JOHN MAYER, MAROON 5
Wasn’t it just last year that lil’ John Mayer was in Utah opening for Counting Crows, whoever they are? Now Mayer’s a mellow-rock star in his own right, as millions of CD shoppers paid no attention to the misleading title of Heavier Things (Columbia). Next year, bet on seeing openers Maroon 5—a testament to persistent touring and marketing, as their album was first released in, what, 1995?—headlining the Usana Amp. THURSDAY, July 8 @ Usana Amphitheater, 5400 S. 6200 West, West Valley City, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499.
She’s not even 22 and she’s already released a best-of compilation album—ever feel like a slacker? LeAnn Rimes’ Greatest Hits (Curb) chronicles her 1996 out-of-the-gate country success with “Blue” through 2002’s down-the-drain pop sexpot makeover with Twisted Angel which, after Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty” came a fews weeks later, doesn’t really seem all that skanky. Oh, back to LeAnn: Pretty gal, nice voice, she should do well in future endeavors. FRIDAY, July 9 @ Thanksgiving Point, Lehi, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: 325-7328.
Champaign, Ill.’s Braid (most of whom now rock as Hey Mercedes) have reunited for a farewell tour—yes, we’ve all been burned by reunion/farewell tour promises before, but this one seems sincere. As does everything about Braid, who were playing (more accurately, inventing) the math-rock/emo-pop card years before everyone else came along to adopt the sound and vehemently reject the tag simultaneously. Ah, early-’90s nostalgia. SATURDAY, July 10 @ Lo-Fi Café, 127 S. West Temple, 8 p.m. Info: LoFiCafe.com (with Recover).
Where’s the new album? The follow-up to the 2002 platinum debut from Orem screamo heroes The Used is due to finally drop this fall, according to Reprise Records people who use terms like “screamo” and “drop.” Before Bert & Co. hit the road on the Projekt Revolution Tour later this month with Linkin Park, Korn and Snoop Dogg, they’re warming up with a hometown show. All together now: Aaarrrggghhh!!! SATURDAY, July 10 @ McKay Event Center, Orem, 6 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499 (with New Transit Direction and Broke).
He may have been the last dude to play a New Year’s Eve at the Zephyr Club, but hard-rockin’ honky-tonker Jesse Dayton still hasn’t answered Hey Nashvegas!, the 2001 disc that played up his Lone Star alt-country crooner side to critical acclaim; the press mantle as the hottest Americana ticket around suits Dayton fine. “My favorite writers have always attracted cult followings,” he says, “and have still been able to do exactly what they wanted to do.” SUNDAY, July 11 @ Egos, 668 S. State, 9:30 p.m. Info: 521-5255.
No longer a teen blues phenom (he’s now 23), Jonny Lang has settled into that elder bluesman tradition of releasing albums sparingly, thus explaining the time lapse between 1998’s Wander This World and last September’s R& -steeped Long Time Coming (A& ), if not its lack of straight blues. “I felt I was kind of pigeonholed as doing what a blues-guitar dude should do,” Lang says. “But in my mind, I’m not a blues singer.” MONDAY, July 12 @ Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah, 8 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499.
Anyone who thinks the neo-jam-funk genre hasn’t yet produced a classic album should try Mofro’s Southern-fried debut Blackwater on for size. The Florida fivesome’s swamp-gas grooves, led by the soulful throat and harmonica of J.J. Grey, bridge the gap between Sly and Skynyrd as naturally as bacon and grits, says damn near every reviewer in the US of A. Their second, Lochloosa (Fog City), is due out later this month. MONDAY, July 12 @ Egos, 668 S. State, 9:30 p.m. Info: 521-5255.
The Boston Globe calls her “a firecracker, combining killer piano with throaty-to-tender vocals. She delivers a hot kick that lingers,” while the Austin Chronicle says she’s “a class act whose soulful, horn-laden swamp pop and murderous honky-tonk make her a stellar example of musical artistry.” We’re of course quote-slinging here for Austin pianist-singer Marcia Ball, whose new So Many Rivers (Alligator) is just that good. TUESDAY, July 13 @ Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Way, 7 p.m. Tickets: 325-7328.
MANDA & THE MARBLES
Sure, the titular bombshell bassist-singer of Columbus’ Manda & The Marbles is a hot number, but the critical-darling trio’s sophomore disc, Angels With Dirty Faces, has a dozen hotter ones straight outta the land of Square Pegs and The Fabulous Stains. If you’re not up on your ’80s trivia, that means spunky power-pop with sugar-smacked choruses and a new-wave tang that melts in your ears and your parachute pants. TUESDAY, July 13 @ Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 8 p.m. Info: 320-9887.
Diana Krall’s latest album, The Girl In the Other Room (Verve), is a critical and commercial smash, though purists continue to cite her PR machine’s obvious push to market her as a jazzbo sex symbol. (Can you really blame ’em?) Still, Krall’s luxurious piano chops, sensual voice and sly sense of humor transcend the hype, and we’ve actually gotten through this blurb without mentioning hubby Elvis Costello ... damn. WEDNESDAY, July 14 @ Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499.
Four hours of ska for 10 bucks! The lineup of Kid Django, Eastern Standard Time and Dr. Ring-Ding, each one a killer in the genre, should set ska nuts drooling, and did you catch the part about $10? “I’m looking forward to hanging out with all of them for a few weeks,” says Kid Django of the tour. “The show is going to be pretty intense.” And only 10 bones! WEDNESDAY, July 14 @ Suede, 1612 Ute Blvd. (Park City), 9 p.m. Info: 435-658-2665.
Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash (Egos, July 15). The Killers (Lo-Fi Café, July 15). Michelle Shocked (Mo Diggity’s, July 15). Harry Connick Jr. (Abravanel Hall, July 16). Vans Warped Tour (Utah State Fairpark, July 17). Junior Brown (Egos, July 18). Bodeans, Bob Schneider (Suede, July 18). Sarah McLachlan (E Center, July 19). Blood Brothers (Kilby Court, July 19). Sweetback (Suede, July 19). The Gourds (Egos, July 20). Reverend Horton Heat (In the Venue, July 22). Sonic Youth (In the Venue, July 25). Superjoint Ritual, Lacuna Coil (Ritz, July 25). The Hives, Sahara Hotnights (In the Venue, July 29).