Live: Music Picks Aug. 20-26 

Epic Rap Battles of History, Pimps of Joytime, Failure and more

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Epic Rap Battles of History
  • Epic Rap Battles of History

Epic Rap Battles of History
Since 2010, Peter "Nice Peter" Shukoff and Lloyd "EpicLLOYD" Ahlquist have been pitting figures from history and pop culture against one another with Epic Rap Battles of History, their immensely popular YouTube channel. Boasting more than 12 million subscribers, and averaging 30 million views per episode, Shukoff and Ahlquist have orchestrated hip-hop fisticuffs between cultural icons such as Rasputin vs. Stalin, Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates and Rick Grimes vs. Walter White. By definition, musical parodists are not to be taken seriously, but the pair's meticulously crafted wordplay flows easily while nailing the nuances of comedic timing. In addition to performing some of their more popular ERB bits, the duo's live show relies heavily on elements of improv comedy as well as audience participation—perfect for the venue's intimate environs. (Alex Springer) Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 7 p.m., $25,


James "Super Chikan" Johnson
  • James "Super Chikan" Johnson

Ogden Roots & Blues Festival
The lineup for this three-day, Aug. 21-23 festival, put on by Ogden Friends of Acoustic Music, is no joke. Mississippi bluesman James "Super Chikan" Johnson will be there playing his trademark cigar-box guitars. Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band (a three-piece, actually) is bringing vintage National, Resonator and Gibson guitars—and a washboard. Floridian blues-rock trio Swamp Cabbage will lay down their humid blues and odd covers like their hicked-up version of Isaac Hayes' "Theme from Shaft." All that, plus sultry blues crooner Janiva Magness, roots-rockin' singer-songwriter Eilen Jewel—and our own local sax master Joe McQueen is gonna prove that, even when you're nearly 100 years old, you can still blow like a champ. Check out for the daily lineup, as well as directions. (Randy Harward) Cutler Flats, 6800 North Fork Road, North Gate, Liberty, Friday, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, noon; one day, $30; three days, $63,


Black 'N Blue
  • Black 'N Blue

Black 'N Blue
Listen to Black 'N Blue and your brain summons images of sunny beaches and the phantom scent of cocoa butter. (Yet they're from rainy ol' Portland, Ore. Go figure.) The big choruses and happy, trebly power chords on songs like "Nature of the Beach" and "Miss Mystery" are bodacious and infectious—a whole lot of fun. So are balls-out rockers like "Autoblast," from their self-titled 1984 debut, which fans consider their magnum opus. Nearly 30 years later, they've released Hell Yeah (Frontiers), a return to first-album form. It's raw like AC/DC, and Jaime St. James' voice is lower and grittier, but after checking out recent performances on YouTube, these guys still sound great. (Randy Harward) Liquid Joe's, 1249 E. 3300 South, doors at 7 p.m., $15 advance/$20 day of show,


  • Nekrogoblikon

Nekrogoblikon, Crimson Shadows, The Manx
Are you one of the 4 million-plus people who've seen Nekrogoblikon's video for "No One Survives?" It made the Los Angeles-based, goblin-fronted, melodic death-metal band famous, and for good reason. Sure, they're gimmicky. Their singer—John Goblikon—is dressed in a full-body prosthetic, which is very metal. But sometimes he wears business-casual attire over it because, get this, he's an accountant—at least in that video, and the follow-up, hilariously titled, "We Need a Gimmick," from Heavy Meta (Mystery Box), the band's third full-length. And they would be exactly that, pure gimmickry, if they couldn't play or write. But this is one technical band, precise like an accountant at a Big Six firm—and also musically creative. Their brand of melodic death metal incorporates EDM (and even, I think, a banjo!) with nary a seam. Wait ... is precision a gimmick? (Randy Harward) Music Garage Live, 250 W. 1300 South, 6 p.m., $20,


Pimps of Joytime
  • Pimps of Joytime

Pimps of Joytime
A few years ago at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, I was stumped for something to see in the 9 p.m. time slot. Which is tough, because the place is infested with bands. But sometimes what you really wanna see is too far away. So you pull out your little guidebook and look for a band with a funny name. Sometimes you get lucky. When I walked into a little tent somewhere near Red River and 6th Street, these guys barely had a stage to play on. They were virtually on the same level as the audience, but they rocked the joint. Singer-guitarist Brian J looked like a cross between Morris Day, Prince and Santana—and that's about how the Pimps sounded, too. More like Day's band The Time, and Santana before Santana went lame. The Brooklyn/New Orleans band's fourth album, Jukestone Paradise (Write Home) is funky and cosmic, incorporating little twists—harmonica, electronic sounds from the book of Dee-Lite, and blaxploitation influences. If you want to see a really great band, don't miss this free show. (Randy Harward) Blues, Brews & BBQs Festival at Snowbasin Resort, 3925 Snowbasin Road, Huntsville, 12:30 p.m., free,


"Weird Al" Yankovic
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic
Michael Jackson and Madonna are odd company for a parody artist, but they share membership in an exclusive club with Weird Al Yankovic: They're the only artists to score Top 10 songs in four separate decades. Indeed, when Weird Al wrote his first parody "My Bologna" (his take on The Knack's "My Sharona") in 1979, who would have guessed that his career would outlast the original artists'? But it did, and almost 40 years later, Weird Al is riding the coattails of his first No. 1 album, 2014's Mandatory Fun (RCA). New material, including parodies of Imagine Dragon's "Radioactive" ("Inactive") and Pharrell Williams' "Happy" ("Tacky") as well as old classics ("Eat It" and "White and Nerdy") will be performed live in various costumes. Expect him to close out his set dressed as a Jedi, crooning Star Wars parodies. And don't expect him to slow down—the force is particularly strong with him. (Robby Poffenberger) Sandy Amphitheater, 1245 E. 9400 South, 8 p.m., $29-$54,


Kristian Matsson (aka The Tallest Man on Earth)
  • Kristian Matsson (aka The Tallest Man on Earth)

The Tallest Man on Earth, Lady Lamb
Classically trained, nimble-fingered guitarist, Kristian Matsson (aka Tallest Man on Earth) plays guitar, piano, banjo and sings on his newest record, Dark Bird is Home (Dead Oceans). Darker and more personal than prior releases, there is also a quirkiness and even a subtle whimsy through several of the tracks. That plays out in the deliberate and amusing banter between songs during his live show, which expands on this tour to include a full band. On the other side of the spectrum, the rocking and energetic Lady Lamb (Aly Spaltro) is opening the night, with a powerful voice and new tracks from her second album, After, on the Mom+Pop label. (Tiffany Frandsen) Park City Live, 427 Main, Park City, $25-$40, 9 p.m.,


  • Failure

Failure, The New Regime
The '90s revival continues with the reunion of a band responsible for one of the most popular, yet most square-peg-in-round-hole sounds of the decade. Failure's last album Fantastic Planet (Slash, 1996) was anti-grunge without quite the subtlety of indie acts like ironicker-than-thou Pavement. A thinking-person's Foo Fighters? Maybe. The sci-fi artwork of the disc belied themes of space rock as metaphors for drugs? Sex? All the popular vices of the decade? It's memorable enough to be set for reissue on vinyl later this year. The band's new album, The Heart Is a Monster (INgrooves Music Group), was released June 30, and it is a monster, at times lumbering, at others breathless. Opener The New Regime is the nom de tune of Nine Inch Nails/Lostprophets drummer Ilan Rubin. (Brian Staker) In the Venue, 219 S. 600 West, 6 p.m., $25 plus fees.

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