First things first: Original Furs Richard Butler (vocals), John Ashton (guitar) and Tim Butler (bass) are onboard for this tour, brought to you by the ever-ubiquitous VH1 Classic. There’s a smattering of new tunes, but the setlist consists mostly of the faves: “Pretty In Pink,” “Heartbreak Beat,” “Love My Way,” “The Ghost In You,” et al. Any doubt the ’80s geezers can’t still bring the rock was shattered in 2001 with the live Beautiful Chaos comeback album, but now how long until a reunion tour from the Butlers’ Love Spit Love? THURSDAY, March 25 @ Plan B, 268 Main, Park City, 9:30 p.m. Info: 435-615-7588 (with The Pleased).
LOW FLYING OWLS
Like some of us, New York City’s Low Flying Owls were soaking up the beer and BBQ of South By Southwest in Austin last week. We’re all back to work now; LFO still touring behind Elixir Vitae (Stinky Records), one of the best psychedelic-garage-prog-pop records released in 2003 and a magnet for much cooler-than-thou rock-press gushing. “You don’t buy into it, yet you hope,” singer-guitarist Jared Southard told City Weekly in January. “We want to start like an army of bees and end like a march of chain saws.” SATURDAY, March 26 @ Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 8 p.m. Info: 320-9887 (with Film School).
MING & FS
“This is not knucklehead music,” explains one-half of DJ/production duo Ming & FS—that would be Ming. “This is progressive hip-hop, blended with danceable grooves, drum & bass and live instrumentation, every style of music coming from a hip-hop perspective.” The NYC D& team has been rocking four turntables live since 1996, releasing dozens of remix discs and a handful of slammin’ original LPs like Hell’s Kitchen, The Human Condition and Subway Series (all on Om Records). They’re DJs who actually live up to the DJ hype—a nice change. FRIDAY, March 26 @ Harry O’s, 427 Main, Park City, 9:30 p.m. Info: 435-647-9494 (with Tortured Soul and Cosm).
He’s written hits for the Carpenters, Joe Cocker, Ray Charles, George Benson and more, as well as played session man to Frank Sinatra, Ike & Tina Turner, the Rolling Stones, the Byrds, the Ventures, Bobby Darin, Wayne Newton, Sam Cooke, Johnny Mathis, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, the Beach Boys, the list goes on—and yet no, Leon Russell has not been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. His recent collection of standards, Moonlight & Love Songs (LeonRussellRecords.com), might not change that, but who knows? They inducted Jann Wenner, after all. FRIDAY, March 26 @ Suede, 1612 Ute Blvd. (Kimball Junction), Park City, 9:30 p.m. Info: 435-658-2665 (with Joy & Eric).
The name sounds vaguely like a tennis pro, but stoner-rock aficionados know Brant Bjork specializes in a whole different racket: As the drummer for seminal SoCal bands Kyuss and Fu Manchu (as well as, briefly, offshoots Queens of the Stone Age and Mondo Generator), Bjork has provided the bedrock beat for some still-worshipped, heavy-ass metal. His solo outings, however, are somewhat lighter and varied—1999’s Jalamanta, 2002’s Brant Bjork & The Operators and last year’s Keep Your Cool (Duna) run from funk to new wave to psychedelia to rock places unexplained. SATURDAY, March 26 @ The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 9:30 p.m. Info: 746-0558 (with Red Bennies).
SOUL OF JOHN BLACK
“It’s music from the dirt,” ex-Fishbone singer-guitarist John Bigham says of his band Soul of John Black. “Sometimes it makes you want to dance and sometimes cry. And if you can’t party and get a message too, then there’s no point to me.” There’s no actual dude named John Black in the Soul’s stone-funk grooves, just Bigham and bassist Chris Thomas at the hot ’70s core of their self-titled debut, an album that’s racked up mad national praise from Spin, Rolling Stone, Blender and even some Randy Harward in Harp. SATURDAY, March 27 @ Sound, 579 W. 200 South, 9:30 p.m. Info: 328-0255.
BIG HEAD TODD & THE MONSTERS
Told y’all before: Every band you’ve ever heard of is going to wind up signed to Sanctuary Records eventually—keep checking the mailbox, a contract could be in there for you. Roots-blues-jam vets Big Head Todd & The Monsters are the latest to take the big-indie plunge, the label releasing one of their best albums in years, the brand-new Crimes of Passion, despite swiping the title from a cheesy Pat Benatar record and a sleazy Ken Russell flick. Todd Park Mohr’s mondo Strat-stroking is as gruff ‘n’ ready as ever, and the head? Still big. SATURDAY, March 26 @ Suede, 1612 Ute Blvd. (Kimball Junction), Park City, 9:30 p.m. Info: 435-658-2665.
“Switchfoot” was a surfing term back in the day; now it’s a San Diego Christian alt-rock band making the rounds with Jay Leno, Carson Daly, Jimmy Kimmel (yes, he’s still on) and Ryan Seacrest (yes, he’s still Satan), pimping the crunchy singles “Meant to Live” and “Dare You to Move” from last year’s The Beautiful Letdown (Red/Sony). The album’s gone gold, but no biggie. “We try not to look at numbers,” singer Jonathan Foreman told MTV. “Because that stuff doesn’t mean anything.” Hey, tell it to Justin Guarini. MONDAY, March 29 @ The McKay Event Center, 800 W. 1200 South, Orem, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499 (with Jealous Sound and Copeland).
Philadelphia trio Dysrhythmia administer instrumental brutality with the deadly precision of a martial artist—no words, no warning, just sheer force and subsequent pretty stars. The band’s recent Steve Albini-produced Pretest (Relapse) shifts from prog-jazz-metal fury to atmospheric freefalls as if the three (guitarist Kevin Hufnagel, bassist Clayton Ingerson and drummer Jeff Eber) were a single cyborg entity bent on the annihilation of rock as you know it. Actually, fans of Mogwai, Dillinger Escape Plan and the like know this rock—don’t bring up “math,” and hope the walls of Burt’s can handle it. TUESDAY, March 30 @ Burt’s Tiki Lounge, 726 S. State, 10 p.m. Info: 521-0572.
The Radiators (Suede, April 1). Get-Up Kids (Lo-Fi Café, April 2). N.E.R.D, Black Eyed Peas (In the Venue/Sound, April 3). Iron & Wine (Kilby Court, April 3). Yellowcard (In the Venue/Sound, April 4). I Am the World Trade Center (Kilby Court, April 6). Blues Traveler (Harry O’s, April 7). Saves the Day, Grandaddy (In the Venue/Sound, April 12). The Strokes, The Ravonettes (In the Venue/Sound, April 19). Def Jux Tour (Kilby Court, April 19). Stellastar (Liquid Joe’s, April 21). The Sleepy Jackson (Suede, April 23). The Long Winters (Egos, April 24). Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (In the Venue/Sound, April 24).