Live: R.E.M., Sparta, Clay Aiken ... 

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FRIDAY 11/26


Clear Channel beware: D.I.Y purists are working fervently to overthrow your homogenized regime. Groups like Despistado, Owen, Me Without You and The Snake the Cross the Crown have joined forces on the Radio Takeover Tour, a movement driven by and designed for the independent music community. The event will showcase herky-jerky punk, melodic emo and electronic alt-country—a little something for everyone tired of predictably packaged Top 40. As Despistado’s Dagan Harding told Eye Weekly, “I think rock & roll is the solid state, and everything else is peripheral.” Lo-Fi Café, 127 S. West Temple, 7 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 800-888-8499.


Summing up R.E.M. in 90 words or less is a task complicated by the group’s ancient catacomb of verified hits and lesser-known stabs at the dark. Just think, you could focus on Michael Stipe as Georgia’s greatest anomaly, or speculate on the loss of drummer Bob Berry. Maybe you’d rather poke fun at “Shiny Happy People,” and cry over “Everybody Hurts.” In the end, it might be wise to examine the band in its entirety, forgive the take-it-or-leave-it nature of 2004’s Staring at the Sun and try to guess the shape of things to come. E Center, 3200 S. Decker Lake, 7:30 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 800-888-8499.


Self-described social activist Reaper spends his day job crafting haunting lyrics with fellow storyteller Ply. The hip-hop duo tackles topics Chingy wouldn’t dream of touching—from guns in schools to truth in media—as part of their commitment to exploring life’s darkest corners. Bad Dreams’ heavy content might be to blame for a lack of major label interest, but according to their Raceless Records Website, “humanity will never get rid of violence unless we confront our shadow.” Room 32, 32 Exchange Place, 9 p.m. Info: 359-1300.



Jim Ward is tired of hearing about Omar and Cedric. His old cronies from At the Drive-In left him for Mars Volta when their discombobulated screamo project split like a one-armed scissor. Since then, Ward has regrouped with Sparta—three-fifths ATDI plugged into emo-tinged prog rock. Streamline, delicate and durable, the band is more digestible than its previous incarnation suggests, maintaining a hard edge while appealing to the masses. “I’ve never been one to hope for fame and fortune, but I like the idea of people connecting with our music,” Ward told Skratch. In the Venue, 579 W. 200 South, 7 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 800-888-8499.

Also Saturday: Yanni (Delta Center); Ryan Shupe Christmas (Thanksgiving Point).

MONDAY 11/29


Somewhere out there, someone’s vomiting in their mouth. Of course, that’s not to say Clay Aiken isn’t a good guy. The former American Idol runner-up lends support to disabled people through the Bubel/Aiken Foundation! He’s also inspired wannabe crooners with, Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music of Your Life, an ugly ducking tale designed to help other self-professed geeks access their inner diva. Aiken’s current project—spreading yuletide gay—comes on the heels of a brand-spankin’ new Christmas album sure to inspire a chorus of, “Is that, is that, is that how you measure a man?” Abravanel Hall, 123 S. West Temple, 8 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 355-2787.



Last year, thousands of angry Canadians rioted in the streets after The Exploited canceled a much-anticipated performance. The gratuitous displays of violence and mayhem seemed out of place in downtown Montreal, but for frontman Wattie Buchan and his revolving crew of misfits, it was a natural extension of punk. After spending 23 years igniting anti-authoritarian fires, the hardcore British rockers continue to inspire spontaneous eruptions. 2003’s F—k the System, confirms as much. Here’s hoping they show up. Lo-Fi Café, 127 W. South Temple, 7 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 800-888-8849.

Also Tuesday: Ben Stokes, Slow Dance Regret (Burt’s Tiki Lounge); Spectrum Beauty (Todd’s Bar & Grill); Barrington Levy (Suede).



Manufacturers of black eyeliner are thrilled with Hilary Duff. The 17-year-old Lolita-but-I-love-my-mom-so-get-off-my-back pop star is rarely seen without enough makeup to make men think she’s legal (c’mon—it’s Lizzie McGuire for crying out loud!). Other people love her for making sweet pop songs about rain! with earnest adolescent flair. Duff is currently making the rounds on the Jingle Ball tour with Simple Plan and Bowling for Soup (see Music, p. 61), neither of which is known for being “smokin’ hot.” Delta Center, 300 W. South Temple, 6:30 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 325-2000.


Thank goodness for Hewlett-Packard. The computer giant brought L.A.-based bubblegum rockers The Dollyrots to a movie theater near you with its digital photography ad campaign. It’s not clear whether “Feed Me, Pet Me” inspired sales of PCs and printers, but the trio’s commercial appearance likely inspired the kids of America to rediscover Ronnie & the Ronnettes. Take a clue from singer/bassist Kelly Ogden, who loves Girl Scout cookies, bugs and Dirty Dancing: “We are nice and we’re happy kids for the most part. We aren’t going to pretend we’re pissed off or something ’cause it’s cool,” she told 100 Punks. Liquid Joe’s, 1249 E. 3300 South, 9 p.m. Info: 467-5637.


Carrier (Kilby Court, Dec. 2). Jane Siberry (Mo Diggity’s, Dec. 2). Aquabats (Sound, Dec. 4). Jane Monheit (Eccles Center, Dec. 4). Drowning Pool (Lo-Fi Café, Dec. 5). Edith Frost (Crazy Goat, Dec. 6). Dokken (Velvet Room, Dec. 6). Gwar (Lo-Fi Café, Dec. 7). Keith Urban (E Center, Dec. 7). Kurt Bestor Christmas (Abravanel Hall, Dec. 7-11). English Beat (Velvet Room, Dec. 10).

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