In Spring 2003, Salt Lake City native Sean Campbell moved to Seattle—and fell in love with Robert Smith. His group, Weather, had already signed a deal with Cake Records. However, upon hearing the call of Goth/pop’s master mope through towering Pacific Northwest forests, Campbell scrapped 40 songs for a deeper groove. Calling Up My Bad Side is a debut album brimming with promise—the sort of record that might inspire others to sing songs about love, crashing on I-80 and the refusal to bow to someone else’s version of a decent life. Egos, 668 S. State, 9 p.m. Info: 521-5255.
Also Thursday: Kurt Bestor Christmas (Abravanel Hall); Liars Academy (Lo-Fi Café); Cosm (DV8).
Thanks to “Mirror in the Bathroom,” countless children of the ’80s started searching for restaurants with glass tables, hoping to mimic paranoid—yet chic—cocaine addicts. The English Beat’s debut LP is just one of several catchy hits responsible for the ska-revivalists’ popularity. Led by vocalist Dave Wakeling and punk-toaster/rapper Ranking Roger, the Birmingham-based sextet secured success by merging reggae with mainstream pop as real as Coke—sweet and energetic sounds with a minimum 20-year shelf life. Mad props to VH1’s Bands Reunited crew for giving Wakeling & Co. a new reason to hit the road. Velvet Room, 145 W. 200 South, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499.
Cleveland Rocks! But Stephanie Smith rocks harder. According to Portland Online MusicNet, “Watching Kleveland (Smith) live is like watching a group of pissed off monkeys going insane and tearing apart anything that haplessly wanders into their path,” which sounds a hell of a lot more exciting than anything Drew Carey might think up. The Portland-based singer-songwriter is known for switching backing band members at a rate matching the speed of her live set. Her freshman offering, Everybody Wants To, is a fun-filled raucous room romp. Think Iggy Pop and Joan Jett, with more skin, less bones and enough charisma to scare the Donnas. Bonus points for covering Def Leppard’s “Photograph.” Egos, 668 S. State, 9 p.m. Info: 521-5255.
Also Friday: Jon Schmidt Christmas (Kingsbury Hall); Stonecircle (Black Box Theater); Stiletto, Chubby Bunny (Kilby Court); SLUG Localized (Urban Lounge).
According to his Website, Collin Raye is “the man with the most muscular tenor in country music.” The Texas-based musician is also known to attract heartfelt fan offerings in the form of homemade cookies and wallet-size photos of tiny tots. Raye’s popularity rests not only on talent (24 Top 10 records in 13 years), but also for his efforts to raise awareness of domestic violence while penning a song driven by anti-racist sentiment. He’s passionate about his values, once nearly coming to blows with Bill Maher over the talk-show host’s pro-Clinton views. At the end of the day, however, Raye is a piece of humble pie. “If I’m gifted in any way, it’s in making people feel part of the experience,” he told Statesman Journal. Dee Event Center, 3401 University Circle, Ogden, 8 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499 (part of the Country Christmas Benefit Concert with special guest Thurl Bailey).
Also Saturday: Converge (In the Venue); Make Believe (Kilby Court).
Eric McFadden (Egos); Boys Night Out (Lo-Fi Café).
Honky (Vegas); SuperSoFar (Liquid Joe’s); Thee Elephant Men (Burt’s Tiki Lounge).
MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD
“Kids should be leaving hardcore shows with more than just a shirt,” says Most Precious Blood guitarist Justin Brannan. The New York-based musician should know—his animal-rights-friendly group advocates social change at every one of its raging performances. The band’s latest tour, Compassion Over Fashion, is sponsored by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and will feature several like-minded artists including South Florida’s Remembering Never. If your tastes run toward thoughtful, aggressive music, be sure to check out the action—but please, leave that vintage fur at home. Burt Murdock Music, 8932 S. State, 7 p.m. Info: 597-3817.
Also Wednesday: Bob Schneider (Suede); Magstatic (Liquid Joe’s).
Two Gallants (Kilby Court, Dec. 18). Global Funk Council (Urban Lounge, Dec. 18). Andy Williams Christmas (Abravanel Hall, Dec. 20). Kottonmouth Kings (In the Venue, Dec. 22). Trans-Siberian Orchestra (E Center, Dec. 30). Mickey & the Motorcars (Egos, Jan. 3). Ty Herndon (Velvet Room, Jan. 8). Showdown to SXSW Prelims (Various, Jan. 8). Minnie Driver (Eccles Center, Jan. 15).