Steel Train (Kilby Court); Reckless Kelly (Egos)
DARK ARTS FESTIVAL
Since its humble 1993 beginnings at Club Confetti, Salt Lake City’s Dark Arts Festival has called all open-minded individuals to celebrate alternative culture, “without excuse or apology.” While it’s tempting to paint this event as a gothic gathering, the three-day soiree hosts so much more'from horror-garage, psychobilly punk and electro-industrial sounds to new wave, glam, cabaret and undead rap with zombilicious booty dancers! Insiders name Denver’s Project 12:01 as the band to catch, but don’t forget about Stolen Babies, From the Ashes or any of the weekend’s 16 other noteworthy acts. Taboo-breaking dress code strongly encouraged. Area 51, 451 S. 400 West, 8 p.m. Info: 534-0819 (also Saturday and Sunday, 4 p.m.)
Also Friday: Brown-Eyed Deception (Lo-Fi Café); Phunk Junkeez (Liquid Joe’s)
URC PADDLE FESTIVAL
Up the creek without a paddle? Utah River Council can help. That is, if you can make it down to the nonprofit organization’s 8th annual Paddle Festival. The splish-splash celebration will feature activities designed to get you in the water'kayaking, fly fishing, sailing, or just paddling around in sun-drenched bliss. Oh, and there shall be music, sweet glorious music (including Richmond Fontaine, Trace Wiren, Silent Sevens and more). Probably something involving acoustic guitars tuned to alt-country. Can you think of anything to make it better? That’s right: Beer garden. Little Dell Reservoir, 15 minutes east of Salt Lake City off of I-80, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Info: 486-4776 (Adult admission is $12; $6 for kids ages 6 through 12. All proceeds benefit URC).
Folks who recall Pinback before the glorious days of O.C. soundtrackin’ will attest to the San Diego indie-pop duo’s inherent greatness. “They don’t need Seth, Marissa, or even that shifty Trey to boost their popularity,” diehard pinheads will say. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have your sounds streamed to audiences rabid for The Next Big Sound. Which is what Summer in Abaddon could very well be. Heralded as the pinnacle of Pinback’s ever-maturing sound, their Touch & Go debut is a cathartic affirmation of a beautiful disaster. Torn from the wreckage of creative frustration, Summer catapults toward greatness'something way beyond the power of a teenage drama. Lo-Fi Café, 127 S. West Temple, 7:30 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 800-888-8499.
THE F--KING CHAMPS
No kidding, these guys are profane … er, profound. Less exasperating, more worthy of exclamation, the Champs (whose collaboration with Trans Am, Gold, received serious acclaim from serious critics. Seriously.) are mad genius instrumentalists bringing the friggin’ rawk! Their three-year-old V, their last full-length album featuring all-new, all-original material, demands a follow-up. Do you hear me? You give us “Air on a G-String,” and then … poof? Nothing. The collaboration was not enough. F'king bring it! Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 10 p.m. Info: 746-0558.
Said it once, said it a hundred times: Richmond Fontaine are one of the best bands Portland, Ore., has ever produced'and they actually reprove it every few years. The latest reminder was Post to Wire, the fifth in an unbroken chain of gorgeous alt-country albums full with ragged guitars and ragged-ier characters. The band’s new The Fitzgerald will drop later this summer, probably explaining why they didn’t send us a copy … or even a note to say they were visiting SLC. And who’s given you more local ink than CW? Where’s the love? Egos, 668 S. State, 9:30 p.m. Info: 521-5255.
Also Saturday: Reba McEntire (Usana Amphitheater); Billy Dean (Sandy Amphitheater); Gypsy Soul (Egyptian Theater, Park City)
Time does far more than heal all wounds. It offers artists the opportunity to breed innovation, hone technical prowess and polish any other rough edges obscuring increased exposure. Helio Sequence should know. The Portland-based indie poppers took a three-year recording hiatus, opting to tour, write and chill rather than burn out new material. Love & Distance was worth the wait. Fueled by harmonica and electronic bass lines, the album showcases time well spent. Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 7:30 p.m. Info: 320-9887 (with Rogue Wave).
DevilDriver, Machine Head (Lo-Fi Café); Supagroup (Urban Lounge'see Music, p.55)
DROWNING POOL, DRY KILL LOGIC
Rrrrrrrrrrrroar. Meow. Rrrrrrrrrrrrroar. Meow. Dry Kill Logic is a hardcore act with teeth'and declawed paws. The softer side of these New York-based artists blossomed post-9/11, as audiences demanded less aggression, more understanding and hugs. Of course, DKL didn’t abandon their vision in its entirety just to sell a few records. In fact, they used a hefty dry spell to their advantage, retaining ownership over master recording rights and licensing off material to various labels, video games and soundtracks. Dead & Dreaming is currently available on Repossession in all its schizophrenic, DIY glory. Lo-Fi Café, 127 S. West Temple, 7:30 p.m. All-ages. Tickets: 800-888-8499
BEST DAMN RAP TOUR
Have you ever driven past a diner with a sign out front proclaiming, “Best Burger in Town,” or “Best Fries in the Universe”? If so, it’s likely you raised your eyebrow, skeptical. It’s also a safe bet you stopped in and sampled the awesome nutrients'you know, just to make sure they weren’t misleading the public. Tonight, conduct a similar test of merit at the Best Damn Rap Tour. Featuring J-Live, Vast Aire (of Cannibal Ox) and C-Rayz Walz (of Def Jux) and guest appearances by Vordul Mega (of Cannibal Ox), Karniege (URB 100), and 4th Pyramid. Not bad. But you’ll have to head East to hear GZA. The Velvet Room, 149 W. 200 South, 9 p.m. Tickets: 800-888-8499.
The Beach Boys (Sandy Amphitheater, June 9). Headphones (Velvet Room, June 9). Brant Bjork (Burt’s Tiki Lounge, June 11). Chris Isaak (Red Butte Garden, June 12). Digable Planets (Suede, June 14). The Futureheads (Lo-Fi Café, June 14). G. Love & Special Sauce (Library Square, June 18). Farm Folk Festival (Tremonton, June 18). Hacienda Brothers (Egos, June 20). Kenny Chesney (Delta Center, June 21). Hot Hot Heat (Sound, June 21). Moot Davis & Pete Anderson (Brewskis, June 25). Donny Osmond (Kingsbury Hall, June 28).