Live Music Picks: May 17-23 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly

Live Music Picks: May 17-23 

Obituary, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Tycho, Pedro the Lion and more.

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  • Ester Segarra
  • Obituary

The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Alpine Decline
Like Dead Kennedys and Marilyn Manson, The Brian Jonestown Massacre boasts a moniker that's intended for shock value alone, at the expense of appealing to any mainstream audience. Still, the mashup of the blond-maned Rolling Stone and the mass suicide instigated by Jim Jones at his cult's retreat in Guyana more or less reflects the skewered perspective at the heart of this San Francisco-based indie collective's mantra since their founding some 25 years ago. Never ones to opt for predictability, Anton Newcombe and company have veered from dream pop and goth to minimalist folk, garage and experimentation, all the while keeping a '60s aesthetic intact. As evidence of the latter, consider that they count Who Killed Sgt. Pepper (2010) and Their Satanic Majesties' Second Request (1996) among their most prominent record releases. Then again, their 1996 epic Thank God for Mental Illness could explain their weird ways best. It's little wonder, then, that despite 13 albums and a 2004 documentary, they still exist on the fringes of the indie establishment. That overt eccentricity makes it a challenge for casual observers to get an easy handle on their otherwise obtuse approach. Their new album, Something Else, is due June 1, and ought to provide the means for a quick connection. Or one could opt to simply catch them in concert. (Lee Zimmerman) Metro Music Hall, 615 W. 100 South, 8 p.m. $22 presale; $25 day of show,

  • Lauren Crew

Tycho, Emmit Fenn
Tycho is Scott Hansen's solo project, but he fills out the sound with a full band in a live setting and incorporates audiovisual elements to create a dazzling overall experience. The project is known for chilled-out, down-tempo and atmospheric soundscapes and a string of excellent soft-electronic albums: Dive (2011), Awake (2014) and Epoch (2016). Dive, especially, is considered a genre classic. Hansen started making demos for the album in 2004—well before he made music for a living—and slowly chipped away at the project for several years, working on the side as he pursued a career in graphic design. Now a professional musician, Hansen's identity is very much that of an electronic artist, but his inclination to work with warm, lo-fi textures draws more from classic rock 'n' roll. In Hansen's world, everything sounds as if it went through a tape machine. And he employs plenty of tricks, like switching the traditional roles of guitar and synthesizer: All of the guitar sounds are sampled and replayed for a robotic effect, whereas he plays the synths live and loose (and often out of tune). For those who want subtlety when they put on headphones, Tycho is pure ear candy. (Howard Hardee) The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, 7 p.m., $29.50,

  • Ester Segarra
  • Obituary

Obituary, Pallbearer, Skeletonwitch, Dust Bolt
Every extreme music connoisseur has a mosh-pit story, whether it was getting dropped while crowd-surfing, drowning in a sea of people during a good ol'-fashioned wall of death—or ever-so-gently receiving a bloody nose during a 2016 Obituary show. But while the occasional enthusiasm-generated injury takes place at live music shows, there very well could possibly be (as Obituary notes) 10,000 Ways To Die (Relapse, 2017) anywhere you go. It's been 30 years since Tampa earned the title of "death metal capital of the world," and Obituary was among the founding fathers of said capital with their taste for the speediness of thrash and darkness of death metal, which allowed them to rise with fellow brothers in arms Iced Earth and Six Feet Under. And this was during a time when Tampa venues were refusing to let local death and thrash bands play for fear of crowds moshing and destroying their clubs. But even with the strict moshing rules and national touring bands bringing their own openers, audiences were still drawn to the thrash-death attitude of Obituary. It was that attitude that birthed 1989's Slowly We Rot, which gave head-banging adrenaline moshers a respected place in the extreme-music scene. With the release of their2017 self-titled album, the band hasn't lost their momentum in the pit. (Rachelle Fernandez) Metro Music Hall, 615 W. 100 South, 6 p.m., $22 presale; $25 day of show, 21+,

  • Ryan Russell

Pedro the Lion, David Dondero
David Bazan is the brains behind Pedro the Lion, an indie-rock band formed in 1995 that's best known for its downtempo, sad-bastard songs and concept albums such as Winners Never Quit (2000) and Control (2002). Those records tackled macro-issues like American consumerism and religion, and more personal stuff like modern marriage. The band split amicably in 2006 and went their separate ways, and Bazan has been playing mostly as a solo musician since, though he occasionally assembled session players to fill out the live sound. Last year, however, he decided he'd had enough of gigging alone and reformed Pedro the Lion to tour extensively around the U.S. Lately, he's been holed up in his studio outside of Seattle, writing and recording the band's much-anticipated new album, the tentatively titled Phoenix, which will be the first part of an epic five-album series paying homage to each of the cities he's lived in. Bazan is still working on the narrative arc that will tie everything together, but has divulged it will expand beyond his own walk down memory lane; the story will reference his personal experiences only as a jumping-off point. And he won't get too specific, because he recognizes that nostalgia for childhood—and hometowns left behind—is universal. Sad bastard, indeed. (HH) Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 7 p.m., $20,

  • David McClister

Poison, Cheap Trick, Pop Evil
Cheap Trick could be considered the Rodney Dangerfields of rock 'n' roll. A sometimes cartoonish-looking collective, they didn't get their due for a very long time—even after more than four decades of relentlessly recording, a live regimen that adds up to more than 5,000 concerts and their status as godfathers to an entire power-pop genre. Even after finally gaining admission into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016—with an emphasis on that word finally—there was controversy to contend with, given that original drummer Bun E. Carlos had been replaced by guitarist Rick Nielsen's son, Daxx. Nevertheless, the band's devotion to the classic sounds of another age—The Beatles, The Move, The Who and the like—makes them as vital as ever, as their 2016 release Bang Zoom Crazy...Hello, the group's first new studio music in nearly seven years, makes confidently clear. Of course, music and mayhem aren't their sole domain. Pairing them on a summer tour with Poison might seem an unlikely combination, but suffice it to say Poison's hard rock revelry and garish glam designs make them brothers in arms—and similar in their charms—when it comes to sharing that certain volume and vitality. Mommy's all right, daddy's all right, and there's no cause to surrender just yet. (Lee Zimmerman) Usana Amphitheatre, 5150 Upper Ridge Road, West Valley City, 7 p.m. $25-$99.50

Sum 41, Seaway, Super Whatevr
I know exactly one person who loves the last few Sum 41 records. He's 52 years old, employed by the area's predominant religion and spends his days pouring over census records. He listens to fast-paced pop punk on his daily bus ride home. He's also my father. When he heard Sum 41 is touring their platinum 2003 album Does This Look Infected?, he was disappointed. What about songs from 2011's Screaming Bloody Murder? After all—and Dad wanted to make sure I point this out—it netted them a Grammy nomination. Dad rejects the idea that these anniversary tours are the only way artists who wrote simple music for teenagers back in the day can fill concert halls today, but it might be true. And maybe Sum 41 has good reason to chase 2003. They've had a rough go of it since then. In 2010, frontman Deryck Whibley was severely beaten outside a bar and hospitalized. He almost died in 2015 when his alcoholism caused his kidney and liver to shut down. Yes, Infected is from a simpler time, when a band like Sum 41 could have crossover hits. The shouted verses and earworm chorus of hit single "Still Waiting" are essential representations of the genre. Opener "The Hell Song" has the band's best guitar riff—though Dad would probably disagree. (Robby Poffenberger) The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, 6:30 p.m., $25 presale; $30 day of show, all ages,

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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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