JONNI LIGHTFOOT CD RELEASE
How do you top a year spent touring the planet with ‘80s soft-rock gods Air Supply, playing to millions in sold-out arenas and thinking to yourself, “Damn, I’m in Air Supply?” Native SLC bass virtuoso Jonni Lightfoot has released his second solo album, Pendulum, in order to get his low-end freak on. Unlike his previous Copper Street Fair, Pendulum has no vocals to impede the jazz-fusion fury and rock flash of Lightfoot and his equally over-the-top bandmates. “It’s a great album,” laughs Lightfoot, “if I do say so myself.” Well, he oughta know. Thursday, Jan 10 @ The Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. Broadway, 8 p.m. Free (donations for the Mars Music Foundation education fund accepted).
The guy has scored soundtracks for both Fritz the Cat and Nash Bridges—talk about a generation gap. Jerry Garcia’s one-time partner is in his 60s and still logs around 200 tour dates a year, so Merl Saunders obviously has a little more going on than your average jam-band warrior. Still, for a master musician who veers from R&B to funk to psychedelia like it ain’t no thang, he’s got some odd advice for the kiddies: “Stay focused-if you really stay focused, you can do it,” he says. “So many kids don’t stay focused. Get high on music.” Remember, he used to hang with Jerry Garcia. Thursday, Jan. 10 @ Harry O’s, 427 Main, Park City, 435-647-9494, 9:30 p.m.
After two years and as many albums, MCA-Nashville Records apparently decided California’s roof-rippin’ Big House was just a little bit too country and dropped the sextet cold. Like many a rock & roll band in today’s artist-unfriendly climate, Big House has slipped into the indie-record world. Woodstock Nation, released in 2000 by Dead Reckoning, puts the righteous twang ‘n’ grit back into Big House’s Bakersfield Sound. As a live band, they put country radio acts to shame when they take the stage—now if only they’d sneak a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Workin’ For MCA” into the set. Friday, Jan. 11 @ The Westerner, 3360 S. Redwood Rd., 972-5447, 9:30 p.m.
NOVA PARADISO CD RELEASE
Thirsty Alley begat the Swingorillas, the Swingorillas begat Nova Paradiso, and it was good. Easily one of the sexiest Salt Lake City bands working today (and not just because of the three-pronged female front sometimes known as Vulva Magico), the 10-piece Nova Paradiso plays World Beat in every sense of both words—not that flaccid David Byrne/Peter Gabriel crap. Just as they do live, Nova’s flawless debut CD, Mantis Recipe, distills their swank brew of every music worth knowing, twists it all into exotic balloon animals with Zappa-esque flair, and hoodwinks the masses into believing it’s simply safe Latin-flavored dance music. Leader Dale Lee is an eee-vil genius. Saturday, Jan. 12 @ The Zephyr Club, 301 S. West Temple, 355-CLUB, 9:30 p.m.
SXSW PRELIMINARES & SEMI-FINALS
In case we haven’t thoroughly beaten it into your skull yet, you should really check this frenzy o’ local bands out. Preliminaries: Sunday, Jan. 13 @ Bourbon Street, Bull & Bear, Burt’s Tiki Lounge, Cabana Club, Dead Goat Saloon, Lazy Moon, Pop’s Place, Port O’Call, O’Shucks, Manhattan, Splash, Urban Lounge, Xscape, Zephyr Club, 6:30 p.m.-Midnight. Semi-Finals: Cassady’s, Charley’s, Cruzrs, Getty’s, Lumpy’s, Point After, 6:30 p.m.-Midnight, Wednesday, Jan. 16.
So, Andrew Dice Clay’s 1990 cinematic stinkbomb The Adventures of Ford Fairlane was on cable the other night, and the realization hit: Any movie where Vince Neil gets killed before the opening credits ain’t all bad. Colorado’s Fairlanes ain’t all bad, either, as far as that whole punk-pop thing the kids seem to like goes. Last year’s Welcome to Nowhere (Suburban Home) marked their official entry into full-time band-hood, eschewing distractions like day jobs and food for a rock & roll life in the van, and their incessantly hooky tunage ensures that they’ll be out there until Vince kicks it for real. Monday, Jan. 14 @ Kilby Court, 741 S. 330 West, 320-0887, 8 p.m.
Their names are Soulman, Danny P, Jumbo, Disko D, Milky and DJ Roachclip, and that’s really glaucoma medicine in the bag, officer. Phoenix’s hard-pumpin’ Phunk Junkeez don’t often get their do as a pioneering rap-rock act (they’ve been at it for 10 years), much less for recording one of the best Kiss remakes ever (“I Love It Loud,” from Tommy Boy—it was on cable the other night, too). “When we started, radio wouldn’t touch us,” Soulman says. “Rock bands that rapped were taboo. Now it’s mainstream and everyone is eating it up, thinking that it’s something new. The fact is, it’s not.” Wednesday, Jan. 16 @ Liquid Joe’s, 1249 E. 3300 South, 467-JOES, 9:30 p.m.
G. LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE
The Sauce is back! What kind of music do G. Love & Special Sauce deal in, anyway? Blues-hip-hop? Alt-R&B? Slacker-soul? Whatever it is, it’s unmistakably G. The Philadelphia trio’s newest disc, Electric Mile (Epic), is a typically eclectic mix of unpredictably grabby grooves, even if there’s no “Cold Beverage” breakout hit single lurking in the tracks this time around. “Technically, anybody can play the blues,” Love told Option magazine. “You just learn the three chords. But if you get way inside our music, it rings true like no other music. We try to keep our stuff raw and honest.” Wednesday, Jan. 16 @ Harry O’s, 427 Main, Park City, 435-647-9494, 9:30 p.m.
G. Love & Special Sauce (Liquid Joe’s, Jan. 17). Limp Bizkit Guitarist Search (Guitar Center, Jan. 17). Maceo Parker (Harry O’s, Jan. 17). Vinyl (Zephyr Club, Jan. 17). Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons (Zephyr Club, Jan. 18-19). Fat Chance @ Sundance: Ming & FS and more (Harry O’s, Jan. 18). SXSW Finals (Zephyr Club, Jan. 20). Carlos Washington & Giant People (Creation, Jan. 21). Milemarker (Kilby Court, Jan. 21). Shudderbug with Vell-Kro (Liquid Joe’s, Jan. 22). Rising Lion (Creation, Jan. 23). Shaking Tree (Liquid Joe’s, Jan. 23). Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (Urban Lounge, Jan. 24). Dokken with L.A. Guns (The Ritz, Jan. 27). Hank Williams III (Liquid Joe’s, Jan. 30).