A PERFECT CIRCLE, MARS VOLTA
Sure, Thirteenth Step (Virgin) is an intense rock experience, but with players from past arena powerhouses like Tool, Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson, you’d think A Perfect Circle would be a bit less, well, boring onstage—and now that singer Maynard Keenan’s fabulously bad wig is gone and hottie bassist Paz Lenchantin has walked her stiletto heels elsewhere, what’s left to look at? The Mars Volta, the prog-tastic offspring of the fabled At the Drive-In, should add some needed heat if not steal the show. May-nard! THURSDAY, March 18 @ The E Center, 3200 S. Decker Lake Dr., West Valley, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499.
God love ’em, the lake of Cheap Trick-worshipping power-pop bands never fully drains—as long as there are clever young dudes cranking ridiculously catchy hooks on hella-cool guitars somewhere, not a problem. Enter Los Angeles’ Stereo 360, the latest stain on the back seat of rock & roll, doling out sugar-smacked three-minute wonders like “Superstar,” “Vaseline Mouth” and, don’t hold this against them, yet another song called “California” from Enjoy Your Life Poolside (Stereo360.com), their slick debut longplayer. Biggest mystery: Why they ever changed their name from Iroquois Stealth Pilots (!). FRIDAY, March 19 @ Liquid Joe’s, 1249 E. 3300 South, 9:30 p.m. Info: 467-5637 (with Royal Bliss).
An authority no less than Robbie Robertson has dubbed EastMountainSouth’s sound as “Haunted mountain music with modern beats. This music could have been made 50 years ago and, just as easily, it could be what music will sound like 50 years from now.” Robertson signed the Los Angeles singing-songwriting duo of Kat Maslich and Peter Adams (both transplanted Southerners) to DreamWorks Records and wound up with last year’s eponymous EastMountainSouth, an odd-but-irresistible combo of Appalachian melodies and glossy studio beds. As to what the name means, you’re on your own. SATURDAY, March 20 @ The Forum at The Canyons, 4000 The Canyons Blvd., Park City, 3 p.m. Tickets: 435-901-7664.
The statistics on Seattle’s Touchdown Eagle are enough to endear even the most cynical indie-rock heart: “75 percent homo, 100 percent nearsighted, 50 percent vegan, 50 percent have lived in the Midwest, 50 percent have lived in Utah.” Singer-guitarists Carrie Murphy and Richard Visick did Zion time in bands like the Jenni Jensens, Office Party, Fumamous, Messy Breakups and others before going Northwest and forming Touchdown Eagle, a lovelorn jangle-pop outfit sweet enough to rot your molars—yes, that’s a recommendation. SATURDAY, March 20 @ Todd’s Bar & Grill, 1051 S. 300 West, 9:30 p.m. Info: 328-8650. Also: SUNDAY, March 21 @ Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 8 p.m. All-ages. Info: 320-9887.
Everyone knows “Under the Milky Way,” The Church’s lone 1988 American hit that briefly put the Australian band on the international pop radar. Thing is, they’ve released 17 albums since 1981, and The Church’s most recent release, Forget Yourself (SpinArt), is being touted by scads of critics as one of their best ever—further proof that all still-active ’80s bands need not be sad, nostalgic saps. And, as for a possible 25th anniversary tour next year, “I hate anniversaries, so there will be nothing of the sort,” says singer-bassist Steve Kilbey. “We’re a rock band, and that stuff is anathema to rock.” SATURDAY, March 20 @ Sound, 579 W. 200 South, 9:30 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499.
Believe it or not, ex-Dokken guitarist George Lynch will turn 50 later this year—and yet, thanks to VH1 Classic, he’ll never live down that skunk-roadkill haircut from the ’80s; that’s gotta suck. Still, dude can shred like no one other metal survivor, including current touring partner (except for this SLC date) Yngwie Malmsteen and anyone else your finger-tapped brain cells can conjure. Along on vocals this time around is Kelly Keeling, whom you may or may not remember from the equally embarrassingly-coiffed Baton Rouge back in the day. SATURDAY, March 20 @ Expose, 204 W. 2100 South, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499 (with Bud Heavy and King Tree).
JOHN NEMETH & THE JACKS
Since strippers don’t exactly make great radio (though many have tried), the 16-year KRCL 90.9 FM tradition of broadcasting live one Monday a month from the Dead Goat Saloon ended last year when the club up and went Crazy. But, as of tonight, the monthly live blues are back on the air, kicking off with Boise harmonica king John Nemeth. The special significance: Nemeth’s Jacks band features guitarist Rick Welter, the ex-Salt Laker who helped found the Dead Goat’s original blues night, as well as the KRCL broadcasts. See how it all comes around? MONDAY, March 22 @ Sound, 579 W. 200 South, 9:30 p.m. Info: 328-0255. Broadcast live on KRCL 90.9 FM.
OLD TIME RELIJIN
Singer-guitarist Arrington de Dionyso makes Jon Spencer sound like Clay Aiken; along with upright bassist Aaron Hartman and drummer Rives Elliot, they make Spencer’s Blues Explosion sound like Keb’Mo—Old Time Relijin are just that raw and right. The Olympia, Wash. trio’s new Lost Light (K Records, due out April 6) is 10 herky-jerky cuts of terror-tense blues, free-jazz association and over-amped sermonizing about vampires, tigers and cold water, oh my! Despite the chaos, it’s still shockingly musical and even sexy—in a hellfire kinda way, which is of course the best way. TUESDAY, March 23 @ Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 8 p.m. Info: 320-9887 (with Adam’s Castle and Theta Naught).
You never know what you’re going to get from New York art students—OK, that’s a lie, you usually know exactly what you’re going to get from New York art students, weird for the sake of weird. The Liars are weird, for sure, but there’s a deeper method somewhere in the dance-punk electronics of They Were Liars So We Drowned (Mute), the band’s brutally indefinable second album featuring such never-to-be-hits as “We Fenced Other Houses With the Bones of Our Own” and “They Don’t Want Your Corn, They Want Your Kids.” It’s rock, it’s not, just roll with it. WEDNESDAY, March 24 @ Albee Square, 850 S. Richards (40 West), 7:30 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 800-888-8499 (with Young People and Goldfish).
Psychedelic Furs (Plan B, March 25). Norma Jean, Underoath (Albee Square, March 26). Ming & FS (Harry O’s, March 26). Clay Aiken, Kelly Clarkson (Delta Center, March 26). Low Flying Owls (Kilby Court, March 27). Big Head Todd & the Monsters (Suede, March 27). Switchfoot (McKay Event Center, March 29). The Unicorns (Kilby Court, March 31). Get Up Kids (Albee Square, April 2). N.E.R.D, Black Eyed Peas (In the Venue/Sound, April 3). I Am the World Trade Center (Kilby Court, April 6). The Strokes, The Ravonettes (In the Venue/Sound, April 19). Stellastar (Liquid Joe’s, April 21). Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (In the Venue/Sound, April 24).