FRIDAY JULY 12
Dizzy Wright & Hopsin
Every year, XXL Magazine releases a “Freshman Class” issue—a sweeping attempt to introduce fans to rap’s next big thing. Past issues have shined light on heavy hitters like Big Sean, Wiz Khalifa and Freddie Gibbs. However, it should also be noted that XXL has also predicted greatness from one-and-done emcees like Charles Hamilton and Rich Boy. At this year’s SLC Rise Up Festival, rap fans will get a glimpse at two of XXL’s Freshman elite: Ruthless Records rapper Hopsin (Freshman Class of 2012) and Las Vegas-based young’un Dizzy Wright (Freshman Class of 2013). Since their XXL debuts, both rappers have been making steady waves, but if anything, this festival is a prime opportunity to see for yourself if XXL can still make a good call. Concise Kilgore, Dope Thought, Zigga and DJ Juggy are also on the bill. (Colin Wolf)
Liberty Park, 700 E. 1300 South, 5 p.m., $15
SATURDAY JULY 13
The story of where Los Angeles-based rock trio Nico Vega’s name came from might be confusing, but bear with us. Former drummer Mike Peña originally named the band after his mother in 2005, but now, Nico Vega is considered to be a nebulous sort-of muse who, according to the band’s Facebook page, “represents a … warrior that has led us to a more fulfilling, lighter way of being. She represents people and unity. She fights for all of us and teaches us to fight for each other.” The product of that fighting spirit is Nico Vega’s vicious sound, with drums that hit harder than a punch to the gut, guitar that leaves a trail of blood in its wake and, above it all, the battle cry of Aja Volkman’s gritty vocals. Speaking of the fog of war, gamers will recognize the anthemic song “Beast” from the trailer for the first-person shooter video game Bioshock Infinite. Nico Vega’s sophomore LP, Lead to Light, is due to be released sometime this year. Crash Kings and Joel Pack & the Pops open the show.
Bar Deluxe, 666 S. State, 7:30 p.m., $12 in advance, $15 day of show
While they may not actually hail from the Golden State, Chicago-based quartet California Wives (bassist Dan Zima, guitarist Graham Masell, drummer Joe O’Connor, keyboardist/vocalist Jayson Kramer) sound as if they do. Their songs sound straight off The O.C. soundtrack, and make you want to drive down Pacific Coast Highway in a convertible with the stereo blaring. The band’s debut album, Art History (Vagrant Records), is a solid effort filled with rockin’ guitar riffs and cool synthesized beats. The band manages to perfectly blend rock, pop and ’80s new wave, creating breezy, upbeat songs. Their tracks are a bit reminiscent of the ’80s, but stay current with fast tempos and bouncy rhythms. My Gold Mask opens the show. (Renee Estrada)
Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court (330 West), 8 p.m., $8
David Wax Museum
This “Mexo-Americana” duo was a match made in folk-music heaven: Guitarist and Missouri native David Wax brings to the table the knowledge he gained by frequently traveling to Mexico to learn at the feet of master traditional musicians; and vocalist/violinist Suz Slezak grew up in rural Virginia, where she was immersed in Irish, American roots and classical music. The two crossed paths in 2007, and the rest is history. The refreshing sound Slezak and Wax create—as heard on their newest album, Knock Knock Get Up, released in September—is a multifaceted, cross-cultural blend of horns, call & response vocals, mariachi-inspired guitar work and heartfelt lyrics. But the coolest instrument of all, played by Slezak, is an Afro-Peruvian quijada, or dried-up donkey jawbone; when struck with a wooden stick, the teeth rattle and shake in their sockets in an intriguingly macabre way. Bramble and Hope & Tim will start the show.
Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court (330 West), 7 p.m., $10
In Slavic mythology, Baba Yaga is a forest-dwelling, child-eating witch who lives in a house that walks around on giant chicken legs. Futurebirds’ latest album, released in April on Fat Possum, is also named Baba Yaga. And while a fairy-tale character and a country-tinged psych-rock album might seem to have nothing to do with each other, the title describes the struggles that the Athens, Ga.-based five-piece went through to get the record out. “We got pretty discouraged, feeling like maybe [the album] would never see the light of day, and one day I was … saying, ‘God, is this record some mythical creature out in the woods that only exists in our imaginations?’ ” singer/guitarist Carter King explains in a press release. “Then we read about Baba Yaga, and that perfectly described how we were feeling about this record.” Luckily for fans, Futurebirds hung tough, and the product is mellow and gorgeous, filled with wailing slide guitar and evocative lyrics. Diarrhea Planet starts the show.
The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 9 p.m., $10
TUESDAY JULY 16
“Crucified lizards.” “Shed skin twice as a youth.” “Indian burial ground.” From these nonsensical phrases on avant-garde musician/artist Sorne’s (full name Morgan Sorne) “about” page on Sorne.com, don’t you feel like you know him so much better? Yeah, me neither. But he doesn’t mind being an enigma. After all, his out-there-doesn’t-even-scratch-the-surface debut album, House of Stone, released in 2011, centered around five mysterious beings—as well as the Divine Mother—called First Born, Second Son, Black Sister, Little Brother and Blue Sister, which Sorne says reflect “archetypes of the human condition.” The ethereal album uses storytelling and handmade and found objects to weave a sonic narrative that’s based around the death of Sorne’s father. The songs themselves are weird, elusive creatures, full of Sorne’s strange, chant-like vocals and hypnotic synths; check out House of Stone’s “Omnipotent,” as well as the titular single from his upcoming sophomore album, Ego Altar, due to be released sometime this year. Arrows Inward and Gaszia open the show.
The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 9 p.m., $6
It’s not 1980: You can’t smoke at an indoor concert, and you can’t go see British goth-rock band Bauhaus in their heyday. But you can see the very next-best thing: frontman Peter Murphy performing only Bauhaus classics with the backing of a full band, as part of his Mr. Moonlight Tour. Since Bauhaus broke up in 1983, the band tried to reunite a couple of times in 1998 and 2005, but always ended up falling apart again. Luckily for devoted fans, Murphy took on the responsibility of keeping the dark flame of Bauhaus alive, and has been performing sold-out shows worldwide. Songs like “In the Flat Field,” “She’s in Parties” and, of course, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” hooked music fans with their dismal barbs when they were first released, and today, still haven’t lost their cult status. So, put on your black leather jacket and get ready for some seriously moody swaying.
The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 9 p.m., $25