LIVE MUSIC PICKS: MAY 9-15 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

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LIVE MUSIC PICKS: MAY 9-15

Joshua James, Uncle Reno, Death Cab for Cutie, The National Parks, Joshua James, Ritt Momney, Picture This, Palace of Buddies, Breakfast in Silence, The Backseat Lovers, Drew Danburry, and more

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MARK CLUNEY
  • Mark Cluney

FRIDAY 5/10

Joshua James, Uncle Reno,
Marny Proudfit
What better way to kick off Kilby Court's 20th anniversary celebration than with three artists of our own? Headliner Joshua James—a resident of American Fork by way of Lincoln, Neb.—is a contemporary folk-oriented singer-songwriter who's attained national credence courtesy of half a dozen well-received albums and several high profile tours that had him opening for John Mayer, Ani DiFranco, Third Eye Blind and others of similar stature. Accorded critical kudos by such arbiters of good taste as NPR and Variety, he boasts a distinctive style that sets him apart from other artists in his genre. Local favorites Uncle Reno are also on the bill, ready to share songs from their strikingly original new offering Generation Tang, a set of songs they boldly describe as "an album of the ages for all mankind." Rounding out the bill is Marny Proudfit, a young Utah singer with two lovely albums to her credit thus far. What better way to honor our city's longest-running all-ages venue (Kilby Court) than with music from three wholly original auteurs? A prelude to the day-long celebration taking place on Saturday (see p. 27), this could be considered a pre-party, one well positioned to help set the mood and accelerate the energy. (Lee Zimmerman) The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., $15, 21+, theurbanloungeslc.com

ELIOT LEE HAZEL
  • Eliot Lee Hazel

SATURDAY 5/11

Death Cab for Cutie, The National Parks, Joshua James, Ritt Momney, Picture This, Palace of Buddies, Breakfast in Silence, The Backseat Lovers, Drew Danburry
It would be hard to name another indie-rock outfit more identified with the ethos of the genre than Death Cab for Cutie. The critical darlings became an ideal example of everything the alt-rock template entailed–easily accessible melodies, obvious intelligence and a slightly edgy attitude. Even the band's name suggests cause for distinction; leader Ben Gibbard borrowed it from a song by England's exceedingly eccentric Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. The track was included on Gorilla, the Bonzo's debut album, and also played as part of their cameo appearance in The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour. (The song's co-writer, Neil Innes, supposedly took the title from a crime magazine he noticed in a city street market.) The handle caught hold, and their early buzz became noticeable enough to attract attention from Atlantic Records, which brought with it the kind of exposure that only a major label can provide. Yet even with eight Grammy nominations thus far, the band's clever, off-kilter attitude remains distinctly intact. Two decades on, Death Cab for Cutie remain as irreverent and unpredictable as always, and still one of the most exuberant and inventive outfits around. (LZ) Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court, 3:30 p.m., $40-$100, all ages, kilbycourt.com

MARKUS FELIX VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Markus Felix via Wikimedia Commons

Carnifex, Oceano, Enterprise Earth, Prison, Founders of Ruin,
A Traitor's Last Breath
The melodrama of the tortured writer is much discussed but hardly ever seen. In retrospect, everyone claims to be a tortured writer or artist, but few really are. However, it takes only 15 seconds into "Bury Me in Blasphemy" from the self-proclaimed defenders of death metal, Carnifex, to hear screams that sound like literal torture from Scott Ian Lewis. Lewis formed the group in 2005 in a small town east of military base Camp Pendleton with like-minded drummer Shawn Cameron. In Carnifex's early days, metal publications turned their noses up at the band, and at deathcore in general. Decibel went as far as to trash Carnifex's first album Dead in My Arms with a 2/10 rating. It wasn't until their fourth studio album, Until I Feel Nothing, that the musicians introduced personal passion and pain into a genre that was mainly focused on being brutal in fictional horror story lyrics. Lewis brings a personal touch of melancholy to his lines, followed by a full-on assault of blast beats and gut-wrenching growls. "The great thing about writing lyrics is you sort of have a framework to fit inside of. It really sort of guides you in finding melody for the song," Lewis explained to Nuclear Blast Records in support of his 2018 graphic novel Death Dreamer. Lewis tried his hand at the art form last year, finding more creative freedom in writing a script versus a song, and he chose his favorite topic to write on: death. In 2019, metal magazines might not have thought deathcore would last this long, let alone that the genre would still be turning more metalheads on to its honest brutality. (Rachelle Fernandez) The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, 6:30 p.m., $18, all ages, thecomplexslc.com

