Live Music Picks: Dec. 6-12 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Live Music Picks: Dec. 6-12 

Tengger Cavalry, Allen Stone, Nick Waterhouse, The Wood Brothers, Amy Helm, and more

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click to enlarge SANDRA FAN
  • Sandra Fan

THURSDAY 12/6
Tengger Cavalry

Even in the internet age, Mongolia seems like the farthest-flung country in all the land. But nomadic band Tengger Cavalry will bring a taste of the steppes to Salt Lake City this week, performing two individual hour-long sets. The first hour is full of traditional Mongolian folk and light acoustic jazz, all inspired by the success of the band's sold-out shows at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Then, after a brief intermission, Tengger Cavalry returns with an hour of brutal, heavy nomadic metal. The duality stems from frontman Nature Ganganbaigal's illustrious past, which includes completing NYU's master's program in film-music composition, working long hours for UPS to make ends meet and hitting rock bottom at the end of 2017, when he dissolved Tengger Cavalry because of legal issues, finding himself depressed and on the brink of suicide. An intervention from his label, Napalm Records, led Ganganbaigal to decamp to Austin, Texas, and then to his native Beijing, China, to recuperate. Back in his adopted home of New York City, Ganganbaigal reconvened Tengger Cavalry, recording and releasing new single "Heart." An ode to Mongolia's horse-centric culture, it's also a statement of newfound purpose for a band blending ancient and modern forms: "Music's really just about your heart," Ganganbaigal told Billboard in July. "It's not about business, it's not about [being] famous ... It's for people around the world who love animals and who love nature. That's the reason why I was writing music." As for the two-pronged approach to Tengger Cavalry's current tour, Ganganbaigal adds, "The goal is for us to broaden the musical minds of our audiences." The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., $15 presale; $18 day of show, 21+, theurbanloungeslc.com

The Wrap Up Hip-Hop Toy Drive
If hip-hop is the international language of youth, what better way to bridge the generational gap than by organizing a rap-focused benefit in the name of Toys for Tots? The Wrap Up is helmed by local heroes like gLife, Jef Doogie, Fatt G, Bloswick and DJ Sam Eye Am of Gloomwalkers, Unknwn and Famelss and the Street Def Crew (made up of Black Socks, Prodygal and Eddie Lion), all of whom ply a pure strain of Golden Age hip-hop influenced by New York grit and Southern California bounce. But it's more than just a Salt Lake City showcase, with several West Coast standouts on the bill, too: Kaotic from the Bay Area, Charlie Madness from Las Vegas and between-set spinning by Flagstaff, Ariz.'s, DJ 001. Sponsored by They're Here Media House, Uprok, Pure Hemp and Haven Empire, The Wrap Up will also feature live art, spoken-word poetry, raffle prizes, giveaways and drink specials for the adults. Best of all, if you bring a new, unopened toy to contribute to the Toys for Tots cause, you get in for free. To paraphrase the dearly departed Ol' Dirty Bastard, "Hip-hop is for the children." Put that mantra to work in the buildup to the holiday season. Metro Music Hall, 615 W. 100 South, 8 p.m., free w/ new unopened toy; $5, 21+, metromusichall.com

click to enlarge SHERVIN LAINEZ
  • Shervin Lainez

SATURDAY 12/8
Allen Stone, Nick Waterhouse

Washington State native Allen Stone started singing as a toddler in his father's church, but it wasn't until he discovered soul and R&B music, and moved to Seattle as a teenager, that his career blossomed. Releasing three full-lengths between 2010 and 2015, Stone built his career the old-fashioned way, pounding the pavement on a nonstop tour while recording with high-quality musicians like Deron Johnson (Miles Davis' former keyboardist) and the rhythm section for neo-soul star Raphael Saadiq. Increasing his mainstream visibility via appearances on Conan and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Allen was eventually signed in 2015 to Capitol Records. Since then, he's performed at the Aretha Franklin tribute at Carnegie Hall, appeared as a guest mentoron American Idle and broke into Spotify's upper echelon of viral tracks thanks to April's "Brown Eyed Lover." But he's stayed true to the gospel-influenced roots he learned in church, performing his most recent hit "Warriors" with a 2,000-member choir at the Special Olympics opening ceremony in Seattle. Stone will preview further material from his forthcoming 2019 album at this show, which features excellent opening support from Nick Waterhouse, another retro savant who specializes in blending the joie de vivre of jazz's past with the experimental energy of R&B's future. The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, 7 p.m., $25, all ages, thecomplexslc.com

