YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND, KELLER WILLIAMS
“Life is like a dumb song that gets stuck in your head,” Keller Williams sings on a track off his 2007 release, Dream, a collaborative album that hardly qualifies as “dumb,” though the solid songwriting and experimental accents definitely catch. Dream builds on a seemingly pipe-dream wish-list lineup of guest artists—a veritable who’s who of jam band, jazz and bluegrass heroes, including Victor Wooten, Charlie Hunter, Bela Fleck and Michael Franti. It’s an imaginative project that showcases both Williams’ serious skill set and taste for playful experimentation (check the Peter Frampton-esque vocal manipulation on “Life”). Williams is the perfect warm-up for Yonder Mountain String Band whose high-energy shows are in such demand that the Colorado speedy-bluegrass peddlers recently released the fifth installment of their live album series which is quite aptly named, Mountain Tracks Five. Nothing beats the real deal, though, so get down here tonight. Gallivan Center, 239 S. Main, 7 p.m. Free. All-ages.
• Also Thursday: Leslie & The Badgers, The Devil Whale, RuRu (Velour, Provo)
TORREY MUSIC FESTIVAL
Torrey is a small town whose year-round residents are big on ideas. It’s no wonder their creativity flows eternal, given the surroundings. Artists like David Williams wake to the power-line-free grandeur of a mist-covered morning and slowly but surely go about the business of making music. Honest, genuine, no-frills—that’s the type of qualifiers that describe the artists who perform in Torrey’s annual summer music festival. The three-day event features a diverse lineup of local and regional musicians who, though diverse in sound, share an affinity for red-rock country and all it entails—a sense of history, of community, respect for the land, and for each other. This year’s crop of musicians includes Sweet Sunny South, Stacey Board Trio, The Black Hens (with Williams), Will Barclay, Tangle Ridge, Lab Dogs and many others. Carpool and stay the weekend. Good times ahead. Robber’s Roost Books & Beverages, 185 W. Main, Torrey. All-ages. Info: TorreyMusicFestival.com. Through Sunday.
THE REPUBLIC TIGERS
Filming a music video in the desert sounds super rad, until you realize the desert is a dry dust bowl that sweeps jagged particles into your eyes and chaps the lips thus resulting in some fairly uncomfortable lip-syncing. Such were the lessons learned by The Republic Tigers as they shot footage for their first single, “Buildings and Mountains,” off their debut, Keep Color. It all worked out, of course, as most things are looking up for the atmospheric rock band out of Kansas City, Mo. The Chop Shop release is mostly straight-up bouncy electronic indie-pop-rock with cool echo-laden harmonies and ’80s new-wave-ish/vaguely British, vaguely HoJo sounding lead vocals. It’s very pretty. Like the desert. Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 7 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 24Tix.com (with Jeremy Jay)
• Also Friday: Rock & Blues Festival (Snowbird—Read Essentials); Martina McBride (Usana Amphitheatre); Peter Breinholt (Sandy Amphitheater); GBH (Avalon); Alkaline Trio (In the Venue); Joshua James (Club Sound); Secret Chiefs 3 (Paladium); Crystal Method (The Hotel); Leslie & The Badgers, Cub Country, Band of Annuals (Urban Lounge); Appetite for Deception: Guns N’ Roses Tribute (Bar Deluxe); Imagine: Beatles Tribute (Tracks Brewing Co., Tooele)
Paul Thorn (Snowbird—see Music); U92 Summer Jam (Usana Amphitheatre); Scary Kids Scaring Kids (Avalon); Son Ambulance (Kilby Court); Hal Ketchum (Sandy Amphitheater); Rock & Blues Festival (Snowbird); Skirt, The Wolfs (Burt’s Tiki Lounge); Mighty Cash Cats: Johnny Cash Tribute (Club Vegas); Ghostowne CD Release (Paladium)
James Taylor (Usana Amphitheatre); Saving Abel (Avalon); Chris Isaak (The Depot); The Front (Burt’s Tiki Lounge)
One of the loudest concerts I ever attended was Jeff Beck at Kingsbury Hall. It’s quite possible Jennifer Batten’s stop tonight at Addicted Café will rival her one-time collaborator’s sonic Salt Lake City touchdown. You might recognize Batten as one of Michael Jackson’s guitarists (for several tours and his Super Bowl XXVII appearance), but she’s much more than just a back-up musician. A feminist icon in her own right, Batten powered her way to the top of a traditionally testosterone-flooded field with her strong grasp of the two-handed tapping technique. Batten no longer sports her killer ’80s ’do—it put the biggest hair-band coifs to shame—but she’s definitely still playing great music. Check out Batten’s 2008 release, Whatever, for a sneak preview of live action. Addicted Cafe, 511 W. 200 South, 8 p.m, all-ages. Info: 532-1453
MICKY & THE MOTORCARS, RANDY ROGERS BAND
There’s nothing “alt” about Micky & The Motorcars, though the Idaho-bred, Austin-based band is often billed as such. Their sound is straight-up country with a pop edge that’s neither raw nor slick like the Top 40 Stetson-wearing stars of today. ’Round these parts, we tend to hear a lot of Americana, folk and roots-rock albums, and that’s great. But sometimes you just want a good old boy to serenade you with his genuine, heartfelt sentiments. “The trouble with romance is taking your chances/ and the desperation of a downtown night.” Isn’t that sweet? Come on. Let’s line dance. Bar Deluxe, 666 S. State, 9 p.m. Info: 521-5255
• Also Wednesday: Chase Pagan, Michael Gross, Ben Johnson (Kilby Court); Travis Tritt (The Depot); Rehab (Avalon); Kill Whitney Dead (Club Boom Va, Ogden)
Nada Surf, Tim Fite (Gallivan Center, Aug. 7); Regeneration Tour: Human League (Usana Amphitheatre, Aug. 7); Uncle Uncanny’s Music Festival (Wind Walker Guest Ranch, Aug. 7-9); Stand Strong Again Benefit (The Hotel, Aug. 8); Foghat (Ogden Amphitheatre); Alejandro Escovedo, Greg Brown (Red Butte Garden, Aug. 10)