Live Music Picks: March 8-14 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Live Music Picks: March 8-14 

They Might Be Giants, Datsik, Umphrey’s McGee, Mary Ocher and more.

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SHERVIN LAINEZ
  • Shervin Lainez

FRIDAY 3/9
They Might Be Giants
Do you like fun? They Might Be Giants does—or is it do? Because the band, led by the duo of John Flansburgh and John Linnell, holds silliness and intelligence at equal importance. So they surely appreciate good grammar. Throughout their 35-year career, TMBG has juxtaposed whimsy and information in their songs, cultivating a sense of wonder in their audience. You see it in tunes like "Particle Man," "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" and "Spider," which sound silly but also plant seeds that might sprout interests in physics, history or entomology. This is amplified on their five children's albums, like No! (Idlewild/Rounder, 2002) and Why? (Idlewild/Lojinx, 2015), which do all of the above and emphasize curiosity. But it doesn't stop there: The band's biggest hit, "Birdhouse in Your Soul," brings friendship, mental health and spirituality into the equation. The value and variety in all of that make life fun. And as TMBG say with the title of their newly minted 20th album: I Like Fun. (Randy Harward) The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, 8 p.m., $23 presale; $25 day of show, 21+, depotslc.com

JAMES WINTERHALTER
  • James Winterhalter

FRIDAY & SATURDAY 3/9-10
Get Lucky feat. Datsik, Above & Beyond, Paul Oakenfold, Space Jesus and more
V2 Presents' annual two-day EDM festival Get Lucky always offers a huge roster of DJs and producers programmed to party, including headliners Datsik and Above & Beyond. Los Angeles-based Datsik began experimenting with glitchy, oscillating electronic squeals and divebombs around 2008—prime time in the production of robotic noises. Riding the EDM wave, the laptop jockey's danceable hip-hop and house/techno quickly made him a star. Conversely, co-headliners Above and Beyond—an English electronic group made up of Tony McGuinness, Jono Grant and Paavo Siljamäki—have more of a trance sound, and are known to incorporate surreal visual elements in their live shows. There are some gems farther down on the event poster, too. One that seems a little too far down is EDM legend Paul Oakenfold, known for the feel-good, early-2000s hit "Starry Eyed Surprise." (Howard Hardee) The Great Saltair, 12408 W. Saltair Drive, 7 p.m., $60-$105 ($10 parking), all ages, thesaltair.com

SHERVIN LAINEZ
  • Shervin Lainez

SATURDAY 3/10
Umphrey's McGee
Describing Chicago musical conglomerate Umphrey's McGee is something like blind men describing a proverbial elephant: The trunk is elongated jams; the stomping feet carry the funk rhythms; and the wispy tail is the hint of fusion jazz. They do bear many earmarks of the jam band set: They were in a sense born at Bonnaroo, playing one of their first major shows at the initial festival. They are able to noodle with the best of them, but their auditory excursions also venture into not-so-jam-friendly waters like math rock and prog. In addition to their musical innovations, the band pioneered the brilliant marketing strategy of making each night's live performance immediately available for purchase on CD after the show. They often base improvisations on audience suggestions, and also sometimes provide audience members with wireless headphones connected to the soundboard feed. The band's latest release, It's Not Us (Nothing Too Fancy Music), dropped in January. After 2016's Zonkey, consisting of mashups of everyone from Radiohead, Beck and Phil Collins to Motorhead and Ween, it's a refreshing return to original material. (Brian Staker) The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, 7 p.m., $29.50, 21+, depotslc.com

BORIS ELDAGSEN
  • Boris Eldagsen

TUESDAY 3/13
Mary Ocher, Dawg Hands, Calista
Mary Ocher clearly takes cues from the politically oriented punk and indie artists of the 1980s. Her latest album, The West Against the People (Klangbad, 2017), is accompanied by an essay that elaborates on the themes she explores with the music—middle-class panic, freedom of relocation and the identity of "The West." Given the current state of global politics, one might expect a resurgence of artists explicitly outlining how fucked up things are. But not so: Ocher stands out in this regard (and others—check out those glasses). The Russian-born, Berlin-based psychedelic pop artist is a student of Canadian psych-rock heavyweight King Khan, so her vocal treatments are often experimental and her use of synthesizers abstract. Stylistically, the singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, poet and visual artist ranges from traditional folk to raw garage rock on People, with her two drummers (known collectively as Your Government), adding extra oomph. It might be all over the place musically, but lyrically the album is a multi-layered dissection of the sociopolitical climate. (HH) Gold Blood Collective, 1526 S. State, 8 p.m., $10, goldbloodcollective.com

KELLY SMITH
  • Kelly Smith

Y&T, Tommy Love Band
A great theme of '80s movies and music videos is the high-school nerd who needs to reach deep within himself to find the kickass giant robot within. The vid for Y&T's "Don't Stop Runnin'"—one of the great summer songs of 1984—is literally this. An otherwise handsome actor is nerded-out by wetting down his feathery mullet and combing it tight against his head (for maximum nappiness) and giving him glasses. He awkwardly asks a hot girl to the prom, gets cruelly rejected, then goes home to take refuge in his Walkman and the crunchy guitars and maximum-diaphragm vox of Dave Meniketti and his band. Of course, he fantasizes that the music brings out the best in him—a tall, shiny robot that can fly—and that he rescues her from a gang of toughs. That was me. So in 1985, when the Oakland arena rockers came through on tour with Heart, I was all about that song. When they played it, they trotted out the bot and my head exploded (it's real)! The next summer, the band moved on to another '80s trope: beaches and "Summertime Girls." Naturally, as a pubescent male, I ate that shit up. And I imagine there's gonna be a lot of us would-be kickass robots looking for a taste of past fantasies at this show. (RH) Liquid Joe's, 1249 E. 3300 South, 7 p.m., $15 presale; $20 day of show, 21+, liquidjoes.net

CHRISTIE GOODWIN
  • Christie Goodwin

WEDNESDAY 3/14
Joanne Shaw Taylor, Talia Keys
Name some guitar heroes who aren't dudes. Ignoring blues fans, for whom this should be easy, the names that come up are probably rock/metal/pop shredders Lita Ford, Orianthi, Jennifer Batten and Nita Strauss. Now, they can play, but guitar heroism in those genres is compulsory and partially blown-out by aesthetic flash. Blues musicians tend to be more like everyday people looking to connect with other everyday people, while letting their playing be the fireworks. That's why the aforementioned guitar players, with no disrespect, don't stand out as much as, say, Joanna Connor, Anne McCue, Samantha Fish, Ruthie Foster—or Joanne Shaw Taylor. Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) discovered the English six-stringer when she was 16, and brought her on tour as a member of his band, D.U.P. Fast-forward another 16 years, and Shaw is six albums deep into her career, and respected for jaw-dropping solos and meaty, satisfying tunes that render her gender incidental. But it's worth a shout since this issue hits the streets on International Women's Day. (RH) The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m., $18 presale; $20 day of show, 21+, theurbanloungeslc.com

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