click to enlarge ALYSSE GAFKJEN
  • Alysse Gafkjen

The Wood Brothers, Amy Helm
Success for The Wood Brothers led to freedom on new album One Drop of Truth. Instead of recording in their usual fast-paced blur, the Nashville-based trio of guitarist Oliver Wood, bassist Chris Wood and drummer Jano Rix took more than a year, working out individual tracks at individual studios while injecting different strains of country, folk, blues, funk, jazz and rock into their all-encompassing Americana sound. "River Takes the Town" is plaintive and stark, echoing the band's bluegrass roots; "Sky High" delves into Allman-esque territory, a blistering slide guitar echoing The Wood Brothers' electrifying 2017 live album Live at the Barn. That album, which was recorded on the property of The Band legend Levon Helm, led The Wood Brothers to team up with Levon's daughter, Amy, for their current tour. Both acts deliver creative honesty and emotional intensity in spades; for the Woods, they turned away from further commercial success in favor of truthful artistic expression. On the new album's title track, that yearning is set to perfect three-part harmony: "Rather die hungry/ Than feasting on lies/ Give me one drop of truth/ I cannot deny." As Oliver Wood described One Drop of Truth in a news release, "It's the freest album we've done, the most independent album we've done, and the most fun we've ever had making a record." Join the fun in person on Saturday night. The Commonwealth Room, 195 W. Commonwealth Ave., 8:30 p.m., $40, 21+, thecommonwealthroom.com

click to enlarge ROBBY KLEIN
  • Robby Klein

MONDAY 12/10
David Archuleta

It wouldn't be holiday season in Utah without native son David Archuleta bringing his Christmas tour to town for multiple stops. The American Idol runner-up and adult contemporary superstar released his new Christmas album, Winter in the Air, last month, reinterpreting classics like "White Christmas" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" while co-writing new songs like "Christmas Every Day" and "He Is Born." Positivity reigns supreme on "Christmas Every Day," with the perpetually baby-faced and angel-voiced Archuleta wishing "I could always feel this way/ Like it's Christmas every day." Yes, it's sappy, but isn't all good holiday music? And don't discount young Archuleta as a total pushover, either; just last week, the 27-year-old opened up to Yahoo Entertainment about the lingering PTSD of his time on American Idol, which portrayed his father as controlling and paranoid when in fact the Archuleta family remains close-knit and joyful. "We've all grown," Archuleta said in the interview. "We're doing well. I feel like my family's in a happy place again. A lot of healing has taken place. It made my family become stronger. We had to make that decision and say, 'You know what? We're going to trust each other, regardless of what other people think of us and what people say.'" Amen, indeed. In addition to this Dec. 10 show at Utah Valley University's UCCU Center, Archuleta will spread the Christmas gospel at Logan High School on Dec. 8, Vernal Middle School on Dec. 20 and at Sevier Valley Arena in Richfield on Dec. 21. UCCU Center, 800 W. University Parkway, Orem, 6:30 p.m., $25-$55, all ages, uccucenter.com

click to enlarge POONEH GHANA
  • Pooneh Ghana

WEDNESDAY 12/12
Preoccupations, Protomartyr, Hurry Up

Co-headlining tours are always fascinating propositions. Will the two bands actually complement each other? Which one will close out the night? Will they perform together? We don't have answers to the last two questions regarding the current tour featuring Preoccupations (pictured) and Protomartyr, but we know for sure that these two dark post-punk acts are brothers from different angst-ridden mothers. Both bands traffic in driving, razor-sharp rock that explores depression, destruction and the futility of self-sabotage—Preoccupations from a bleak Canadian perspective, and Protomartyr from a working-class one cultivated in Detroit. Preoccupations—once known as Viet Cong before critics forced a name change—is prone to rage, with frontman Matt Flegel straining his vocal chords into a paroxysm of paranoia on 2018 album New Material. Meanwhile, Protomartyr takes a nihilistic view of human evolution, with recent records Relatives in Descent and Wheel of Fortune exploring the unknowable nature of truth through the lens of singer Joe Casey's smart-aleck sneer. The two bands released Telemetry at Howe Bridge, a split 7-inch, on Nov. 16, with Protomartyr covering Preoccupations' fan favorite "Forbidden" and Preoccupations reworking Protomartyr's "Pontiac '87." So I guess we can at least count on a little crossover there, right? (Nick McGregor) Metro Music Hall, 615 W. 100 South, 8 p.m., $15, 21+, metromusichall.com

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