Okkervil River, Iron & Wine, Melvins, Down, Weedeater, The Pretenders, Depeche Mode, The Avett Brothers & Jackson Browne | Music | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Okkervil River, Iron & Wine, Melvins, Down, Weedeater, The Pretenders, Depeche Mode, The Avett Brothers & Jackson Browne

August 20 - August 25


Heartless Bastards
  • Heartless Bastards

Thursday 8.20
“Lost Coastlines” is one of the best pop songs ever. Skeptical? Check out Okkervil River’s The Stand Ins and skip directly to track No. 2. Will Sheff and Jonathon Meiberg—proper and razor-sharp wordsmiths with serious pipes—engage in a duet that builds from catchy to irresistible by the soaring “la-la-la” climax. Meiberg appears on the song as a guest, having left the band to form Shearwater, but the group continues to excel at both at toe-tapping ditties and gut-wrenching ballads marked by an uncanny grip on the English language. Someone once described The Decemberists as hyperliterate prog-rockers, and, though meant as a slam, the “hyperliterate” tag seems completely complimentary—and applicable to Okkervil River. Tonight, the group opens for Iron & Wine, aka Sam Beam, who returned to his roots this year with Around the Well (Sub Pop), a collection of raw home recordings resurrected and refined in studio. Gallivan Center, 239 S. Main, 7 p.m. All-ages. Free.

Friday 8.21

While grunge pioneers Melvins are arguably the most recognizable name on tonight’s bill, “supporting” act Down’s bulging veins are coursing with royal heavy-metal blood. Brought to you by chronic, the Southern-metal project is a bona fide supergroup, with members of Arson Anthem, Eyehategod, Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar and Pantera shoveling out delightfully brutal, technically proficient noise. Weedeater’s frontman makes Melvins’ King Buzzo seem nearly sedate as he issues vocal projections reminiscent of Gollum (substitute “My precious” for any lyric off God Luck and Good Speed). His scary, scummy, otherwordly screech comes with a heaping side of meaty sludge. In the Venue, 579 W. 200 South, 6 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: SmithsTix.com

Sunday 8.23

 I recently heard a cover of “Brass in Pocket” that could be used as justification for a standardized test used to prevent artists from butchering preexisting songs. The milquetoast singer attempting to channel Chrissie Hynde lacked the legendary rocker’s intensity and swagger. I was not at all convinced that this woman was going to make me, make me notice her. As The Pretenders’ sole remaining member, Hynde continues to trump all imitators, most recently helming the Midwestern rockers’ ninth studio album, Break Up the Concrete (2008). Many of tonight’s attendees might be more excited to see co-headliners Juliette Lewis and Cat Power, the latter of whom actually crafted two records of covers that do justice to the originals. Her bluesy, raspy delivery is intoxicating, especially now that she seems to have largely overcome her once-famous stage fright. Red Butte Garden
, 300 Wakara Way, 6:30 p.m. All-ages. RedButteGarden.org

Tuesday 8.25
Never understood the appeal of Depeche Mode? Race out and rent—or add to the Netflix queue— 101, a documentary chronicling the group’s 1988 Music for the Masses tour which culminates at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. The film is heavy on footage of fans hand-picked to accompany their synthpowered post-punk idols on the road, plus plentiful shots of Dave Gahan in tight white jeans working his mic stand, Martin Gore shirtless in suspenders, and crowd members just losing their shit. It’s pretty hot. In the 21 years since 101, Depeche Mode has experienced numerous personal and professional speed bumps while producing a steady stream of albums (Gahan also released several solo records), including the new Sounds of the Universe. They move a bit slower these days, but they still sound amazing and Gahan is as dynamic as ever in painted-on pants. Fingers crossed his vocals don’t give out before tonight’s show. The band has canceled several dates citing overworked pipes. E Center, 3200 S. Decker Lake Drive, 8 p.m. All-ages. TheECenter.com

When the Heartless Bastards appeared on David Letterman, the late-night host quipped, “[They] remind me of my in-laws.” Ba-da-boom! Seriously, though, the Ohio natives/Austin residents are no joke. Their rough-and-tumble rock & roll knocks the wind straight out of first-time listeners who underestimate singer/guitarist Erika Wennerstrom’s strength. Don’t they know how often good things come in small packages? Her ballsy, nuanced howl lands on the ears like a pleasant chokehold locked in a solid groove. Pick up their recent LP The Mountain before tonight’s show and, while you’re at it, grab Emotionalism. Produced by Rick Rubin, The Avett Brothers’ latest follows a long line of impressive releases and a small but loyal following that’s ballooned since the recording guru found them on YouTube. Don’t miss this knockout double bill. Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Way, 7 p.m. All-ages. RedButteGarden.org

Don’t be surprised if Jackson Browne walks out onstage with a white beard. For those who forever picture him as a vibrant young artist with flowing brown locks, his aging physical appearance might come as a shock. But, the acclaimed singer/ guitarist/rock-poet laureate has always sounded wise beyond his years, and his music still retains a smart, warm, timeless quality as on the new single “Here” which appears in Shrink, a film starring Kevin Spacey that’s yet to hit screens … here. Browne’s latest album comes out Sept. 23. Deer Valley Resort, Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater, 2250 Deer Valley Drive South, Park City, 7 p.m. Tickets: SmithsTix.com

Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears (Gallivan Center, Aug. 27); Eyedea & Abilities (Kilby Court & Urban Lounge, Aug. 27); Jedi Mind Tricks (Murray Theater, Aug. 28); Nathan Maxwell of Flogging Molly (Burt’s Tiki Lounge, Aug. 28); Bob Weir & Ratdog (Depot, Aug. 29); U92 Summer Jam (Usana Amphitheater, Aug. 29); Dead Meadow (Kilby Court, Sept. 1)