THE ONLY CHILDREN
Emo architects The Anniversary split last year, leaving singer-guitarist Josh Berwanger, bassist James David and drummer Christian Jankowski looking for something new—ironically, it turned out be classic country- and blues-inflected rock. In rounding up extra players, dubbing the band The Only Children and recording the dusky-Stonsey Change of Living (Glurp, due out Nov. 2), Berwanger’s stumbled onto something new, old, borrowed and blue. Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 7:30 p.m. All-ages. Info: 320-9887 (with United States of Electronica).
COUNTRY BATTLE OF THE BANDS
If you’ve been wondering—as we have, honestly—about where all the local up-and-coming country & western artists are, the Westerner Club’s Battle of the Country Bands is the place to start eyeballing. It all kicks off tonight (with Melissa Jones, Lance Perry and the curiously-named Spunk Farm), continues every Thursday through October and concludes in November with one ultimate winner taking the crown (or belt buckle, as it were). The Westerner Club, 3360 S. Redwood Rd., 8 p.m. Info: 972-5447.
BLUES & BREWS FESTIVAL
The blues, Friday: Johnnie Marshall (5:30 p.m.), Too Slim & the Taildraggers (7:30 p.m.) and Phillip Walker (8:30 p.m.); Saturday: Hans Olsen (1 p.m.), Todd Tijerina (2 p.m.), Joanna Conner (3:30 p.m.), Terry Hanck (5 p.m.), Ron Hacker (6:30 p.m.) and Eddie Shaw (8 p.m.). The brews: Bohemian, Desert Edge, Eddie McStiff’s, Grand Teton, Hoppers, Moab, Park City, Red Rock, Rooster’s, Ruby River, Squatters, Tracks, Uinta and Wasatch. Gallivan Center, 239 S. Main, 5 p.m. (Friday); 11 a.m. (Saturday). Info: 535-6123.
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
It’s RedFest, kiddies! They’ve reached critical mass for their dreamy albums (the latest being the iTunes.com-only Studio X Sessions) and priceless name-drops on The O.C., but Seattle mood-poppers Death Cab for Cutie want the uninitiated to know they can in fact bring it live. “It’s a rock show,” singer Benjamin Gibbard says. “We dance around and have a good time. People might think we’re shoegazer-y, but we’re not.” RedFest, University of Utah, 8 p.m. All-ages. (with Rocky Votolato).
Head Automatica, an electronica-slammed-with-live-band collaboration between hardcore screamer Daryl Palumbo (Glassjaw) and DJ/producer Dan the Automator (Gorillaz, Handsome Boy Modeling School), ain’t as bizarre as it seems; it’s probably more commercial than anything either have done before. Their Decadence (Warner Bros.) debut skirts dance-punk new-wave, but it’s still rock & roll. “We’re an electronic cock-rock band,” Palumbo says. “You’re going to get a good show, and it’s going to sound stellar.” Lo-Fi Café, 127 S. West Temple, 8 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499 (with Ayin).
There are few funnier skate-punk anthems than “Wild In the Streets,” the title track to the Circle Jerks’ 1982 opus sporting the immortal line, “A ’64 Valiant, a head full of valium/ A couple of beers could really do me right.” But, does this SoCal hardcore unit have any business existing 22 years later? Yes, because Keith Morris & Co. are touring with absolutely nothing new to promote—that’s punk. The Velvet Room, 145 W. 200 South, 8 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499 (with GBH).
A FRIENDLY AFFAIR
Twenty-four hours prior to SLUG magazine’s first annual Pirate Pub Crawl on national Talk Like a Pirate Day (no, we’re not sure what that’s all about, either), participating pub Todd’s will host A Friendly Affair, a benefit show for friend of the snowboarding community Brad Hatcher. The $10 minimum cover donation goes toward Hatcher’s mounting medical bills in his battle against cancer; drink specials, raffles and prizes are in order; music will be provided by the ladies of Stiletto and the men of Edgar’s Mule. Oh, and Todd’s will be smoke-free for the evening. Todd’s Bar & Grill, 1051 S. 300 West, 9 p.m. Info: 328-8650.
We’re still waiting for Britain’s Gomez to finally break through stateside—if the new Split the Difference (Virgin) doesn’t do it, nothing will. After electronic experiments, the band’s returned to straight-ahead rock & roll, full of big harmonies and bigger guitars—if not better titles. “We have a song ‘Nothing is Wrong.’ It was called ‘The Coldplay Song’ until the very, very last minute,” drummer Olly Peacock told VH1. “Then we were like, ‘We gotta change it.’” In the Venue, 579 W. 200 South, 7:30 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 800-888-8499.
Texas Stratocaster master Jimmie Vaughan rarely gets the recognition he deserves—and not just as brother to the late Stevie Ray. From the Fabulous Thunderbirds in the ’70s and ’80s through his solo career, Vaughan’s elegant blues stylings have always been more literate than most. “I try to speak with my guitar in sentences,” he says. “If you just play a bunch of guitar licks that aren’t connected, it doesn’t make any sense.” The Velvet Room, 145 W. 200 South, 8 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499.
“We love the dance floor,” says bassist Babydaddy of the hype-of-the-moment Scissor Sisters, “but a nice mélange of influences is always going to take you someplace new.” Excellent usage of mélange. True, the New York City disco-glam band’s poptastic “Take Your Mama” comes across like the Starland Vocal Band on ecstasy, and their self-titled debut album ... who knows? Universal never bothered to send it. Are the Sisters’ 15 minutes up already? Liquid Joe’s, 1249 E. 3300 East, 9:30 p.m. Info: 467-5637.
SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM
The lines between pretty, grotesque, music and chaos mean naught to avant-jazz-classical-rock purveyors Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. SGM’s curators, guitarist Nils Frykdahl and bassist Dan Rathburn, spent a decade in Idiot Flesh, explaining their penchant for visceral sound collages and uncommon “instruments.” Violinist Carla Kihlstedt flashes of beauty within the intricate ugliness and growling voices around her, like Sarah Brightman knocking boots with John Zorn in a David Lynch flick. Egos, 668 S. State, 9:30 p.m. Info: 521-5255 (with Red Bennies).
Patti Rothberg (Mo Diggity’s, Sept. 23). Mike Watt (Egos, Sept. 24). X96 Big Ass Show (Utah State Fairpark, Sept. 25). Norah Jones (Usana Amphitheater, Sept. 25). Concrete Blonde (Velvet Room, Sept. 25). The Supersuckers (Egos, Sept. 25). The Slackers (Velvet Room, Sept. 27). Peter Rowan, California Guitar Trio (Port O’ Call, Sept. 28). The Pixies (Kingsbury Hall, Sept. 28). Fu Manchu (Crazy Goat, Sept. 28). Sahara Hotnights (In the Venue, Oct. 1). Division of Laura Lee (Lo-Fi Café, Oct. 4). Tech N9ne (Suede, Oct. 5). Old 97’s (In the Venue, Oct. 9). Fishbone (Velvet Room, Oct. 13).