Unlike, say, MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice or most other early-’90s rap stars, Tone Loc can actually claim to be a two-hit wonder: “Wild Thing” and “Funky Cold Medina” from 1990’s Loc’ed After Dark, the second hip-hop album ever to chart at No. 1. After 1993’s Cool Hand Loc, however, the rasp-throated rapper made the career move into film, TV and cartoon voiceovers. Still, Mr. Loc can’t escape the hits—not that he wants to. “I’m glad people still want to hear it,” he says. “They could be like, ‘Screw Tone Loc!’ You know what I mean?” Vanilla Ice does. Thursday, Dec. 26 @ Port O’ Call, 78 W. 400 South, 521-0589, 9 p.m.
Even though Michael Franti’s roots-funk-rap outfit Spearhead has been around since ’94, they’ve only released three proper albums, not including the new Songs From the Front Porch, an all-acoustic departure. It’s not laziness; it’s just the sane thing to do. “With all of the ups and downs you go through in the music industry, you can go through wild mood swings of outrageous glee and doomy depression; I don’t wanna do that,” Franti says. “I try as much as possible to remain in servitude to my creator and in the morals and values of everything that comes to me.” Saturday, Dec. 27 @ Harry O’s, 427 Main, Park City, 435-647-9494, 9 p.m.
FIRST NIGHT 2003
Of the Downtown Alliance’s twin First Night 2003 mottos, “I Will Share Myself” and “I Will Find Fun,” which sounds the least weird? Should you go with No. 2, you simply must begin the evening at the City Weekly’s Gallivan Center stage, featuring locals Suek, Ernesto Rico, Zach Parrish, Dirty Birds and Lizzy Redshawl—you thought we’d pimp someone else’s stage first? SLUG’s 115 S. Main stage has a hot lineup in Starmy, Redd Tape, New Transit Direction, The Wolfs and Mates of State, but no one’s holding out much hope that Dick Nourse will join Purdymouth WV on the KSL stage for a few choruses. And don’t forget the KRCL Coffee House at 268 S. Main, or—oh my heck!—Jericho Road in the ZCMI Mall (yes, they’d be better suited to Wiseguys Comedy Club, but what you gonna do?). Tuesday, Dec. 31 @ Downtown Salt Lake City, 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Information and schedule: www.FirstNightSLC.org.
Hard-rockin’ honky-tonker Jesse Dayton remains on the road with Hey Nashvegas! (Stag Records), the 2001 disc that played up his Lone Star alt-country crooner side to critical acclaim. He still lives up to his press mantle of being the hottest Americana ticket since Dwight Yoakum or Steve Earle, which suits Dayton fine. “My favorite writers have always attracted cult followings and have still been able to do exactly what they wanted to do,” he says. “If I end up having a big cult following, that’s not such a bad life.” Or a bad New Year’s Eve plan. Tuesday, Dec. 31 @ The Zephyr Club, 301 S. West Temple, 355-CLUB, 9 p.m.
Sunset Strip sleaze-metal legends Faster Pussycat (now down to singer Taime Downe, guitarist Brett Muscat and assorted members of Downe’s goth-industrial Newlydeads) haven’t released a new album since 1992’s Whipped, but who’s counting? Plenty of mileage left in barroom nuggets like “Where There’s a Whip There’s a Way,” if not the obligatory power ballad “House of Pain.” Hell, if you saw ’em in The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years in the ’80s, you should be amazed these Pussies are even still alive. As for the band’s new Marilyn Manson Gestapo look … we can’t explain it, either. Tuesday, Dec. 31 @ The Element, 7 E. 4800 South, 288-0819, 9 p.m.
The fact sheet insists they “employ no animals,” while the critics say Seattle’s Circus Contraption (performing in conjunction with Axis’ Kabuki Masqurade Ball) is, thankfully, not just another tedious Gen-X sideshow featuring “half-naked techno-pagans juggling their genital piercings in a freezing, filthy warehouse.” Well then, what’s left? A David Lynch/Tim Burton-like panache of live original music, old-school circus acts like acrobatic balancing, juggling and aerial artistry, contortionists, surreal costumes and Vaudevillian performance-art touches, not to mention “hoochie-coochie girls.” Is Circus Contraption really “a bracing curative for the afflictions of our times”? Didya not read the part about the hoochie-coochies? How about the $2,003 that’s going to drop from the ceiling at midnight? There’s your curative. Tuesday, Dec. 31 @ Axis, 108 S. 500 West, 519-2947, 9 p.m.
If there’s a polar opposite to Steve-O’s Jackass thing at Saltair (see p.26), it has to be the Royalty Ball. Billed as “the most cutting-edge and provocatively elegant New Year’s party ever to hit Salt Lake City,” the color scheme is simple: Black and white. Ladies are encouraged to slink up in stylish formal attire or sexy club wear; gentlemen in “dashing and handsome” gear—it’s not quite implied you’ll receive a beat-down for wearing jeans, but why take the chance? Also promised are “a posh atmosphere, extravagant decorations, a cabaret of live performing artists, stimulating dancers and class-leading DJs.” But, alas, no butt-piercing. Tuesday, Dec. 31 @ Club Splash, 404 S. West Temple, 363-2623, 9 p.m. Information: www.RoyaltyBall.com.
Face to Face (Bricks, Jan. 2). The Used (Xscape, Jan. 3). Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker & Roy Hargrove (Abravanel Hall, Jan. 7). Crazy Town (Xscape, Jan. 9). Henry Rollins (Kingsbury Hall, Jan. 14). Super Diamond (Liquid Joe’s, Jan. 10-11). Hell’s Belles (Liquid Joe’s, Jan. 17-18). Bonepony (Port O’ Call, Jan. 18). Piebald (Xscape, Jan. 18). Juliana Theory (Xscape, Jan 27). BR5-49 (Zephyr Club, Jan. 28). Division of Laura Lee (Xscape, Jan. 28). Alkaline Trio (Bricks, Jan. 29). Insane Clown Posse (Saltair, Jan. 30). Coldplay (Saltair, Feb. 7). Reverend Horton Heat (Xscape, Feb. 13). The Roots (Harry O’s, Feb. 17).