Music Picks Dec. 27-Jan. 1 | Live: Night at the Disco, Iota, DJ Big Stefan, New Year’s Eve 

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Thursday 12.27
Salty Rootz (Piper Down); Pink Traktor (Burt’s Tiki Lounge); Zig’s Big Electric Blues Jam (Pat’s BBQ); The Body (Huka Bar & Grill)

Friday 12.28
Salt Lake City DJ Nick James took a break from music six months ago when it “stopped being fun,” leaving behind his turntables to pursue various projects including an online advice column which recently, perhaps inevitably, sent him right back to the local nightclub circuit. Inspired by friends’ frequent dating woes, he launched a plan to connect like-minded party people on the dance floor. James basically cooked up a for-friends-by-friends Studio 54-styled night that maintains the ’70s disco spot word-of-mouth spirit without its nasty velvet-rope roll call. Instead, revelers gain entrance by joining an online VIP list which delivers text message/email invites prior to each event. It might seem convoluted, but by incorporating a little crowd control into his party, James hopes to co-create an effective meeting of the minds, bodies and souls. The event also takes a page from underground raves, which means you won’t know the location until organizers get in touch.

Holidays leave your wallet fresh out of cash? Don’t stress. Walk, skate, bike or hitch a ride to Uprok for an evening of free hip-hop for all ages. Tonight’s your chance to check out some of Salt Lake City’s tightest emcees and DJs—and if you still think Utah lacks quality hip-hop, you’re just being stubborn. Do a little research, and you’ll discover several artists proving they can hold their own on a national level. The Bad Apples recently snagged mainstream radio play for a track off their new album Far From the Tree, a release built on the quartet’s smooth vocal interplay and innovative, sometimes grim, samples. Then there’s Mindstate, keeping it old-school fresh, plus The Knoitalls and Sick Sense & Skinwalker. Uprok, 342 S. State, 8 p.m. Info:

Also Friday: Eric Bell (Alchemy Coffee); Xaalis, I Hear Sirens (Kilby Court); Red Bennies, Starmy, LeForce (Urban Lounge); Stacey Board (Pat’s BBQ); Circle of Hearts Benefit Show (Broken Record); I Am The (Bar Deluxe); Three Reasons, SuperSoFar, Funk & Gonzo (Club Vegas)

Saturday 12.29
Nearly five years after former SLUG/City Weekly writer Rebecca Vernon swore she’d have to kill somebody if Salt Lake City metal band Iota wasn’t signed to Small Stone or High Times Records by the end of 2004, the devastating trio finally is releasing a full-length album on Small Stone, due out in 2008. The news comes after the loss of their original drummer, replaced by local rocker-about-town Andy Patterson (prize awarded to anyone who can tell us how many times his name has appeared in this paper). So buy them a drink, smash a glass against your head and celebrate when Iota plays with Electric Space Jihad (Dirty Uncle Dave Rage and Leif the Lucky spinning an “eclectic” blend of tunes, heavy on the rock and Ace Frehley) and the always entertaining Pink Lightnin.’ The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 10 p.m. Info: 746-0557

Also Saturday: Lion Dub, Expulsion (Red Light Books); Benefit for Gil: Slippery Kittens Burlesque, Thunderfist, Pagan Love Gods (Bar Deluxe); Huka Sound Explosion with Rock of Love’s Jes (Huka Bar); Super Diamond (The Depot); Sunhouse Healers (Brewskis, Ogden)

Monday 12.31
Ring in the New Year by going back—way back, with the triumphant return of DJ Big Stefan (who by all accounts has dropped enough weight to change his name to Mid-Sized). One of Ogden’s favorite sons, Stefan started spinning at 15, honing his craft wherever and whenever, from bar mitzvahs to 2002’s winter Olympics. He quickly earned a reputation as an equal-opportunity entertainer, rocking a versatile menu on his trusty turntables (hip-hop one night, house music the next) before relocating to Indianapolis in 2003 where he now holds regular gigs including a monthly soul sessions party. There are plenty of competing events vying for your attention on this wintry evening, but with Stefan’s tight/gully beats—not to mention a Champagne toast, money-balloon drop and Linus’ tight/gully visuals projected onstage, this is the place to kiss off 2007 in style. Rumors, 2510 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 8:30 p.m. Info: 801-827-1000 (with DJ Chassis)

Also Monday: First Night SLC (Downtown Salt Lake City); Tolchock Trio, Future of the Ghost, Patter Starts, Kid Theodore (Kilby Court); Tribute to Sinatra’s Rat Pack (Rose Wagner Theater); DJ Rebel & Tallman (Monk’s); Blackhole, Skullfuzz, Thunderfist (Burt’s Tiki Lounge); The Wolfs, Ted Dancin’ (Urban Lounge); Die Monster Die (Bar Deluxe); Massacre at the Wake, Cave of Roses (Club Vegas); DJs Radar & Dance Commander (Area 51); DJ Ryan Powers, Electric Space Jihad (The Depot); NYE Prom: DJs Latu & Juggy (The Hotel); ?uestlove (Harry O’s, Park City); The Detonators (Spur Bar, Park City)

Coming Up
Joshua James, Band of Annuals (Kilby Court, Jan 4); School of Rock: Guitar Gods (The Circuit, Jan. 4-5); I Am the Ocean (Muse Music, Jan. 5); Reverend Payton’s Big Damn Band (Burt’s Tiki Lounge, Jan. 8); City Weekly SLAMMys (Various venues, Jan. 11-Feb. 2); Robert Earl Keen (Harry O’s, Jan. 11); Deadbeats CD Release (Kilby Court, Jan. 11); Sea Wolf (Kilby Court, Jan. 17); The Bravery (In the Venue, Jan. 19); Michael Franti & Spearhead (The Depot, Jan. 25-26); Job for a Cowboy (Avalon Theater, Jan. 29); Liars (Urban Lounge, Jan. 31)

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