You’ll never see a tribute band called Mega Humperdinck. Neil Diamond is the kind of larger-than-pop-life personality who lends himself to tribute, and none are more adept than San Francisco’s Super Diamond—but leader Randy Cordeiro prefers the term “experience” over “tribute.” “All of the tribute bands I’ve seen do it pretty straight,” he says. “They act like they are the person. I’ve created my own character, The Surreal Neil.” And don’t expect any latter-day Diamond, either. “We’ve never done anything past 1982—a lot of his stuff I can’t even listen to after that.” Word. Friday, Jan. 10-Saturday, Jan. 11 @ Liquid Joe’s, 1249 E. 3300 South, 467-JOES, 9:30 p.m.
“We have many influences,” says Aqua Dulce singer-guitarist-trumpeter-percussionist Dante Loaiza. “We are all from the border, you know? Other songs have a cha-cha-cha feel, but also a funk stroke. It makes you aware of the boogaloo.” Like Laoiza, Aqua Dulce’s groove-happy music is a multi-hyphenated mix of Latin/Caribbean rhythms stirred with funk, soul and hip-hop, with lyrics in both Spanish and English (not sure which “boogaloo” falls under). That’s a lot to take in, but you only need to hear it to understand. Friday, Jan. 10 @ Harry O’s, 427 Main, Park City, 435-647-9494, 9:30 p.m. Also: Saturday, Jan. 11 @ The Zephyr Club, 301 S. West Temple, 355-CLUB, 9:30 p.m.
“It’s a soul-stirring blend of gospel and the power and volume of electric blues and rock,” wrote Denver’s Westword of the Campbell Bros.’ unusual marriage of steel guitars and spirituals. “A sound as hot as brimstone that kicks holy butt.” Chuck, Darick, Phil and Carlton Campbell (with an assist from vocalists Denise Brown and Katie Jackson) play what’s been dubbed “sacred steel,” and for good reason: “People come up to us after a show all the time and they tell us the same thing,” says Chuck, sometimes referred to as the Eddie Van Halen of the steel. “‘If they had played your music in my church, I never would have left.’” Friday, Jan. 10 @ Peery’s Egyptian Theater, 2415 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: 801-395-3200.
What does your friendly neighborhood punk-rock ’zine have in store for the first Localized of 2003? A kick-ass triple bill featuring Jericho Road, Kurt Bestor and Roarin’ Orrin Hatch! OK, not really. This month, SLUG brings you the jazzy-funky-swanky stylings of Optimus Prime, who are a bit more of a known quantity than openers Coyote Hoods and Chinese Stars. The former is a two-man band who claim to make non-rock music so beautiful, “the toughest guy in the crowd is going to cry”; the latter describe themselves as “bluegrass-based lighthearted black metal.” Hey, if you want easily defined categories go to Blockbuster. Friday, Jan. 10 @ The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 746-0558, 9:30 p.m.
Los Angeles’ Crazy Town have more songs than the ubiquitous hit “Butterfly” … can’t name any offhand, but 2000’s Gift of Game must have had other tracks, right? It matters not, because Epic, Shifty, Squirrel, Trouble, Faydoe and Kyle (dude, where’s the nickname?) are back with Darkhorse (Columbia), and damned if it ain’t a cool slab of bantamweight rap metal—with righteous hooks, no less. “We’ve heard people throw around the ‘one-hit wonder’ tag, and that’s OK,” says Shifty. “The dark horse is never viewed as a threat, but in the end it unexpectedly steps up and blows everyone away. That’s what this record is going to do.” Sunday, Jan. 12 @ Xscape, 115 S. West Temple, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: 877-548-3237.
SHOWDOWN TO SXSW
It’s here again, City Weekly’s decade-old battle o’ the bands to send one local group to Austin’s South by Southwest Music & Media Conference to represent Laketown. Special congrats to 2002 winners Hudson River School (no, we don’t hate you, sillies), who’ve managed to thus far escape the post-SXSW breakup curse. With a musically diversified lineup and our tastiest cosponsor yet (Moab Brewery’s Dead Horse Ale … yum), who’ll take the marbles at Showdown 2003? Come drop a mere $5 (good for entry into all venues; $8 for the Finals) and find out. Sunday, Jan. 12 @ Burt’s Tiki Lounge, Cabana Club, Club Splash, Dead Goat Saloon, Lazy Moon, Monk’s, Port O’ Call, Urban Lounge, W and Zephyr Club, 8 p.m.-midnight. Semi-Finals: Wednesday, Jan. 15 @ The Element and Liquid Joe’s. Finals: Saturday, Jan. 18 @ The Zephyr Club.
FROM AUTUMN TO ASHES
If the true measure of an emo band is the sheer number of startup webzine Q&A interviews floating around the Internet, Long Island’s From Autumn to Ashes are surely The Shit. The band’s full-length debut, Too Bad You’re Beautiful (Ferret) throws together emo, hardcore and straight-up heavy metal and still comes across with undeniable melody—they just can’t help it. “When I write a song there’s more drive behind it than even I care to understand,” says guitarist Scott Gross. The ultimate pop motivation? “I’d like my family and friends to see me on MTV’s Cribs.” Monday, Jan. 13 @ Xscape Basement, 115 S. West Temple, 115 S. West Temple, 8:30 p.m. Tickets: 877-548-3237.
Robert Earl Keen (Harry O’s, Jan. 16). Paul Oakenfold (Axis, Jan. 16). Hell’s Belles (Liquid Joe’s, Jan. 17-18). David Lindley (Zephyr Club, Jan. 17). Bonepony (Port O’ Call, Jan. 18). Piebald (Xscape, Jan. 18). John Doe (Zephyr Club, Jan. 20). Deep Dish (Axis, Jan. 23). 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). Ben Kweller (Xscape, Feb. 8). Reverend Horton Heat (Xscape, Feb. 13). The Roots (Harry O’s, Feb. 17). Toad the Wet Sprocket (Bricks, Feb. 10).