tFor years, Travis Barker offset Blink-182’s fluff-punk sound with street-punk chops. The illustrated man pounded skins with a ferocity unbecoming of SoCal pretty boys suspended in a state of perpetual adolescence. What’s my age again? Who cares? Better question: Why am I complaining? I’ve got all this money'and a hot wife! Barker put all his trophies on display for MTV’s Meet the Barkers only to watch his marriage swirl down a gossip-riddled drain. Barker’s since refocused on the music, putting his skills to good use with fellow ex-Blinker Mark Hoppus in Plus 44, a pop-punk group with loose electronic threads. The content is pure high school (“Here comes the promise of summer, let’s seal it with a kiss”), but Plus 44 at least drive home the point with power guitars and Barker drumming at his best. In the Venue, 219 S. 600 West, 7 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 24Tix.com.
MONSTER MAKER TOUR
tNo rest for the weary at Uprok Records. The local record shop’s concert calendar is jam-packed with hip-hop shows well into 2007, including tonight’s Money Maker Tour featuring the collaborative work of Def Jux emcee C-Rayz Walz and Babygrande musician/producer/thinker Sharkey. Their side project blends clever sound bites and electronic samples with Walz’s commanding delivery'gruff and direct, you’d be wise to listen up. Monk’s, 19 W. 200 South, 9 p.m. Tickets: 363-7955 (with DJ Pnyce).
* Also Thursday: Kurt Bestor Christmas (Abravanel Hall); Tracy Lawrence (Port O’ Call)
ttROCK THE BELLS TOUR
tWu-Tang Clan’s summer Salt Lake City appearance did not disappoint. From blatant spliff-smoking to a post-concert chick fight, the legendary group pulled off mad hip-hop clichés without a peep from authorities. It follows that tonight’s Rock the Bells performance'featuring Wu-Tang’s Ghostface Killah and Raekwon, Redman, Boot Camp Clik’s Smif-N-Wessun, Supernatural, and DJ Kool'will deck the halls with more pungent weed, smooth beats, solo flows and tag-team rhymes. Christmas came early this year'have yourself a merry little ruckus. Harry O’s, 427 Main, Park City, 8 p.m. Tickets: SmithsTix.com.
MONARCH CD RELEASE
nSalt Lake City band Monarch’s atmospheric, moody post-grunge progressive rock (prunge?) flows like maple syrup over moon waffles on their debut EP, Eden (MySpace.com/TheMonarchBand). In their own weighty words, “We still have faith in the guitar solo and believe that lyrics don’t always have to be about heartache and pain. A number of our songs are part of a conceptual story that will eventually span a full-length album. Our music appeals to the casual listener, yet offers even more depth to the fanatic.” Find out which one you are tonight. Liquid Joe’s, 1249 E. 3300 South, 9:30 p.m. Info: LiquidJoes.net (with Downright Blue).
* Also Friday: Kurt Bestor Christmas (Abravanel Hall); Imogen Heap (In the Venue); Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (The Depot); Dimebag Darrell Memorial Show (Club Vegas); In Camera, Her Candane (Broken Record); The Wolfs (Burt’s Tiki Lounge); Dan the Automator (Suede, Park City); The Monarch CD Release (Liquid Joe’s)
ttBIG JOHN BATES
tBig John Bates is no stranger to Utah; his rockabilly debauchery is a local regular attraction, yet his show is anything but typical. Bates peppers his performance with Voodoo Dollz, scantily clad burlesque dancers who shimmy, shake and, at times, whip each other while he bangs out one lightning-fast honky-tonk lick after another. Then there’s sCaroline, an upright bassist who puts belly-dancer skills to good use doing back-bends across her giant instrument. Such orchestrated chaos is a sight to behold. If you can’t make it down tonight, keep an eye out for Bates’ upcoming DVD, Live at the Voodoo Ball. Burt’s Tiki Lounge, 726 S. State, 10 p.m. Info: 521-0572.
* Also Saturday: Kurt Bestor Christmas (Abravanel Hall); The Program, The Hypercubes (Kilby Court); All-American Rejects (Great Saltair); Senses Fail (In the Venue); Trans-Siberian Orchestra (E Center); Swollen Members (Suede, Park City); Wendy Ohlwiler (Nobrow Coffee & Tea House'see Music, p. 51)
tThere’s nothing too complex about “Electrified,” Dressy Bessy’s lyrically sparse title track off their 2005 LP, but one listen to the Denver trio’s simple sugar-pop ditty and that sucker’s in your head for days. Similar praise/criticism applies to songs like “Pinwheel” and “Who’d Stop the Rain,” whose infectious, follow-the-bouncing-ball rhythms inspire smiles but also rage inside anyone who’d rather get off on U.S. Maple or Wolf Eyes. Happy, lithe and bursting with thrift-store charm, Dressy Bessy jump for joy while others get bogged down in technical compositions. Plus, they’re just quirky enough to honor their Elephant 6 roots. Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 10 p.m. Tickets: 24Tix.com.
tIt seems rather reckless to lump Michelle Malone with the Indigo Girls. Yes, they’re good friends. Yes, they’re fine collaborators. But many associate that singer/songwriter duo with Lilith Fair and the blander side of so-called female rock. Labeling Malone as an honorary Girl downplays her ability to slide, shred and wail. The Atlanta solo artist is best experienced through full-throttle country-and-blues numbers powered by steel guitar. Her pipes, gruff and loose, drive home the point whether grave or lighthearted. Many thanks to her cabaret-singing mama for showing her how to really get things done. Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 10 p.m. Tickets: 24Tix.com.
* Also Wednesday: Casket Salesman (Kilby Court); Femme Fatale Acoustic Night (Burt’s Tiki Lounge); Voodoo Glowskulls (Club BoomVa, Ogden)
ttAnd You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (Avalon Theater, Dec. 14). Hinder (Great Saltair, Dec. 14). Amos Lee (The Depot, Dec. 14). Monty Are I (Avalon Theater, Dec. 15). Eric McFadden Trio (Brewskis, Dec. 15). Kill Hannah (Avalon Theater, Dec. 16). Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons (Suede, Dec. 16). Naked & Shameless (Burt’s Tiki Lounge, Dec. 18). Marie Osmond Christmas (ES Arena, Dec. 22). Wynonna (Eccles Center, Dec. 28). The Supersuckers (Suede, Dec. 31). My Morning Jacket (The Depot, Jan. 11). Rev. Horton Heat (Great Saltair, Jan. 12).