LIVE: Music Picks Sept. 22-28 

Con Brio, Agent Orange, Erasole James, and more

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THURSDAY 9.22
Con Brio
Their name means to play with gusto, and San Francisco funk/soul septet Con Brio does that fo' sho'. Led by 23-year-old frontman, Ziek McCarter—whose vocals and stage presence channel cats like Al Green, James Brown and Jamiroquai's Jay Kay—the band is a tornado of musical and political energy. Their debut album, Paradise (INgrooves Music Group), produced by Mario Caldato Jr. (yup, the Beastie Boys' knobs-and-sliders guy), applies the sounds of the '60s and '70s to themes like police brutality, hard times in the city, same-sex marriage, money and love. But even when they're tackling tough topics, Con Brio still leaves you exhilarated. (Randy Harward) The State Room, 638 S. State, 8 p.m., $17, 21+, TheStateRoomSLC.com

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Local Natives, Charlotte Day Wilson
Salt Lakers have already gone native, since Los Angeles band Local Natives played the Twilight Concert Series two years ago. In fact, it was on that stage that they laid bare their plans for their third and most recent full-length album, Sunlit Youth (Loma Vista, 2016). Originally from Orange County, they meld a polyglot of a sonic palette (Sunlit Youth was recorded in multiple continents)—and their polycultural percussion and infectious melodic sense has been as much a reaction to the conservativism in the area as was the surf rock of the '60s. It's also rather polished, as so much indie rock is these days: cured and curated, more pop than indie or rock. But the good and the bad net out to a refined sonic celebration. (Brian Staker) The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, 8 p.m., $24.50 in advance, $26.50 day of show ($1 from each ticket goes to support gender-based violence intervention and prevention programs; each ticket comes with an album download), DepotSLC.com

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Blink-182, A Day to Remember, All Time Low
It's about that time. You know, when pop-punk bands from the '90s start replacing key members because of irreconcilable musical differences, or some such euphemism for being sick of each other's shit. When that band is a trio, and two of those members wrote and sang in the band, it can get weird. Will the new guy (Matt Skiba, frontdude of Alkaline Trio) be OK singing the old dude's (Tom DeLonge) songs? Yeah, he is—and while he tries to emulate certain traits of DeLonge's vocal style, Skiba isn't trying to be a sound-alike. The net result, live and on the original tunes from the band's new album California (BMG), is a Blink-182 that sounds mature, which may be paradoxical—but it's kind of appealing, coming from the band that famously sang, "Well, I guess this is growing up." OK, now if only all those MySpace emo bands they spawned would do the same. Two of the rare good bands from that genre open. (Randy Harward) USANA Ampitheatre, 5150 S. 6055 West, West Valley, 7 p.m., $25-$75, Usana-Amp.com

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FRIDAY 9.23
Oh Wonder, Kevin Garrett
My list of musical petty grievances is growing—but isn't the knee-jerk reaction a critic's asset? The ability to fall instantly in love or hate with music alone certainly isn't. I hated some of my now-favorite music when I first heard it. So those insta-freakouts, the good and the bad, are passion—that's where it's a benefit. But you also have to revisit the music that evoked such spontaneous emotional combustion, and make sure your first reaction is true. You know, in case your assessment of the music wasn't based on, say, the music. I hated Oh Wonder after seeing a single poster. "Oh" in a band name rings breathless and precious; "wonder" makes it worse. Ditto a Zooey Deschanel look-alike, right down to the wide-brimmed hat and (kinda cute) bug eyes and even—I'd discover when I actually listened to the music—her cutesy, breathy vocals. Half an hour ago, I thought this London duo was gonna be another quaint retro-rustic indie-folk band. (And really, people, that shit has to stop. Put down the banjo, shave the beard, leave the barbershop, delete your Decemberists folder and try something else.) Alas, by Shakespeare's skullet, I was wrong about Oh Wonder. The name sucks, but the more I listen to these just smart-ish, spacey love songs, the more I'm enamored of Josephine Vander Gucht—and their gazillion YouTube views and sold-out shows make sense. Oh, Christ. I actually like them. (RH) The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, 8 p.m., $16 in advance, $18 day of show ($2 surcharge for under 21), DepotSLC.com

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SATURDAY 9.24
Agent Orange, Counterpunch
When punk rock landed on the beaches of Southern California in the late '70s, it was only natural that the high-energy bastard offspring of rock 'n' roll would mix well with the surf rock indigenous to the area. In the politically conservative Orange County of the Reagan era, their very name—recalling the ravages of the Vietnam War—must have caused local leaders some consternation. Times change, and Agent Orange, not unlike other punk bands that didn't simply disintegrate at some point, reoriented their rebellious energies into different arenas, like the world of extreme sports, riding the musical wave of movies, video games and even live sports events. Not as overtly political in their lyrics as some, Agent Orange has always paid homage to rock history with covers of "Secret Agent Man" and "Pipeline." (BS) Club X, 445 S. 400 West, 8 p.m., $12, 21+, ClubXSLC.com

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WEDNESDAY 9.28
Erasole James CD Release w/ Pikkoroh, Dine Krew, Malev Da Shinobi, Auratorikal, Mixter Mike
Rapper Erasole James, aka Harrison Montgomery, is prolific. In addition to his work with eminent local hip-hop group Dine Krew, he's dropping solo music left and right. Barely a year ago, he released the Tawa's Nephew LP and the EP No Time for Era. Now he's puttin' out Into the Muh. "Muh," he says via text message, is about personal problems: "misery, underestimation and hatred." In fact, it seems like the dude just can't stop. Asked how he keeps it up, he says, "I always enjoy being in a creative endeavor, music being one of my main expressive outlets. I want to push the limits within myself artistically so I can make songs that will last forever." He a poet and he know it. (RH) The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., free, 21+, TheUrbanLoungeSLC.com

Buckcherry, Sons of Texas
When Buckcherry bowed in the late '90s, they were hailed as the saviors of good ol' hard rock. Now they've settled into a niche, playing retreads of insipid stripper-fodder like "Crazy Bitch" (from their 2005 album 15) and pulling a Bret Michaels/Jon Bon Jovi move like attempting a country crossover ("The Feeling Never Dies," featuring a cameo from country singer Gretchen Wilson). The band's current album, ironically titled Rock 'n' Roll, is riddled with these. That takes nothing way from Buckcherry's ability to rock with the best of 'em. Their recent sets emphasize tracks from 15 which, thankfully, appears to leave no room for their contemporary dreck. (RH) The Royal, 4760 S. 900 East, 7 p.m., $30 in advance, $35 day of show, 21+, TheRoyalSLC.com

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