CLAUDE BILLMAIER
  • Claude Billmaier

Passion Pit, The Beaches
Listening to Passion Pit, for me, is like slipping into something warm, soft and completely comfortable. The band's music, which formed the soundtrack of my college years (along with other 2000s standards, courtesy of my roommate's hard drive, such as Metric, Weezer, Phoenix and Arcade Fire), is utterly danceable, infectious electro-pop that comes to life with lead singer Michael Angelakos' high, keening voice and lyrics that explore mental illness, immigrant stories and complicated family relationships. Passion Pit makes their way west for a 10th-anniversary tour celebrating the band's first album, the inimitable Manners, which Angelakos made in his early 20s. At the time, Angelakos was navigating an undisclosed bipolar disorder diagnosis; with the band's next album, Gossamer, he brought his mental health struggles to the forefront. Since then, the band has released one more full-length, 2017's Tremendous Sea of Love, which Angelakos made available for free on Twitter. This tour offers a chance for the band to perform the songs on Manners fully for the first time live. Shortly after the album was released in 2009, the singer started taking an antipsychotic medication that wreaked havoc on his vocal chords, eliminating his ability to hit the high notes—and there are a lot of high notes. "I didn't know what I was doing with my life," Angelakos says of that time in a Medium interview. "Everything was totally in the air. I think that's why that record makes a lot of sense to me now: I'm always in limbo." Now, we all get to revisit those songs with a deeper understanding of what it means to make something beautiful from something painful. (Naomi Clegg) The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, 8:30 p.m., $24.50, all ages, thecomplexslc.com

NICK MCKINLAY
  • Nick McKinlay

TUESDAY 5/14

Julia Jacklin, Black Belt Eagle Scout
Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin reevaluates past romantic relationships in pursuit of self-revelation on her second full-length album, 2019's Crushing. The singer, inspired by Britney Spears, began taking voice lessons at age 10. Despite that, she did not believe it was possible to become a full-time musician until, in 2016, her touring schedule became too intensive for her to do anything else. The Melbourne-based artist drew from her time touring to build Crushing: "This album came from spending two years touring and being in a relationship, and feeling like I never had any space of my own," Jacklin says in a news release. "For a long time I felt like my head was full of fear and my body was just this functional thing that carried me from point A to B, and writing these songs was like rejoining the two." The songs explore the idea of being present in the world, of reacquainting yourself with your body after a long period of estrangement: "Give me a full-length mirror/ So I can see the whole picture," Jacklin demands on "Head Alone." "I don't want to be touched all the time/ I raised my body up to be mine." The singer treated the album as a sort of release, a method for self-repossession. "I just wanted to lay it all out there and trust that, especially at such a tense moment in time, other people might want to hear a little vulnerability," she says. (NC) The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., $14 presale; $16 day of show, 21+, theurbanloungeslc.com

WEDNESDAY 5/15

SEBASTIAN SMITH
  • Sebastian Smith

Colin Hay, Cecilia Noel
Although he's mostly remembered as the affable front man of Men at Work—the band that helped establish the early success of MTV with such enduring pop standards as "Down Under" and "Who Can It Be Now?"—Colin Hay is now known and respected as a solo singer and songwriter who's moved well beyond those earlier constraints. In the 30-plus years since the band's break-up, Hay has remained a restless and relentless troubadour, writing wonderful melodies that still resonate. Indeed, while his quirky sense of humor remains mostly intact, his songs ring with a poignancy and passion that allow for a deeper connection. The distinctive reggae lilt that characterized his earlier offerings has largely given way to more weathered refrains, but he still manages to share his songs from a decidedly personal perspective. Likewise, with well over a dozen albums under his own name, he's rebooted himself as a decidedly expressive artist who's clearly capable of winning over a crowd with his simple strum and casual croon. His latest effort, 2017's Fierce Mercy, is his most determined effort yet. Those who know him only as a man at work will be pleased to know his individual efforts are equally impressive. Having come from Down Under, Hay's now at the top of his game. (Lee Zimmerman) The Commonwealth Room, 195 W. 2100 South, 8 p.m., sold out as of press time, thecommonwealthroom.com

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