After sharing a bill with the likes of Bob Weir & RatDog, the Arcade Fire and My Morning Jacket at this year’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Keller Williams has officially signed, sealed and delivered his reputation as a noteworthy artist. Williams, who started jamming at age 13, makes porch-swinging, lemonade-sipping music reflecting a love for life’s simple pleasures'a wife, dogs. He even wrote a sweet song about his love handles (“More of Me to Love”). Straightforward content is balanced with complex instrumentation, from sitar and barroom piano to acoustic guitar. Last Twilight Concert of the season, by the way. Gallivan Center, 239 S. Main, 7 p.m. All-ages. Free. Info: 596-5000 (with Zilla)
We’re over that whole Freedom Fries/Give France the Boot shizzle, right? Good. Let’s ring in sanity with Ed Muschi, a French-fueled punk-jazz trio. Ben, Remi and Ky started playing with noise in the early ’90s, before school and obligatory army assignments sidelined jam sessions. Happy days returned in 2000, after which they rallied to meld convoluted metal, disfigured folk and minimalist rock for a trans-Atlantic sound. Hoorah for true freedom! Mo’s Grill, 358 S. West Temple, 7 p.m. All ages. Info: 531-7041.
Also Thursday: The Runners (Kilby Court); Ted Dancin’ (Urban Lounge)
In the beginning, Foreign Legion wanted to change the world. The Bay Area hip-hop crew read Chomsky and eschewed right-wing conservatives. Then day jobs surfaced and disillusionment set in, pushing Prozac, Marc Stretch and DJ Design in separate directions. They later regrouped under Look Records, but didn’t resume freestyling on a soapbox. Instead, the diverse trio focused their energies on girls, sun and unabashed love for Michael Jackson. The result is somewhere between 50 Cent and Jurassic 5'conscious music in da club. Halo, 60 E. 800 South, 9:30 p.m. Info: 651-3937 (with Sam I Am, Abnormal & Facts: The Kno It Alls)
PLEASURE THIEVES CD RELEASE
The demise of Salt Lake City’s ill-fated Moroccan left several local bands in a last-minute scramble for alternative studio space. But before the mad dash, former members of The Downers and Corleones (plus Dave Durrant and Jeremy Smith) formed The Pleasure Thieves, wrote some catchy tunes and recorded a self-titled EP full of insistent drums and urgent vocals. It sounds like the band is running out of time'perhaps fueled by impending eviction. It seems more likely, however, that they’re just getting started. Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 10 p.m. Info: 746-0558 (with Blackhole).
Also Friday: American Idols Live (Delta Center); Ska is Dead Tour (Lo-Fi); O Discordia, The Annuals (Kilby Court); Citizen Cope, Marc Broussard (Velvet Room); Victrola Farewell Show (Egos); I.R.A.T.E., Denots (Club Vegas); Alektorophobia (Suede, Park City)
CITY WEEKLY SLAMMYS PARTY
Disclaimer: Shameless self-promotion ahead. That said, tonight’s Salt Lake Area Music & More celebration boasts talent more impressive than those surfboard-toting clowns on hand at this year’s Teen Choice Awards. Our brilliant marketing team cooked up one smashing evening of spoken word, slam poetry, belly dancing and live performances by award-winning locals including Red Bennies, Silent 7Sevens and DJ Knucklz. Plus you get to hobnob with the cast of Bill Frost’s as-yet-unaired sitcom about a wacky newsweekly. That’s right. Wacky. Port O’ Call, 78 W. 400 South, 9 p.m. Info: 575-7003
Few artists succeed in writing catchy, upbeat songs about booze and firearms. That’s why we love Stephen Ashbrook, an unconventional singer-songwriter who built a career on ignoring popular wisdom. Most people see a man and his guitar as a symbol of mediocrity'the sort of fellow found at open-mic nights, disturbing conversations with Jack Johnson covers. Ashbrook doesn’t take stock in stereotypes. He’s done just fine keeping on the straight and narrow. He even wowed Bill Clinton with his Neil Diamond-baritone. Or was it the Scotch and .45? Hog Wallow Pub, 3200 Big Cottonwood Canyon Rd., 9 p.m. Info: 733-5567.
Also Saturday: Crosby, Stills & Nash (Usana Amphitheater); The Lethal West CD Release (Kilby Court); The Briefs (Lo-Fi Café); Cosm (Egos); The Wolfs, Art of Kanly (Urban Lounge)
After releasing a pleasing, albeit lukewarm, Capitol debut, OK Go wanted to craft a follow-up that oozed grit. So, they started gargling with nails, getting into bar fights (or at least drinking enough to ready themselves for some brawls) before hooking up with a drill-sergeant producer vehemently opposed to the Top 40. The result is a solid collection of catchy, albeit raw, songs reflective of the group’s electric live show. Beneath all of this cocksure veneer bleed the hearts of four liberal intellectuals working to unseat W while serving as house band for NPR’s This American Life. In effect, they’re building a city on rock & roll to help turn Red states Blue. Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 10 p.m. Info: 746-0558 (with The Redwalls)
Also Monday: Atherton (Lo-Fi Café); Domeshots (Coyotz)
The Spill Canvas (Kilby Court); A Change of Pace (Lo-Fi Café); Zach Parrish (Burt’s Tiki Lounge); The Jujubees (Todd’s Grill)
Hidden in Plain View (Lo-Fi Café); Red Pony Clock (Kilby Court); DeSol (Egos); Particle, Gabby La La (Velvet Room)
Flogging Molly (In the Venue, Sept. 1). ABC (Velvet Room, Sept. 1). Wayne “The Train” Hancock (Piper Down, Sept. 1). Jägermeister Music For Freedom Tour (Lo-Fi Café, Sept. 3). Rock & Roll Soldiers (Burt’s Tiki Lounge, Sept. 3). Firehouse, Y&T (Ogden Amphitheater, Sept. 3). Tori Amos (Usana Amphitheater, Sept. 6). Blackalicious (Suede, Sept. 9). Interpol (Kingsbury Hall, Sept. 12). Lucinda Williams (Kingsbury Hall, Sept. 14). Keith Urban (E Center, Sept. 16). Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (In the Venue, Sept. 16). Green Day (Delta Center, Sept. 21). Dramarama (Velvet Room, Sept. 23). Local H (Urban Lounge, Sept. 23). X96 Big Ass Show (Utah State Fairpark, Sept. 24). Franz Ferdinand (Saltair, Sept. 28).