Live Music Picks: May 31-June 6 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Music » Music Picks

Live Music Picks: May 31-June 6

George Winston, Salt Lake Metal Fest 2018, Hockey Dad, Blue Water Highway and more.

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  • Steve Lankford

George Winston
Like many budding musicians, pianist George Winston was drawn to the classics early on—not necessarily the music of Beethoven and Mozart, but rather more recent keyboard heroes like Floyd Cramer, Booker T. Jones, Jimmy Smith and the like. His early musical signposts found a common core in rock, jazz, blues and soul, but as he grew older and pursued a professional career, he helped forge a sound that fell under the broad umbrella of New Age, an approach that inspired a deeper, more sensual appreciation of music and the moods it inspires. His solo piano recordings have become best-sellers, but while he's best known for his meditative melodies, he's also expanded his palette to incorporate the music of Vince Guaraldi, The Doors and the sounds of Appalachia, adding guitar and harmonica to his instrumental inventory. In addition, he's also known for producing a series of recordings featuring Hawaiian slack-key guitar. He sums up his style by labelling it as "rural folk piano," a term that best describes his understated delivery. A survivor both professionally and personally—he's had several serious bouts with cancer—Winston has carved a career by simply basking in the basics, an adroit combination that finds space for both atmosphere and aptitude. (Lee Zimmerman) The State Room, 638 S. State, 8 p.m. $35-$55, 21+,

Salt Lake Metal Fest 2018
In the 2005 documentary Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, Rob Zombie says being a metalhead is a "lifestyle"—a lifestyle that was created by a subculture of long-haired, battle-jacket-wearing, devil-horn-saluting folk who fought for their spot in the music industry. Metal has stood the test of time, but it hasn't been easy. If anyone knows the uphill battle of keeping metal viable in a city's local scene, it's Gene O'Campo, the man behind Salt Lake Metal Fest. Although Utah is ripe with headbangers, keeping metal alive in the Beehive State has been a 13-year mission for O'Campo. It's led the "plumber by day, promoter by night" to some of Utah's most passionate musicians just looking for a little exposure. The third annual fest at The Royal promises a lineup that would make the metal gods proud, hosting more than a dozen of the city's fastest, heaviest metal bands for an all-day, all-night event—from veteran bands like SugarBone that captivate a crowd with their signature energetic stage presence, to Southern Utah rockers Aura Surreal, hailing from St. George. This metal storm also brings with it Shadowseer, Dipped In Whiskey and many more. And the event is strong enough to attract out-of-state bands such as Traitors Gate and Resistance to rock Zion this year. Things are looking good for this fest, so for those about to rock, I salute you. (Rachelle Fernandez) The Royal, 4760 S. 900 East, noon, $10 presale; $15 day of show, 21+,

  • Joseph Crackett

Hockey Dad, Cold Fronts, Mt. Eddy
For a band comprised of two unassuming Aussie dudes, Hockey Dad sure can make a racket. Zach Stephenson's buzzy guitar riffs lock arms with Billy Fleming's firecracker drumming, hitting surf-punk, bummer-pop and psych-rock notes. The duo's 2016 debut full-length Boronia drew rave reviews for its summery energy, but onstage, Hockey Dad really scores. The rambunctious pair—who grew up two doors apart in the salty New South Wales suburb of Windang—run lean: guitar, amps, pedals, two mics and a drum kit that Fleming pummels within an inch of its life. Introspective depth demarcates Hockey Dad from the beach-pop pack, though. Sophomore follow-up Blend Inn hit No. 6 on the Australian charts, and No. 5 in New Zealand, thanks to a weightier punch engineered by Seattle producer John Goodmanson (Bikini Kill, Cloud Nothings, Sleater-Kinney). Blend Inn's lyrics are more contemplative, too, especially on moody blues like "Homely Feeling" and "Whatever." Even "Join the Club" defies expectations, its infectious pace masking a critique of didactic Instagram conformity: "You better be happy/ You better be healthy/ You better be pretty/ You better be skinny/ You better have money/ You better be funny/ It's not too hard/ To join the club." SLC marks the seventh stop of a 25-night North American marathon, which comes on the heels of a 13-day U.K./Europe run. As Fleming said before its February release, Blend Inn captures "the part of your head that you want to go to when you're overseas and wishing you were back home ... [especially] when you're surrounded by heaps of people and kinda freakin' out." (Nick McGregor) Kilby Court, 741 Kilby Court, 7 p.m. $13 presale; $15 day of show, all ages,

