LIVE: Music Picks Dec. 28 - Jan. 3 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly

LIVE: Music Picks Dec. 28 - Jan. 3 

The Pimps of Joytime, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic and more...

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The Pimps of Joytime

What's in a name? Well, everything at times. And when you refer to yourselves as The Pimps of Joytime, suffice it to say you're not leaving an immediate impression up to the imagination. The Brooklyn-based band practices a particular form of funk and dance music that's made it a mainstay of DJ/dance culture for 10 years, thanks to a spirited sound and showbiz savvy that ensures every encounter is as memorable as it is musical. Indeed, leader Brian J comes across to audiences as both crazy and charismatic, depending on one's perspective, but the band's recent collaborations with such notables as Art and Cyril Neville of the Neville Brothers and jazz genius Roy Ayers speak to their musical merits. And while elements of Afrobeat, salsa, rock and electronica amp up their approach, it's the band's attitude and aptitude that ensure their appeal. (Lee Zimmerman) Park City Live, 427 Main, 8 p.m., $15-$30, 21+,

The Fabulous Thunderbirds

The Fabulous Thunderbirds have kept the blues simmering for more than four decades, making it accessible by folding in elements of rock, soul and R&B. The group rose to commercial prominence in 1986 with MTV and radio hits "Tuff Enuff" and "Wrap It Up," and remain a popular concert draw. Former T-birds include such genre luminaries as Jimmie Vaughan, Nick Curran and Duke Robillard, but only vocalist/blues harpist Kim Wilson remains from the original lineup. "I think you've got to give people their money's worth," Wilson told me in a July 2010 interview in Asheville, N.C. "Win or go home. You just give 'em all you got, and you can relax." The T-birds aren't really about relaxing, though. They've released more than 16 albums since their 1979 debut, Girls Go Wild. 2016's Strong Like That (Severn) is their latest, and in its grooves can be heard the sound of an assured band with nothing left to prove. (Bill Kopp) Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City, 7:30 p.m., $29-$79,

FRIDAY 12.30
George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic

Growing up as a Kiss fan, I wanted everything associated with them: the records, the cheap iron-on transfers for my Hanes undershirts, the lunchbox—and, seein' that it was issued by Kiss' label, Casablanca Records, Parliament's Live: The P-Funk Earth Tour (1977). I found it for five bucks at a Musicland years after its release. Just like Kiss' Alive II, it was a double-album with a gatefold cover showing an elaborate stage show. So I begged my mom to buy it for me. She tried to explain that the music was very different from Kiss' caveman rock—but she lacked the words to explain funk to a 9-year-old. Plus, I was seduced by the spaceships, star-shaped instruments, lights, fog, a mysterious robed black dude ("I wonder if he knows Ace Frehley!"), and words like "Thumpasaurus," "Funkenstein" ("I love Frankenstein, mom!") and "Supergroova"—you know, the medley. So I took it home, dropped the needle and was so confused. It took several years, but fortunately I came to understand and love the far-out, funky sounds of George Clinton and his clan of kooks. Folks, New Year's Eve starts a night early this year. Prepare to get funked up. (Randy Harward) The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, 7:30 p.m., $35 in advance, $40 day of show,

FRIDAY 12.30
Crook & The Bluff

So I had an evangelical Christian period as a teenager—mostly because my father scared the bejesus outta (and into) me during a summer spent in Carson City, Nev. It led to me spend one New Year's Eve in a Rose Park-area Baptist church, holding hands with a bunch of people who were literally praying for the world to end while pretending to speak in tongues. Which, of course, was supremely disturbing ... and also an adrenaline rush. A gig by Crook & The Bluff in the last 27-ish hours of 2016, what with that darkly trippy psych-apocalyptic carny Western thing they do, evokes similar feelings. Yes, even in an adult atheist. I know TC&TB aren't gonna catalyze the Rapture, but I enjoy the queasy unease that goes with the notion—and the music, and the moment. "We'll definitely have some atmosphere goin' on," frontdude Kirk Dath tells City Weekly. Look for a new EP soon, as well as music videos for re-recordings of "Devilish Deeds" and "Blood Black" from their brilliant album Down to the Styx. (Randy Harward) The Hog Wallow, 3200 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, 9 p.m., $7, 21+,

FRIDAY 12.30
Head for the Hills, Six Feet in the Pine
After opening for Hot Buttered Rum on their themed, two-night State Room stand last New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, Head for the Hills is going it alone this year. The show caps off a year that saw the band perform at FloydFest, the Blue Ox Music Festival, Vertex and the Strawberry Music Festival, among others. There's no Sunday best or one-piece ski suit night, though: Just the Colorado band's new-school take on olde-tyme string-fueled Americana, which interpolates indie rock, jazz, hip-hop, folk and world music. And you don't need a special outfit to enjoy that (y'hear, hipsters?). There is, however, a deal with Hotel RL (the Red Lion) for an $89/night room with late checkout in case you're hungover—and breakfast, if you think you can keep it down. (RH) The State Room, 638 S. State, 9 p.m., $20, 21+,

Leftover Salmon

Vince Herman, the de-facto leader of Leftover Salmon, once told this writer that his band's brand of bluegrass is, in fact, a radio-friendly, commercial form of old-time mountain music. These days, Herman's assertion finds broader meaning in a jam-band world where populist precepts have attracted a new generation of free-spirited music aficionados, fans who have found the fast-paced picking and upbeat rhythms in tune with their rowdy, devil-may-care sensibilities. Mainstays of the festival circuit, Leftover Salmon has staked a reputation as one of the more innovative outfits populating that so-called nu-grass movement. Oddly enough, the Boulder-based band refers to their eclectic mix of bluegrass, rock, country and zydeco as "polyethnic Cajun slamgrass," and while that term might seem somewhat indecipherable to the novice, the band's ardent admirers have maintained their loyalty over the course of nine albums and a 20-plus-year career. That's a tasty recipe, indeed. (LZ) The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, 9 p.m., $40 in advance, $45 day of show,

Village People

Other than Judas Priest's Rob Halford, music's other big gay surprise was the Village People. Many were fooled by both acts in spite of the evidence: Halford was always a leather daddy, and Priest's songs were silly with gay references—especially "Raw Deal," which came out (HAW!) the same year as the Village People. And those dudes fooled even more of us than Halford. I mean, they embodied iconic proto-'Murrican male role models: the cop, the soldier, the cowboy, the sailor, the construction worker, the biker and the assimilated Native 'Murrican who could be forgiven for bein' a dirty savage because he's obviously on our side now. And then all these dudes were dancing and singing along to "YMCA" (which is only about going to the gym, right?), "Macho Man" (hell yeah!) and "In the Navy" (goddamn, they're patriots, too?). Lol, rofl, lmfao! Oh, 'Murrica. You funny. Anyway, I won't pretend I wasn't fooled. But I was only 5. I wanted to be all of those things when I grew up, and was still ignorant of the fact that sometimes a cop loves a cowboy. So all I saw was what really matters with these kings of disco: They embody diversity and fun and, costumes aside, being who you are. (RH) Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main, Park City, 8 p.m. (6 p.m. on Sunday), $43-$85,

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Lee Zimmerman

Lee Zimmerman

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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