LIVE MUSIC PICKS: SEPT. 26 - OCT. 2 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

LIVE MUSIC PICKS: SEPT. 26 - OCT. 2 

Noah Gundersen, Lemolo, Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band, The Wild Feathers, Babymetal, Avatar, and more

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click to enlarge MICHAEL PORTER
  • Michael Porter

THURSDAY 9/26
Noah Gundersen, Lemolo

Artists who share their introspection and even their insecurity nowadays have no reason to offer any apologies, even when those sentiments are filtered through dimly-lit melodies and shoegazing conceits. Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake opened the door for artists with songs of hushed reflection, sadness and sobriety to follow in their footsteps. Indeed, any number of artists have effectively emulated that approach—Devendra Banhart, Bon Iver and Iron & Wine immediately come to mind—but it takes a particularly astute individual, one with an irrepressible poetic sensibility, to convey their commitment and conviction without alienating an audience that might want to be cheered up instead. Credit Noah Gundersen for effectively balancing pathos and perspective. He confirms that ability on his striking new album Lover, an incisive offering that looks deep into the abyss of human frailty and despair. A song centered on the late Robin Williams ("When I think of Robin Williams at the end of his rope/ It makes no difference what you're making, the reaper makes the final joke") is both telling and tragic, but it confirms Gundersen's ability to offer some astute insights that put things in perspective. Granted, sobering circumstance requires an especially articulate interpreter, but Gundersen measures up to that challenge and delivers these deliberations with uncommon allure. (Lee Zimmerman) The State Room, 638 S. State, 8 p.m., $23, 21+, thestateroompresents.com

click to enlarge ADAM FRESE VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Adam Frese Via Wikimedia Commons

SATURDAY 9/28
Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band, The Wild Feathers

Before Bruce Springsteen galvanized the masses, Tom Petty rallied the faithful or John Mellencamp ascended to the ranks of a populist pundit, Bob Seger established himself as rock 'n' roll's true champion of the Everyman, an artist whose core connection with his audiences and admirers made him a relentless road warrior, flush with anthemic exhilaration, energy and inspiration. Songs such as "Rock 'n' Roll Never Forgets," "Old Time Rock 'n' Roll," "Hollywood Nights" and "Against the Wind," typified the us-against-them attitude at the center of the great divide, separating the air guitar-wielding rock 'n' roll insurgents from the establishment that vilified the longhaired youth and their lack of reverence and respect for middle class mores. "We've Got Tonight" and "Turn the Page" in particular detailed the road-weary wisdom, lethargy and loneliness that accompanied the endless miles and obscure outposts which paved the way toward often elusive glories. Seger's older and established now, but his passion hasn't diminished, and if indeed this is his final farewell, he and his ever steady Silver Bullet Band—the same outfit that's accompanied him for nearly five decades—leave a powerful legacy in their wake. Nashville-based band The Wild Feathers share that drive and determination and are poised to benefit from those lessons learned and trails shared on the road to stardom and redemption. Indeed, rock 'n' roll never forgets, but instead creates indelible memories precious to all that crave it. (Lee Zimmerman) Vivint Smart Home Arena, 301 W. South Temple, 8 p.m., $75-$350, 801-325-2000, vivintarena.com

click to enlarge LEON NEAL
  • Leon Neal

Saturday 9/28
Babymetal, Avatar

The phrase "big in Japan" is often used to describe Western acts that are über-popular in the pop-culture obsessed country, but Japan isn't just obsessed with foreigners who can fill stadiums. Their foundational passion for big-time, bombastic entertainment can be seen in Japanese rock acts like L'arc en Ciel, X and Guitar Wolf, who push the outrageousness of rock to its performative edge. A more contemporary—and extreme—example of this phenomenon is the Japanese metal outfit Babymetal, whose original members Suzuka Nakamoto, Moa Kikuchi and Yui Mizuno brought forth the genre Kawaii Metal in the early 2010s with their fusion of traditional metal and J-pop. Nakamoto, who was a member of Japanese Idol group Sakura Gakuin, began collaborating with metal-influenced producer Kobametal, who'd worked long with visual-shock kei ("kei" means style) artists like Japanese stadium-rock pioneers X. Although the three members were unfamiliar with metal at the beginning of their project, what came of their foray into it was purely radical. Combining high-power metal with J-pop melodies and vocal stylings, Babymetal has been turning the world on its head since the release of their first single, "Ijime, Dame, Zettai," ("No More Bullying") in 2011, and their subsequent release of two full-length albums. With titles like "HeadBangeeeeerrrrr!!!!!," they're clearly self-aware in their genre-blending, and the songs themselves are filled with undeniable charisma and high drama, with J-pop styled choreography to bring the house down at every show. Their SLC stop is also an opportunity to see like-minded Swedish clown-metallers Avatar, and snag a complimentary CD copy of their upcoming album Metal Galaxy, due out on Oct. 11. (Erin Moore) The Union Event Center, 235 N. 500 West, 8 p.m., $45–$300, all ages, theunioneventcenter.com

click to enlarge PHIL KING
  • Phil King

TUESDAY 10/1
Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters, Lillie Mae

