JENNY LEWIS, BON IVER
After months of hand-wringing anticipation, Salt Lake City Arts Council’s 2009 Twilight Concert Series kicks off this evening with a dreamy bill featuring Rilo Kiley siren Jenny Lewis and former cabin-bound lonely heart Bon Iver, aka Justin Vernon, who took the indie-music world by storm with his out-of-nowhere masterpiece For Emma, Forever Ago (2007). Vernon sets ablaze stripped-down folk with a raw, unflinching delivery that’s aching and longing in its most poetic form. Just listen to “Blood Bank,” the title track off his 2009 EP, a piercing follow-up to his breakout. Compared to Vernon, Lewis is a seasoned vet who went from indie darling to cover girl to an impressive solo artist whose foray into roots music is a gutsy move and has her sharing stages with the likes of Elvis Costello. Arrive early for the Twilight market. Hopefully, the people vending those delicious gourmet fries will be back. Oh, and prepare to get to know your neighbor. This year’s series is going to be awesome—and packed. Gallivan Center, 239 S. Main, 7 p.m. All-ages. Free.
SLC INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL
Think you’ve got jazz’s number? Think again. The eighth annual Salt Lake City International Jazz Festival boasts a diverse lineup of performers playing true-to-form standards, modern originals, Sin City R&B and sultry nightclub favorites, Dixieland swing and many other expressions of the versatile genre. Highlights include Las Vegas buzz band Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns, Oakland legends Tower of Power, China’s Youth Jazz Band of Tianjin Conservatory of Music, Great Basin Street Band featuring trumpeter Chuck Findley, and Spyro Gyra. Don’t miss local standouts John Henry featuring the next generation of cutting-edge players, Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra premiering Patrick Williams’ latest compositions, plus saxophonist Dave Halliday collaborating with Angela Bingham. Complete schedule available online at SLCJazzFestival.org
SNOWBIRD MOUNTAIN MUSIC FESTIVAL
Following the welcome trend of Utah festival organizers stepping up their game, Snowbird’s Renaissance Center debuts the first (hopefully annual) Mountain Music Festival, bringing one heck of a cool lineup to its new Peruvian Terrace. You can’t miss with any of the night’s lineups, but the obvious draws are Friday’s performers TR Richie, Justin Townes Earle and Cowboy Junkies who, like tour mates/co-headliners Son Volt (see Music) recently released a new album on Rounder Records. Trinity Revisted reinterprets their original standout Trinity Session with guests Ryan Adams, Vic Chestnutt and Natalie Merchant contributing to the continued legacy of the Americana greats. Saturday’s mustsee is the Old 97’s, whose group chemistry shows no signs of faltering on their seventh studio album. Ever-enchanting frontman Rhett Miller’s self-titled solo LP hit stores June 9. Also appearing Saturday are Alison Brown, The Seldom Scene, Bearfoot, The Bellville Outfit and Jim Lauderdale. Sunday wraps the festival with Darrell Scott, SteelDrivers and Greencards. The weekend also includes Bluegrass Camps for Kids, adult workshops, a band scramble, songwriting showcase and more. For complete details, visit SnowbirdRC.org.
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, RA RA RIOT, ANDREW BIRD
We’re not suggesting that you hike up the hill behind Red Butte Garden to steal a listen to this sold-out show. But here is what you will be missing should you stay home: Death Cab are the main draw, returning to Salt Lake City where they once played Kilby Court as emo heavyweights on the rise. Sensitive and beautiful, their music is often the ideal soundtrack to breaking up and letting go. For many, seeing band leader Ben Gibbard onstage will be a welcome reprieve from his constant presence in music blog tabloids as Mr. Zooey Deschanel. Ra Ra Riot infuse in their music the same grace, beauty and lust for life that helped them deal with the death of their drummer, whose spirit is celebrated on The Rhumb Line. It’s hard not to think of him when listening to songs like “Dying Is Fine,” which toasts mortality with a cello-propelled intensity that’s fearless and fun. Last but not least, who can forget Andrew Bird, who just one year ago played the Twilight Concert Series? The golden-voiced singer/whistler/multi-instrumentalist will sound otherworldly in this lovely venue. It’s worth a hike. Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Way, 7 p.m. All-ages.
The Black Keys, Human Highway (Gallivan Center, July 16); Doomtree (Kilby Court, July 16); Incubus, The Duke Spirit (Usana Amphitheater, July 16); Benny Benassi (Great Saltair, July 17); G. Love & Special Sauce (Harry O’s, July 17); Reverend Horton Heat (Depot, July 17); Weedeater (Club Vegas, July 18); The Wallflowers (Red Butte Garden, July 19); The Builders & The Butchers (Urban Lounge, July 20); Tori Amos (Abravanel Hall, July 20)