  • April Rankin

Blue Water Highway, Parker Rudd
Taking their name from the stretch of road running along the Gulf of Mexico from Freeport, La., to Galveston, Texas, Blue Water Highway emulates the diverse cultural landscape that the road intersects by reflecting its inherent sounds through a mix of rock, roots, blues and zydeco. Like good gumbo, they stir those ingredients in measured proportions that best represent each of those seminal styles. After their initial self-titled EP and full-length follow-up, Things We Carry, the band's now on the verge of unveiling their sophomore set, Heartbreak City, on June 8. Still, the best way to experience this band is by witnessing them in concert, where their infectious enthusiasm is allowed to fully flourish. Indeed, the new album promises to deliver a more rocking and robust sound than before, one that bows to the band's initial desire to present themselves as a tight-knit unit similar in its stance to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. The folkier aspects of their earlier sound have largely given way to those more effusive intents, but their populist precepts remain intact along with their celebratory stance. With their effusive harmonies, assured instrumental skills and instinctive dynamics, Blue Water Highway provides for a truly satisfying sojourn. (LZ) Kilby Court, 741 Kilby Court, 7 p.m, $10-$15,

  • Sequoia Ziff

Nightmares on Wax, Catching Flies, DJ Juggy
George Evelyn's long-running electronica project Nightmares on Wax released its first album—A Word of Science: The First and Final Chapter—back in 1991, fusing hip-hop breakbeats with unique low-end sounds to the delight of ravers everywhere. But that was a long time ago. Founding members Kevin Harper and Robin Taylor-Firth walked out on the project in the mid-'90s, leaving Evelyn to persevere with a loose collective of DJs and players. He's since distanced himself from the rave scene and become a seminal figure in the downtempo electronic music movement along with the likes of Moby and Kruder & Dorfmeister. Nightmares on Wax's 2006 single "You Wish" samples the 1968 soul song "Love-Eye-Tis" by Judy Clay and has become a classic example of the downtempo genre (other notables include "Flip Ya Lid" and "Les Nuits"). Listeners probably notice the formula: Evelyn finds a serviceable groove and rides it out for the duration, preferring to add expressive, jazzy-sounding flourishes in the background rather than allowing the songs to morph into something else entirely. As such, Nightmares on Wax makes the perfect background music—something to put on while you're cooking, cleaning, studying or even meditating. (Howard Hardee) Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., $20 presale; $22 day of show, 21+

  • Rick Diamond

Arrowfest: Styx, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Tesla
Time travel can take many forms. Of course, the most common means of transportation occurs by retracing memories through music. Styx sized up those sentiments through the lyrics to one of their most indelible songs, "Come Sail Away." True, it's mostly about a sci-fi sojourn, but given Styx' penchant for cinematic prog pop, it could also be open to interpretation. At the very least, this headlining bill featuring two of the more popular outfits from the '70s and '80 sets up the possibility for a tuneful trip back in time. One can also credit Joan Jett and the Blackhearts for ensuring another kind of immortality via their eternal anthem "I Love Rock and Roll," a song which forever conveys the exuberance and enthusiasm that accompanies devotion. Both bands were responsible for reliable radio fare back in the day, and since radio is the best resource for reviving music's more blissful moments, an event like Arrowfest ought to further affirm those lingering impressions. With Styx celebrating more than 45 years of active duty and Jett retaining her insurgent attitude as she approaches her 60th birthday this fall, here's proof that classic rock remains as resilient as ever. (Lee Zimmerman) USANA Amphitheatre, 5150 Upper Ridge Road, West Valley City, 7 p.m, $29.50-$350,