Live Music Picks: August 2-8 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Live Music Picks: August 2-8 

The Decemberists, AJJ, Mourn, TrouBeliever Fest, Exes and more.

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HOLLY ANDRES
  • Holly Andres

THURSDAY 8/2
The Decemberists, Whitney
The Decemberists' sound has always been based in the past. Since forming in 2000, the Portland, Ore., indie-rock group has mined the annals of pop music, from 1980s college rock to traditional folk—and sometimes even Black Sabbath. Indeed, guitarist Chris Funk, lead vocalist/guitarist Colin Meloy, keyboardist Jenny Conlee, bassist Nate Query and drummer John Moen describe themselves as a record-collector's band—a group of musical scholars who don't shy away from referencing what came before them. On their new album, I'll Be Your Girl, the band embraces a retro, 1980s aesthetic, thick with dynamic guitar and synthesizer textures. The new approach is especially apparent on singles "Once in My Life" and "Severed," the latter of which begins with a krautrock-style mix of arpeggiating keys and heavy guitar riffs. It's a strikingly different subject than anything The Decemberists have touched on before, especially notable for a group with a long-standing affinity for multi-part folk epics. The indie-rock mainstays are joined in Park City by Whitney, a fast-rising band from Chicago known for delicate melodies and earnestly straightforward lyrics, before both acts head north to Missoula, Mont., for The Decemberists' second annual Travelers' Rest Festival. Whitney frontman/drummer Julien Ehrlich's vocals are genuinely moving on such hits as "No Matter Where We Go" and "No Woman," both of which are recognizable thanks to heavy rotation on indie rock playlists in coffee shops everywhere. Turns out that's perfect for Whitney's signature sweetness. (Howard Hardee) Deer Valley Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater, 2250 Deer Valley Drive South, Park City, 6:30 p.m., $49-$77, deervalley.com

BONNETTE
  • Bonnette

AJJ, Kimya Dawson, Shellshag
This might be the most underrated bill of the summer, falling as it does on a busy Thursday with shows a-plenty around Salt Lake Valley. But Arizona's AJJ (formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad) is one of the most beloved bands in the folk-punk universe; the first time I saw them, when the first note of the first song sounded, a crowd of 500 rabid fans collectively surged forward in a way I have never felt before or since. Such exuberance is balanced by frontman Sean Bonnette's poignant streak; AJJ's 2016 album, Bible 2, comes inscribed with the words "No more shame, no more fear, no more dread," which Bonnette used for years as a form of self-soothing while wrestling with the impact his band and his music could have on the world. Although AJJ's Phoenix hometown is different in every way from the New York City streets Kimya Dawson came up in, this pairing actually makes perfect sense: Dawson co-fronted quirky anti-folk heroes The Moldy Peaches, which capped off a 10-year run of raw, self-recorded/self-released material and raucous DIY shows with a post-breakup surge in popularity thanks to the song "Anyone Else But You" being heavily featured in award-winning 2007 indie flick Juno. Since then, Dawson has released a hilarious solo record, Thunder Thighs, and children's album Alphabutt, while maintaining her reputation as a guileless acoustic punk truth-teller. Expect an explosion of emotion—tears, smiles, bodies hurled gloriously into one another and voices raised as one—at this sold-out show. (Nick McGregor) Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court, 7 p.m., sold out at press time, all ages, kilbycourt.com

NOEMI ELIAS
  • Noemi Elias

FRIDAY 8/3
Mourn, Chastity, Corner Case
Darkness—at the least the sonic kind—descends on Diabolical Records when Catalonian punks Mourn join disaffected Canadian rockers Chastity for an intense show of catharsis and absolution. Both bands have new records out—Mourn's third album, Sopresa Familia, documents the abuse and turmoil they endured at the hands of their former record label, while Chastity's debut LP, Death Lust, is a cry for help from Whitby in the far eastern suburbs of Toronto, which frontman Brandon Williams proudly, if painfully, calls home. While Mourn's four members are barely in their 20s, new songs like "Doing It Right" and "Candle Man" exhibit a world of wised-up maturity, juxtaposing the intertwined vocal and guitar harmonies of Carla Pérez Vas and Jazz Rodriguez Bueno with the powerful percussion of drummer Antonio Postius. Meanwhile, the world of Whitby emerges fully formed from Chastity songs like "Heaven Hell Anywhere Else," which contemplates suicide, and "Scary," which mashes up Smashing Pumpkins' symphonic rock with Hum's epic walls of sound. Both bands drag us through the depths but emerge on the other side offering hope for the future—Mourn as a band free from past restraints, and Chastity as a collective-oriented beacon of light in the otherwise isolated town of Whitby. Perhaps the youth of today really are all right. (Nick McGregor) Diabolical Records, 238 S. Edison St., 7 p.m., $10 presale; $12 day of show, 21+, diabolicalrecords.com

