Raashan Ahmad, Low, Theta Naught, Christmas Jam, Mash the Drummer, Naughty or Nice?, The Terks, Soul to Sole Fundraiser | Music | Salt Lake City Weekly

Raashan Ahmad, Low, Theta Naught, Christmas Jam, Mash the Drummer, Naughty or Nice?, The Terks, Soul to Sole Fundraiser 

Live: Music Picks Dec. 16-22

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Thursday Dec. 16
Raashan Ahmad

If you have any doubt about the authenticity of Raashan Ahmad’s hip-hop street cred, just read his self-penned bio, in which he mentions his late-’80s fade (“not as fly as Kane’s”) and his early ’90s dance crew, the excellently named Battlekatz, who merged into a rap crew when House of Pain was looking for an opening act for a gig in their neighborhood. After bouncing between coasts through the ’90s, Ahmad helped formed the Crown City Rockers, the Oakland-based collective he still performs with when not doing solo tours performing what he dubs “chill, soul hip-hop.” Bar Deluxe, 666 S. State, 9 p.m., $8, or $5 with a can of food for the Salt Lake Rescue Mission

Friday Dec. 17

The husband and wife team fronting Low, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, have always been pretty much the coolest active LDS indie musicians around, and they’ve done nothing to lose that title through the release of a series of increasingly winning albums, particularly 2005’s The Great Destroyer and its follow-up, Drums and Guns. This year, Low’s cool quotient went up a little more when Robert Plant included a couple of the band’s tunes on his new Band of Joy album. I never thought I’d see the day the Golden God would lend his pipes to songs by the slowcore pioneers. Charlie Parr opens the show when Low stops in Salt Lake City, where they lived for a spell way back when. Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court (330 West), 7 p.m., $15 advance/$17 day of show

Saturday Dec. 18
Theta Naught Holiday Show

I must have been pretty good this year, because Santa already brought me a copy of local instrumental rockers Theta Naught’s brand-spanking-new holiday album, Naught Christmas. The 10-song collection is more than a simple aural excursion into the holiday season, though; it also captures the slight shifts of the band’s evolving lineup over the past decade, since some of the recordings, like “Carol of the Bells,” go back as far as 2003. The newest—including “Away in a Manger” and “The First Noel”—were recorded just last year, and you might be surprised that this band known for experimenting with its music has a soft spot for the classic arrangements of the carols captured here. Hear for yourself at the band’s annual holiday show. NoBrow Coffee & Tea Company, 315 E. 300 South, 7 p.m., free

Christmas Jam
Two words that just don’t seem to go together, aren’t they? “Christmas Jam.” But how better to describe a couple of shows that include a massive lineup of talent from bands ranging from Opal Hill Drive to Aerial, Supersofar to Heartbreak Hangover and Werewolf Afro. The collective is calling this a “Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas Concert,” so I’m guessing you’ll hear at least one take of “Jingle Bell Rock” among the less traditional X-mas tunes being tackled. One Mind Studio, 216 W. Paxton Ave., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., $7 advance/$12 at the door, children under 12 are $4 at the door (one child is admitted free with each paying adult)

Mash the Drummer
When DJs like DangerMouse and Z-Trip started mashing up seemingly disparate songs a few years ago, it seemed like a bold new force in club music—for a few minutes. The novelty of hearing Christina Aguilera and AC/DC blended together quickly lost its allure, and now mashups are largely relegated to episodes of Glee. But drummer Travis Barker and DJ A.M. found a way to give the concept a new twist—live, on-the-fly “mashing” of tunes between a DJ and a drummer. Watching two musicians pushing each other to ever-more-creative heights is always worthwhile, and The Complex has kicked off its own weekly sonic showdown between DJ Dao on the turntables and drummer Andy Patterson. The Complex, 537 W. 100 South, 9 p.m., $5 before 10 p.m., $10 after

Naughty or Nice?
There’s nothing that quite screams “Christmas” like electro-industrial dance music, right? The punishing-yet-groovy sounds of New York City production/DJ duo Designer Drugs are the main draw of this monster bill of dance-music aces that also includes Cedric Gervais, AC Slater, Cold Blank and more. After a decade remixing and reimagining dance-floor anthems by the diverse likes of Fischerspooner and Mariah Carey, Designer Drugs is about to release their debut album, Hardcore/Softcore, a darker-sounding version of the duo than those familiar with their pop-oriented remixes might expect. It’s psychedelic, heavy, and a fine antidote to the Christmas Muzak we’re being inundated with right now. Salt Palace Convention Center, 100 S. West Temple, 6 p.m., $25-$50

Wednesday Dec. 22
The Terks

Salt Lake City crew The Terks scored a coup via some hype on Chicago Public Radio by Jim DeRogatis, former music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and noted Ryan Adams foil. He was enamored with the band’s We Will Rise Above It album, thanks to its jangly guitar sound reminiscent of Byrds-lovers like R.E.M. and Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers. That should serve them well as The Terks continue to evolve as songsmiths and performers, as will the increased number of live shows they’re playing, including this gig with Junior Giant opening. The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 9 p.m., $6

Soul to Sole Fundraiser
Got soul? Are you superbad? Prove it by shaking a tailfeather to the spinning classics from the ’60s and ’70s as delivered by DJ Feral Cat and Fancy Free at this benefit for for homeless students via the Utah Educational Foundation. The cover charge and raffle will help make the homeless kids’ holidays a little better, and you get a wicked night of dancing—how can you beat that? There will also be a raffle benefiting Utah’s Angel Tree Program, with prizes including some vintage soul records from Randy’s Records, TOMS from Fresh Boutique and grub from Omar’s Rawtopia. W Lounge, 358 S. West Temple, 9 p.m., donations accepted

Coming Up
Satisfaction: Rolling Stones Tribute (Egyptian Theater, Park City, Dec. 26-27), Emmitt Nershi Band (The State Room, Dec. 29), Young Dubliners (Harry O’s, Park City, Dec. 29), Jim Brickman (Kingsbury Hall, Dec. 31), Jewel (Eccles Center for Performing Arts, Park City, Dec. 31), Cash’d Out (A Bar Named Sue, Jan. 6), Cowboy Mouth (The Urban Lounge, Jan. 8), Dashboard Confessional (In The Venue, Jan. 11), Peter Wolf Crier, Retribution Gospel Choir (The Urban Lounge, Jan. 11)

Dan Nailen

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