“Formerly The Flys,” not: Singer Adam Paskowitz is the lone ex-holiday man in SoCal’s Jetliner—and a Mozart reunion is what everyone really wants. Jetliner eschews metal and rap in favor of ’70s California pop a la Rooney, with classic nods to Queen and, on the single “Good Times” from their self-titled debut, even Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (!). Paskowitz’s soaring vocals remain unmistakable; surrounded by piano-centric melodies and super-size harmonies, they make more sense than ever. THURSDAY, Jan. 29 @ Sound, 579 W. 200 South, 9:30 p.m. Info: 328-0255. Also: FRIDAY, Jan. 30 @ Egos, 668 S. State, 9:30 p.m.
VAUX, BEAR VS. SHARK
They used to be called Eiffel, but changed their name to Vaux—presumably to avoid confusion with techno-weenies Eiffel 65, or at least find less-crowded space in the “V” section of the CD racks. There Must Be Some Way to Stop Them (Volcom), the three-guitar Denver band’s newest, is a meaty slab of aggro-rock as arty as it is heavy. Same goes for Bear vs. Shark’s Right Now You’re In the Best of Hands (Equal Vision), the Detroit band’s debut that trumps Vaux at least in album-titling skills and latent emo-isms. FRIDAY, Jan. 30 @ Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 8 p.m. Info: 320-9887.
Saffire: The Uppity Blues Women—Gaye Adegbalola, Anna Rabson and Andra Faye—have been together in some form for 25 years, collecting plenty of awards and raves along the way—and yet their most infamous tune is “Silver Beaver,” a winking ode to the wonders of older women, not friendly forest animals. “A friend told me that she was going to have a retirement home for lesbians and name it the ‘Silver Beaver Rest Home.’ I thought that was great! Adegbalola says. “Of course, I’m thinking of a sequel called ‘The Bald Eagle Blues.’” FRIDAY, Jan. 30 @ Peery’s Egyptian Theater, 2415 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: 801-395-3227.
HANK III & ASSJACK
Occasional Superjoint Ritual bassist Hank Williams III still refuses to simply go either country & western or punk, preferring to piss off and/or win over purists on both sides of the fence with his trademark combo live shows (Assjack is the punk set, just so you know). He’s released two excellent C& albums (Rising Outlaw and Lovesick, Broke & Driftin’), but the status of Hank III’s long-rumored rock record, This Ain’t Country, remains as tough to pin down as the man himself. Gramps would be proud. SATURDAY, Jan. 31 @ Liquid Joe’s, 1249 E. 3300 South, 9:30 p.m. Info: 467-5637.
CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN
Yes, the Camper Van Beethoven, kids—David Lowery’s Cracker is in town playing the Outdoor Retailers Convention, coincidentally. As the rootsy, unsung progenitors of the ’90s alt-rock revolution they sat out, Lowery and CVB released several gorgeously unexplainable albums in the ’80s, disappeared, and resurfaced in ’00s with a string of typically oddball collections: Camper Van Beethoven Is Dead: Long Live Camper Van Beethoven, Cigarettes & Carrot Juice: The Santa Cruz Years and a track-for-track remake of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk. CVB also spring up suspiciously wherever Cracker tours—weird, huh? SUNDAY, Feb. 1 @ Halo, 60 E. 800 South, 9 p.m. Info: 363-4522.
Colorado rawk trio Hemi Cuda (guitarist-singer Anika Zappe, bassist Karen Exley and whoever their slave male drummer is currently) ferociously combine power-punk riffage, kiss you/kick you lyricism, sweet girly harmonies and fabu Technicolor costume/wig combos that practically scream ... Super Bowl after-party? Hey, whatever it takes to get their stack-heeled tootsies on a stage ’round here. “We are sexually empowered, thinking women who must be reckoned with,” Zappe told City Weekly in 2002. “We play fast, loud and raunchy and we don’t need a reason. We are the reason.” There ya go. SUNDAY, Feb. 1 @ Egos, 668 S. State, 9 p.m.
He co-wrote Jewel’s “You Were Meant For Me” (and even appeared in the video), but don’t hold that against San Diego singer-songwriter Steve Poltz—his own stuff is better, if not blonder. His lone major-label album, 1998’s One Left Shoe, scored high with critics, but he’s since left the corporate artist life and stadium gigs behind. “My freedom is just really what I need,” Poltz told Chicago Innerview. “I don’t play with a setlist, and I tell a lot of stories onstage. You don’t get the freedom to do that at huge shows.” MONDAY, Feb. 2 @ Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 8 p.m. Info: 320-9887.
It’s a much-maligned electric instrument, but the bass guitar does have its share of champions: Jaco, Bootsy, Flea, Spinal Tap’s Derek Smalls (“Big Bottom”!) and, highest in contemporary monster-chops profiles, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones’ low-end man Victor Wooten. “The bass instrument’s purpose is not just to play one or two notes to support everyone; it’s to make music,” Wooten says. “The bass usually performs a certain role, holding up the bottom and defining the core, but that’s like saying all tall people have to play basketball.” MONDAY, Feb. 2 @ Suede, 1612 Ute Blvd. (Kimball Junction), Park City, 9 p.m. Info: 435-658-2665.
Those who don’t think country music gets darker than the Dixie Chicks singing about offing Earl would do well to check out New Mexico’s Handsome Family, a husband-wife duo whose spare, pitch-black Americana tales of murder and insanity (among other topics) are some of the most beautiful depressants you’ve never heard. Brett and Rennie Sparks’ seventh and latest record, Singing Bones (Carrot Top), finds the couple wrapping their lovely downbeat pipes around the apocalypse as well as some happier themes, like a jaunty country tune about ... becoming one with toads. TUESDAY, Feb. 3 @ Liquid Joe’s, 1249 E. 3300 South, 9:30 p.m. Info: 467-5637.
As I Lay Dying, Sworn Enemy (Albee Square, Feb. 6). Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers (Suede, Feb. 6). Copeland (Kilby Court, Feb. 8). Kathy Mattea (Eccles Center, Feb. 8). Linkin Park (E Center, Feb. 10). Libby Kirkpatrick (Halo, Feb. 12). Bruce Cockburn (Rose Wagner Theater, Feb. 13). B.B. King (Abravanel Hall, Feb. 15). A Static Lullabye (Albee Square, Feb. 15). Drive-By Truckers (Suede, Feb. 17). Medeski, Martin & Wood (Suede, Feb. 19). Tooth & Nail Tour (Sound, Feb. 23). Lucinda Williams (Kingsbury Hall, Feb. 24). Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash (Sound, Feb. 25).