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A Music Oasis

Where to see the nation's top acts, or the next big thing to come out of Utah

By Austen Diamond
Posted // February 18,2013 -

Given Salt Lake City’s pivotal location in the Intermountain West, it makes logistical sense for touring bands to stop here. But they stop here for more than gas money, because bands love this place. Salt Lakers are hungry for art, and they pack the venues listed below. Our fair town is gaining a national reputation—beyond Mormonism and the Wasatch Mountains—as a music oasis.

Bar Deluxe
One of the many vibrant State Street music mainstays, Bar Deluxe is a venue with a neighborhood-bar feel, with its big oak-plank bar, a pool table and couches in the front. Concerts are, in general, Thursday through Saturday, when the stage is home to a lineup heavy on local acts, with occasional top-notch national acts ranging from psychobilly to reggae to rock. 666 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-532-2914, BarDeluxeSLC.com

Burt’s Tiki Lounge
Alongside the abundance of oddball collectable knick-knacks, every band leaves its mark by way of sticker or concert poster on Burt’s walls. It’s a veritable smorgasbord for the eyes when you aren’t headbanging to punk and heavy metal or being delighted by bluegrass and blues. 726 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-521-0572, Facebook

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CAVEDOLL AT BURT'S TIKI LOUNGE

The Complex
The relatively new kid on the block in the venue circuit, The Complex takes up the whole block. This massive 42,000-square-foot building is home to four venues—Rockwell, Vertigo, Grand, The Vibe—that can all host shows on the same night, with little crossover noise and with lots of fun cross-cultural interactions on the street. 536 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 888-316-5387, TheComplexSLC.com

The Depot
With arguably the best sound system in town—and let’s not forget the multiple bars and clean, spacious bathrooms (yes, the latter is worth a big shout-out)—The Depot is one of the best live-music venues around. Buzz bands and renowned legends can fill the spot to its 1,200 capacity, but you can escape for a little wiggle room and a perfect view from the upstairs balcony. Additionally, 2013 will see an adjoining sister venue, The 400, opening for smaller, more intimate shows. 400 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-355-5522, DepotSLC.com

In the Venue/Club Sound
Once imbibers get past the fact that they have to drink a beer on one side of a caged wall (or upstairs) at this all-ages joint, there’s a lot to enjoy. For one, during the summer, the rooftop bar offers impressive views of downtown and the Wasatch Mountains while you look down on an impressive flow of artists, like M83, Iron & Wine, Santigold and others. In the Venue also hosts club parties, while the adjoining venue Club Sound is strictly all-ages and hosts high-caliber indie bands weekly. 219 S. 600 West, Salt Lake City, 801-359-3219, InTheVenueSLC.com

Kilby Court
There is not a better live-music moment than when a band performs their encore at Kilby Court’s patio fire pit. And even if that doesn’t happen at every show, there are magical moments of the I-saw-them-first kind aplenty at this garage-turned-venue. Bands like The Decemberists, Vampire Weekend and Death Cab for Cutie played Kilby on their first national tours, and the all-ages venue continues to attract up-and-coming bands of that caliber. Better still, shows end by 10 p.m., so weeknight concerts don’t leave you dragging at work the next morning. 741 S. Kilby Court (330 West), Salt Lake City, 801-364-3538, KilbyCourt.com

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KILBY COURT

Liquid Joe’s
Saturdays are reserved for wildly popular ’80s cover band The Spazmatics. With hookah service and cheap drinks like $5 Long Islands and AMFs (Adios Motherf—kers), this Millcreek dance club will definitely inspire everybody to be “workin’ for the weekend.” 1249 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-5637, LiquidJoes.net

Park City Live
After taking over the venue that was once Harry O’s for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Park City Live had such a successful run that they decided to stick it out year-round. Attracting big-name reggae bands and celebrity DJs and hosting theme parties, this classy establishment is spreading its wings in 2013 with national bluegrass and Americana acts to give this mountain town a reputable venue again. 427 Main, Park City, 435-649-9123, ParkCityLive.net

The State Room
Seeing a show at The State Room is kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. The dance floor in front of the stage is perfect for busting a groove to a funk or jam band, while the tiered seating of the former children’s theater offers a place to chill out and listen to a blues legend or rising Americana star. Or, you could always hang out in the lobby, drinking a reasonably priced brew and socializing if you aren’t feeling the opener. 638 S. State, Salt Lake City, 800-501-2885, TheStateRoomSLC.com

The Urban Lounge
This joint boasts live music virtually every night of the week, from touring big names to local showcases. And each night can be completely different from the next, both in terms of genre—psych rock, indie rock, hip-hop, DJs and every other shade of music—and crowd. Music never starts before 9 p.m., so this is a venue for late-night party people. 241 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-746-0557, TheUrbanLoungeSLC.com

Velour Live Music Gallery
When walking into Velour, you get a sense that you’re walking through the creative catacombs of owner Corey Fox’s mind. Everything has a story, from the velvet curtain behind the stage to the magic electro-orb by the sound booth. But the stories most folks focus on are how this is the starting place for numerous Utah County bands now signed to major record labels—Neon Trees, Imagine Dragons, Fictionist—and how the Provo music scene is unexpectedly vibrant and robust. Bands play on the weekends, but you might catch Provo’s next big thing at the weekly open mic. 135 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-818-2263, VelourLive.com

 
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