DAVID MCCLISTER
  • David McClister

FRIDAY 8/3 & SATURDAY 8/4
TrouBeliever Fest feat. Shawn Colvin, Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris and more
The festival experience is like no other. An idyllic day in scenic surroundings watching wonderful musicians in the company of a few thousand fellow enthusiasts makes for a joyous retreat from a world that often demands respite. Consequently, credit award-winning singer/songwriters Anna Wilson and Monty Powell—founders of the TrouBeliever Fest—for offering an exceptional array of artists, workshops, competitions and late-night jams in a setting that makes songs the stars. Wilson calls it "an extremely unique style of music festival that highlights artists who write their own songs and tell the stories behind them," adding that the experience serves as a "deconstruction of the big concert event, with troubadours center stage revealing a behind-the-curtain lens into their creative process. No one else has a festival quite like this one, and we are proud to be doing it right here in Utah first." That claim is underscored by the headliners performing over two days at the picturesque Snowbasin Resort: Shawn Colvin, Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris and a classic rock supergroup featuring Jim Peterik (.38 Special, Survivor), John Elefante (Kansas), Richard Page (Mr. Mister, Ringo Starr's All Starr Band) and David Pack (Ambrosia). Consider it a mini Woodstock—without the rain, the crowds or the brown acid. (Lee Zimmerman) Snowbasin Resort, 3925 Snow Basin Road, Huntsville, Friday, 3 p.m.-midnight; Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m., $50-$199, smithstix.com

JESSICA BUNDY
  • Jessica Bundy

SATURDAY 8/4
Exes, Hemwich, Seven Dagger, Hero Double Zero, LSDO
Finally, a black metal band that doesn't wear corpse paint and make necklaces out of their best friends' skulls (cough, Mayhem, cough). And they're straight out of Salt Lake City—who knew? "Expect it to be loud, really loud," says Dreu Hudson, guitarist for thrash/hardcore/punk/everything angry band Exes. "Over the top loud, and also fast—very fast." Hudson says the band and its fans are all about that "headbang life," adding, "If you come to [our] show and don't wake up with a bangover to complement your hangover, you didn't do it right." At least Hudson is honest about Exes' sheer deafening sound. Formed in 2014 by vocalist Phil White, Exes shatters any stereotype about Utah metal. Just a week after dropping their 2017 EP Fire and Fury, the band started catching the attention of the metal masses thanks to the video for "Nothing But the Knife." It's not for the faint of heart, literally—your heart might explode from the suspect white powder that Phil White snorts from a WWII Ka-Bar knife. It might've been baby laxative, or it might've been something heavier; we'll never know. But we can be sure to expect a powerful show from Exes, along with more music later this fall that will be the perfect complement to day-drinking when the band plays September's Crucial Brunch, kicking off Crucial Fest 8. (Rachelle Fernandez) Metro Music Hall, 615 W. 100 South, 8 p.m., free, 21+, metromusichall.com

LAURA PARTAIN
  • Laura Partain

Mary Gauthier, Jaimee Harris
Mary Gauthier sings from the soul. Abandoned as a newborn, she ran away from home at age 15, shuttling in her youth between drug rehab, halfway houses and the jail cell she landed in on her 18th birthday. Those experiences inevitably informed her music, and after nearly a dozen albums, Emerging Artist of the Year honors from the Americana Music Association and kudos from countless mainstream publications, Gauthier emerged as one of America's most essential singer/songwriters. Her latest release, Rifles & Rosary Beads, affirms that assessment. Co-written with military veterans and their spouses, it allowed her to share their stories. "Five years ago, I was invited by Darden Smith to participate in a SongwritingWith:Soldiers retreat," Gauthier says. "I accepted the invitation because my friend Darrell Scott called me and told me I should do it. Within a few hours, I'd co-written my first soldiers' song." Obviously overjoyed, she adds, "I fell in love with the process, I fell in love with the veterans and I fell in love withSongwritingWith:Soldiers. Since then, I have co-written over 40 songs with members of the service, and I'm amazed by the process. Co-writing with those who have served is one of the best things I get to do. I learn from them, every single time." Happily, Gauthier's listeners learn as well. (LZ) The State Room, 638 S. State, 9 p.m. $24-$38, 21+, thestateroom.com

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Lee Zimmerman

Lee Zimmerman

Bio:
An accomplished writer, blogger and reviewer, Zimmerman contributes to several local and national publications, including No Depression, Paste, Relix and Goldmine. The music obsessive says he owns too many albums to count and numerous instruments he’s yet to learn.

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