LIVE MUSIC PICKS: MAY 2-8 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Music » Music Picks


Taking Back Sunday, The Maine, Nick Waterhouse, Ben Pirani, Monolord, The Ditch & The Delta, Sleeping Tigers, and more


  • Natalie Escobedo

Taking Back Sunday, The Maine
Back in the early 2000s, Taking Back Sunday became the soundtrack to an entire generation's teen years, borrowing enough sugary pop-punk hooks to win over the mainstream, while folding in enough rough post-hardcore influences to retain some degree of artistic credibility. Their 2002 debut Tell All Your Friends proved this to be such a winning formula that the next decade saw it endlessly copied and tweaked by dozens of like-minded acts to become one of the defining sounds of 2000s rock. The band finally managed to cash in on the sound they helped create with their 2006 major-label debut Louder Now and its hit single "MakeDamnSure." Afterward, they released successful albums, but struggled to evolve their sound until 2016's Tidal Wave, which completely upended their signature style in favor of a more mature and diverse sound that has drawn comparisons to everything from Bruce Springsteen to The Ramones. Taking Back Sunday is currently on tour in celebration of their 20th anniversary and are stopping by for two dates at The Complex. They are supported by The Maine, a band that followed in Taking Back Sunday's footsteps to evolve an emo-pop sound that would become a pop-punk staple in the mid- and late-aughts. (Nic Renshaw) The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, 7:45 p.m., May 2-3, $35 presale, all ages,

  • Zach Lewis

Nick Waterhouse, Ben Pirani
Where many modern-day R&B revivalists rely on raucous energy and sweaty stage hysterics, Nick Waterhouse exudes studious sophistication. Across four full-length albums, the Southern California native has blended classic rock 'n' roll, jazz, soul and swing to elegant effect. Sassy horn sections and propulsive percussion units fit organically alongside Waterhouse's refined guitar strums. On the artist's new self-titled album, released in March on taste-making label Innovative Leisure, analog warmth bleeds through thanks to production by Paul Butler and home-run contributions from collaborators steeped in everything from outsider indie rock to gypsy punk, traditional jazz and hip-hop. Waterhouse's voice cracks with intensity on lead single "Song for Winners," evoking the fiery classicism that ignites him and the modern-day cool he cloaks himself in. "Your experience of innocence has ended," Waterhouse sings. "What a stately dance/ I look at you and wonder/ Conjurer or victim of circumstance?" Find out which path this Renaissance man will take at The Urban Lounge. (Nick McGregor) The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., $17 presale; $20 day of show, 21+,

  • Hank Olsen

Monolord, The Ditch & The Delta, Sleeping Tigers
If any band dare cover Black Sabbath, they better do it right. And if said band are daring enough to take an axe-swing at a Black Sabbath song, the epic tune that is "Fairies Wear Boots" provides a fitting way to measure their sheer guts. What better go-to tune for smoking and tripping than a song about smoking and tripping? If we are being quite honest, it ain't doom if there's not at least one Black Sabbath cover somewhere. The band in question is Sweden's retro sludge-heads Monolord. I will admit, there's no Tony Iommi on the six-string, but their cover of the hazy classic is one of many Monolord tunes that have caught the attention of the stateside metal masses. The Gothenburg trio proves that Swedes can be just as loud and distorted as the rest of the NOLA-style sludge- and doom-metal world. Their success is not due just to Thomas V. Jäger's reverbed monotone voice seeping through the mic on "Empress Rising," or Esben Willems' sledgehammer chops or Mika Häkki's core-shaking bass. There's something more that keeps drawing fans of today to Monolord's sludge and doom. "We realized pretty quick that we are onto something and that our fanbase is growing," Jäger explained to music journalist Steve Fallows about how Monolord came to rise on the scene just after the trio released Rust in 2017; "This makes us motivated!" Jäger might not know what the band's secret sauce is either, but who cares? Monolord continues to securely fasten a spot for the new generation of sludge and doom metal in this high-speed world of online streaming and one-hit wonders. (Rachelle Fernandez) Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court, 7 p.m., $13 presale; $15 day of show, all ages,


