Now that everyone’s already forgotten about The Coral (yes, they have), time to turn seafaring ears to Portland’s Decemberists, a band less concerned with the salty deep blue than sweeping drama-queen chamber-pop more comparable to (twee alert) Belle & Sebastian, if anything. Singer-guitarist Colin Meloy has the voice to melt the hearts of sweater girls and theater majors alike, even if the stage was the last thing on his mind. “We never intended to be a decent live band,” he says. “It was thrust upon us.” THURSDAY, March 11 @ Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 8 p.m. All-ages. Info: 320-9887 (with Tom Heinl and Brilliant Stereo Mob).
Slimmed down to a trio but louder and heavier than ever, Seattle’s Zeke are back from an extended vacation with Till the Livin’ End (Relapse, due out April 6), another chapter of nitro-burnin’ punk-rawk & roll from an underdog band once feared dead and gone. “We started getting’ a lot of phone calls; too many people wanted us to play again and wanted us to record another Zeke album,” screamer-guitarist Marky Felchtone explains simply. “If people wanted to hear us, then I thought we should continue.” FRIDAY, March 12 @ Liquid Joe’s, 1240 E. 3300 South, 9:30 p.m. Info: 467-5637 (with High on Fire).
Few, if any, Salt Lake City musicians have achieved the level of guitar-biz respect that instrumental virtuoso Chris Proctor has during his quarter-century career, and now he’s even made the leap into the realm of best-of albums: The Chris Proctor Collection (ChrisProctor.com) gathers 16 tracks from Proctor’s eight albums, complete with more tech-intensive liner notes than even the most geeked-out guitar geek may be able to absorb. “I thought it was time for me to revisit the first 20 years of my repertoire,” the man says. SATURDAY, March 13 @ South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society, 6876 Highland Dr., 7:30 p.m. Tickets and info: 339-7664.
Named after a Nickelodeon TV host, signed to Drive-Thru Records, known to blast though cheeky covers ranging from the theme to Fraggle Rock to the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way,” how much cuter could Chicago bubblegum-pop-punk foursome Allister get before you’d want to smack ’em? Try this quote on for size: “The suburbs we’re from aren’t bad, but they’re not great, either,” says frontman Tim Rogner. “We’re not proud of it, but we don’t hate it.” After kiddie-punk, politics, perhaps? SATURDAY, March 13 @ Albee Square, 850 S. Richards (40 West), 8 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 800-888-8499 (with Hidden in Plain View, Never Heard of It and Over It).
“These singers that are coming along today, they try and riff on every note and I can’t stand that,” says lone surviving Temptation Otis Williams. “When the record goes off you can’t remember what to hum because they never established the melody of the song. I’m not really impressed with what I’m hearing on the radio today.” Coming from a singer who’s had a hand in a number of R& /soul hits over the past 40 years possibly equal to Ruben Studdard’s cholesterol count, who wants to argue? SATURDAY, March 13 @ Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah, 8 p.m. Tickets: 355-2787.
BOB WEIR & RATDOG
When Jerry Garcia shucked off this mortal tie-dyed T-shirt and went to that great Ben & Jerry’s shop in the sky in 1995, Grateful Dead co-guitarist Bob Weir was three dates into a tour with his side project, Ratdog. For some reason, Ratdog never officially inherited the jam-gods mantle, but Weir & Co.’s Grateful-heavy 2001 double-disc Live at Roseland all but came right out and said “We are the Dead, man!” Aside from a slew of sanctioned concert bootlegs, there’s no new original Ratdog output to be had—which is also very Dead-like. SATURDAY, March 13 @ Harry O’s, 427 Main, Park City, 9:30 p.m. Info: 435-647-9494.
Out of jail for almost five months now, hip-hop legend Slick Rick has wasted little time getting on the comeback track, formulating a game plan after many a month in lockdown watching what’s going on in rap via MTV and BET. “The mature audience,” he told MTV, sussing out his next target demo. “We don’t want to be entertained with the womanizing and the gangsterism. And if I don’t make no ruckus, then you can go and laugh at me, ‘Ha ha.’ I’m not trying to be a big shot.” SATURDAY, March 13 @ Suede, 1612 Ute Blvd. (Kimball Junction), Park City, 9:30 p.m. Info: 435-658-2665.
“I believe that a lot of people I admire, like Johnny Cash, John Lennon or Bob Dylan, probably wouldn’t get a record deal today mainly because they sang from their hearts and not to get on the radio or anything like that,” says Minneapolis singer-songwriter Mason Jennings. “They just wrote songs for themselves.” Jennings’ fifth and latest album, Use Your Voice (Bar/None), is being hailed as his best folk-Americana outing yet, with reviews placing him above and beyond the likes of your Jack Johnsons and Jason Mrazs. TUESDAY, March 16 @ Egos, 668 S. State, 9:30 p.m. Info: 521-5255 (With Beautiful Girls).
“We made it more acceptable to do a long jam and improvise,” says mandolin master Sam Bush of his breakthrough band New Grass Revival. “We showed young people that there was a different way to play bluegrass.” On his third solo outing since NGR’s retirement in 1989, the live Ice Caps: Peaks of Telluride (Sugar Hill), Bush continued the different way, even going so far as to cover Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” on a disc some call “the only bluegrass album you’ll ever need”—besides last year’s King of My World, of course. WEDNESDAY, March 17 @ Port O’ Call, 78 W. 400 South, 9:30 p.m. Info: 521-0589 (with Purdymouth).
I Can Lick Any Son of a Bitch In the House (Egos, March 18). A Perfect Circle, Mars Volta (E Center, March 18). Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons (Egos, March 19-20). Barenaked Ladies, Howie Day (E Center, March 20). The Church (Sound, March 20). Death Cab For Cutie (In the Venue/Sound, March 22). Brubeck Brothers (Sheraton Center, March 22). Liars (Albee Square, March 24). Tesla (E Center, March 24). Psychedelic Furs (Plan B, March 25). Ming & FS (Harry O’s, March 26). Clay Aiken, Kelly Clarkson (Delta Center, March 26). Low Flying Owls (Kilby Court, March 27). Soul of John Black (Sound, March 27).