There's a distinct difference between an iconic frontman and an actual rock god. Mick Jagger might be the quintessential singer, but Roger Daltrey, Freddy Mercury and Jim Morrison are in that elite status of microphone-slinging deities—at least of the human variety. Robert Plant also belongs in their hallowed company; he helped define the criteria by which we measure legendary lead singers. With his long flowing mane, riveting vocals and bare-chested bravado, he still typifies what every rock wannabe aspires to become. Granted, Plant has mellowed somewhat since leaving Led Zep, having gone through his Americana phase with Alison Krauss and former amour Patty Griffin. But now, with his current band The Sensational Space Shifters in tow, he's come a long way toward reasserting his ferocity and rekindling his cosmic cred. Expect a fair share of Zeppelin classics in their set list, and though it's an older Plant at the helm, the passion and power are still essential elements in his wailing delivery. His fondness for music of a vintage category also finds him sharing his admiration for Moby Grape and other influential forebears. It's little wonder then that a post-Zeppelin band, The Honeydrippers, featuring Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, scored a hit single with a remake of the classic chestnut "Sea of Love" in the mid-'80s. Since the chances of a Zeppelin reunion remain elusive at best, a performance by Plant becomes the ideal alternative. (LZ) Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main, 7:30 p.m., all ages, sold out at press time, liveattheeccles.com

click to enlarge YANI CLARKE
  • Yani Clarke

WEDNESDAY 10/2
Half Moon Run, Tim Baker

In August, Half Moon Run released two new singles: "Then Again" and "Flesh and Blood." While these aren't a complete departure from their alt-pop sound, they do point toward the band's range outside of pop, something Half Moon Run played with in their 2015 album Sun Leads Me On. That album sat comfortably among 2015's Alt-J domination, where most songs emulated a more rollicking thrum of the summer's indie rock. So what separates a band like Half Moon Run from its more popular counterparts? The band certainly has a talent for the kind of music you turn on in the background, only to eventually find yourself listening attentively as an unexpected stride emerges. "Turn Your Love" from Sun Leads Me On builds into a satisfying crash of momentum that suddenly snaps you into attention. "Throes" is a 54-second piano song that's out of tune with the rest of the album, and "Devil May Care" is so much sweeter and breezier, "The Debt" more sentimental. Perhaps what separates Half Moon Run is this refusal to play completely into the alt-pop sound. It's a more textured discography than the band's popular contemporaries. Opener Tim Baker's Forever Overhead comes two years after the 2017 hiatus of his band Hey Rosetta!, in which he was lead vocalist and lead songwriter. The album shares a fair amount in common with Hey Rosetta!'s indie rock, but it pleasantly severs the baggage of a decade's discography. Forever Overhead siphons Baker's vocal talent into familiar rock that hasn't worn out its welcome. (Parker S. Mortensen) The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 8 p.m. $20, 21+, theurbanloungeslc.com

click to enlarge DANIEL DORSA
  • Daniel Dorsa

Sinkane, Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show
Although Sudan's popular uprising of late 2018 and 2019 arrived a full eight years after the "Arab Spring," all signs point to the war-torn country successfully transitioning to a civilian democracy. And no musician is better prepared to transmit this story to a wider Western audience than Ahmed Gallab, the Sudanese-American who records as Sinkane. On 2019's Dépaysé, Gallab fleshed out his own biography: the son of a Sudanese immigrant forced to flee the African continent and apply for asylum in 1989 when now-deposed military leader Omar al-Bashir came to power. Wrestling with this identity in the era of Trump, whose travel ban specifically targeted Sudan and several other predominantly-Muslim countries, Gallab manages to channel anger into optimism, sounding downright triumphant on songs like "Ya Sudan." Global multiculturalism gets a much-needed boost on "Everyone" and "Everybody," while "The Searching" outlines Gallab's crisis of personal conviction. "Dépaysé is a French word that means 'removed from one's habitual surroundings,'" Gallab told NPR in May. "Growing up, I always wanted to be like everyone else ... But as I learned about myself more, and connected with other people like me, I realized how beautiful my experience is." On upcoming EP Gettin' Weird (Alive at Spacebomb Studios), Sinkane fleshes out the narrative underpinnings of five songs from Dépaysé, lending extra oomph to the explorations of cultural duality that run through every Sinkane album from 2012's Mars to 2017's Life & Livin' It. Salt Lake City is blessed by an accompanying visit from the Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show, whose immersive visuals back Sinkane at The State Room. (Nick McGregor) The State Room, 638 S. State, 8 p.m., $20, 21+, thestateroompresents.com

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