rhythm section set the bar pretty high. Charlotte, N.C., experimental weirdo Andy the Doorbum, whose latest album is titled, The Fool (Alien/Native Movement), opens. The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., $12 in advance, $14 day of show, TheUrbanLoungeSLC.com
David Bazan, Laura Gibson
Both with Pedro the Lion and on his own, David Bazan (right) made his bones doing the minimalist singer-songwriter—but he's always had an affinity for electronic music (see his 2005 side project Headphones). Now, with his third solo album Blanco (Barsuk)—a collection of his monthly singles club releases—Bazan really leans on the electronics, veering into synth-pop territory. If change upsets you, know this: His songs are no less impactful in the new context. They remain confessional and commiserative—and, ultimately, even when he seems in the throes of a major bummer, uplifting. Laura Gibson opens, playing songs from her new one, Empire Builder. (Randy Harward) Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 7 p.m., $15 in advance, $17 day of show, KilbyCourt.comSATURDAY 6.18
U92 Old School Throwback Jam: Salt-N-Pepa, Vanilla Ice, Coolio, Tone Loc, Rob Base, Young MC, Color Me Badd, The Jets, Candyman
Time to brush up on your '80s and '90s hip-hop vocab. You know: Phat. Phresh. Phtupid. You might even wanna hit up a barber and get yourself a sweet flat-top fade—even taller than Kid's from Kid 'n Play. 'Cause tonight is all about nostalgia for the time when mainstream hip-hop and pop music was fun, even when it was kinda lame (lookin' at you, Ice). Now it's just lame (lookin' at you, Wiz). All of the acts on the bill tonight—even Vanilla Ice, in spite of his reinvention as a Juggalo, will make you see why the new guard is neither phat, fresh nor—well, actually, they are pretty stupid. Anyway, c'mon fatso—bust a move. (You want it, you got it ...) (Randy Harward) Vivint Smart Home Arena, 301 W. South Temple, 7:30 p.m., $35.50-$67.50, Smithstix.com