Tom Odell
Had it not been for his string of successes, England's Tom Odell could have been considered a hard-luck case. He hid his talent as a songwriter early on because he thought he would be considered uncool. His early experience at open-mic nights proved equally humiliating, given that he had to lug a portable keyboard and suffer the insults of uncaring crowds. Even after he was given a record contract, misfortune continued to follow him when his car was stolen only weeks after he bought it. Fortunately, his luck seemed to change once he started releasing records; his kudos include the Brit Award as Critics' Choice, an Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year and numerous nominations from a number of other impressive institutions. Still, there's an uncommon melancholia in Odell's music, a sad and somber sound for someone who's still just shy of 30. He says his songs are inspired by failed relationships, and yet the melodies soar, fueled by passion and emotion. The results make for a powerful set of songs, as illuminated by the trio of albums he's released so far—Long Way Down, Wrong Crowd and Jubilee Road. Comparisons to Elton John, Billy Joel, David Bowie, Jeff Buckley and Tom Waits run rampant, but in truth this waif-like auteur is his own man, downcast demeanor included. (Lee Zimmerman) The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, 8 p.m., $25, all ages,

  • Jim Mangan

The Japanese House, Art School Girlfriend

Don't let the cryptic band name fool you—Amber Bain's sensual electronic pop might hide behind a moniker, but it's about as personal and direct as music gets. Singing in a languid voice about the barbed intricacies of heartbreak, couplings, compromise and longing, the Brit and her debut album Good at Falling land squarely amid an audience hungry for realistic portrayals of queer relationships. Although the 23-year-old producer, songwriter, vocalist and guitarist continually references her crippling anxiety and introversion on songs like "Lilo" and "We Talk All the Time," their devastating confidence is enhanced by details ripped right from Bain's life. "Marika Is Sleeping," for instance, is about Bain watching her ex-girlfriend, whose real name is Marika, sleep off a bout of alcohol poisoning while vacationing in Bulgaria. The song even presaged a breakup that eventually unfurled in real life. "I write prophetic shit," Bain told GQ in March. "I don't know if I'm making it happen because I've written it down. As a human, you sense the truth around you whether you believe it or not." With rave reviews from The New York Times, Newsweek and Noisey under her belt and young fans across the globe pining for The Japanese House's revelatory, romantic take on modern pop, don't miss the opportunity to see Amber Bain bring Salt Lake City to tears for the first time. (NM)The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, 8 p.m., $18 presale; $20 day of show, all ages,

  • Mike Brooks

Vandoliers, Cory Branan, The Wayne Hoskins Band
Consider it an ideal double bill, this tag-team performance by insurgent Texas outfit known as Vandoliers, and Cory Branan, a singer-songwriter from the southerly environs of Oxford, Miss. Both boast a renegade reputation as rowdy raconteurs. Vandoliers' latest album, tellingly titled Forever, bears that out, thanks to the explosive mix of sass and sway they imbue in each insurgent anthem and frenzy-fueled rocker. Their punk origins are obvious, but with hints of rowdy Celtic rock, Tejano trappings and an overall edge, it's fitting that these so-called "Converse Cowboys" refer to their music as "Ameri-kinda." That's a product of their confidence and clarity, elements infused into each of the efforts they've parlayed throughout their relatively brief three years. It might be cow-punk by definition, but it's far more riveting than anything from posers. For his part, Branan comes across as a man who's simultaneously dour and downcast, and it's that antagonistic attitude that informs the five albums he's released over the course of his 20-year career. It ought to be apparent that their upcoming show isn't geared for the faint of heart, but then again, listeners can expect the essence of authentic southern rock and Americana, albeit with a modern motif. (Lee Zimmerman) Metro Music Hall, 615 W. 100 South, 8 p.m., $12 presale; $15 day of show, 21+,