KRCL POLAR JUBILEE BENEFIT PARTY, SALT LAKE HARDWARE BUILDING, Friday, Nov. 22, 7 p.m., $15 advance/$20 at the door
For the past three years, KRCL has hosted one hell of a holiday party/fundraiser, and this year’s version of the annual Polar Jubilee looks like it should live up to past editions. Working with a “Rockin’ Roundup” theme, the station has an excellent lineup of live music, including Mad Max and the Wild Ones, Utah County Swillers, Man in Black tribute act Jackson Cash hosting a campfire sing-a-long and DJ Pearl Harbour spinning tunes, too. As always, the main highlight for many of us will be Bad Brad Wheeler’s Hanukkah Harmonica Army, and you can also get into some tasty food and drinks, get your picture taken with Santa and pick up some great stuff at the silent auction. The party is all-ages, and the proceeds go to help the community radio station that helps make living in Salt Lake City worthwhile. Tickets are available at the door, but you can get them in advance for $5 less right here.
ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO, PARK CITY LIVE, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 8:30 p.m., $20
Regular readers know how I feel about Alejandro Escovedo. The Austin-based singer/songwriter has had a long and storied career, taking him from punk rock of The Nuns in the ’70s, to the pioneering roots-rock band True Believers in the ’80s, to his incredible solo career the past couple decades. His ballads hit with an emotional impact few can match, and when he wants to cut loose and simply rock out with his regular touring band The Sensitive Boys, he does it with style and grace, and an authenticity of voice that much younger performers can only dream of. I was lucky enough to see Escovedo perform a reunion show with the True Believers at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in October, and while that was thrilling, I’m more of a fan of his solo work, which will be showcased at this Park City show Wednesday night. Amy Cook opens the show.
THE HOLLERING PINES, THE GARAGE, Friday, Nov. 15, 9 p.m., $5
You might not yet know the name The Hollering Pines, but chances are you’ve heard the members of the band play at some point or another if you spend much time seeing live music in Utah. It’s particularly true if you’re a fan of heartfelt country, folk and rock, as well as angelic harmonies. The band is made up of sisters Kiki Jane Buehner and Marie Bradshaw, formerly of long-running fave The Folka Dots, on guitar and bass and those mesmerizing harmonies, as well as Dan Buehner on drums and vocals and guitar ace Dylan Schorer coloring around the edges with his stabbing electric and smooth lap-steel guitar. In the past several months, they’ve shared stages with fellow roots-based acts like Dwight Yoakam, Neko Case and Dave Alvin, and the honing of their chops comes through on their debut album, Long Nights, Short Lives and Spilled Chances. This gig is an album-release celebration, and it’s definitely one worth joining. And don’t be late–opening up is Jay William Henderson, formerly of Band of Annuals and a wickedly talented fellow on stage as well.
JESSIE WARE, IN THE VENUE, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 8 p.m., $18
A lot of dance music gets a bum rap for being utterly manufactured, a mere studio contrivance lacking the musical heft of “real” sounds made by “real” musicians, and the vocalists who sing on club-focused dance tracks are certainly dismissed quickly by many music snobs–myself included. Consider Brit-pop up-and-comer Jessie Ware a breakthrough artist, then, in the sense that her rise in the public eye via a bevy of Brit electronic hits led to a burgeoning career as a soulful pop artist more in the vein of Sade or Whitney than folks she’s worked with like SBTRKT. Her debut album, Devotion, has earned rave reviews from the likes of Pitchfork and The New York Times, and now she’s on her first headlining tour of the states, where her live shows are similarly blowing minds of pop and dance fans alike.
FASTER PUSSYCAT, THE ROYAL, Monday, Nov. 11, 9 p.m., $12
One sure sign of aging? A band you loved during your misspent youth comes rolling through town on a Monday night, with a lineup that includes only one original member, playing at a venue you’ve never been to–and you’re still all over it. So it goes with Faster Pussycat, a ridiculously cheesy glam-metal ’80s band, when they were at their best. And it’s been a loooong time since they were at their best, landing songs on MTV and opening for the Crue’s Dr. Feelgood tour in SLC. Even so, something about their rudimentary pop/hard-rock nuggets like “Bathroom Wall” and “Where There’s a Whip There’s a Way” still convince me to spin their CDs a couple times a year. And thankfully the one remaining original member is singer Taime Downe, and really, do we care who is playing the guitar or drums for Faster Pussycat in either 1985 OR 2013? Not really. Consider this a fun, funny and potentially fantastic excuse to hit the bar on a Monday night.
ROB ZOMBIE, MAVERIK CENTER,, Thursday, Nov. 7, 7 p.m., $40-$50
Any regular readers of this space know that I love me some Rob Zombie. I don’t listen to a ton of hard-rock or metal, but the insistent grooves Zombie has laced his music with through the years, via White Zombie and then as a solo artist, always strike a chord with me. And his live shows? Forget about it–they’re some of the most fun you can have in an arena- or amphitheater-sized venue. The man pumps plenty of the money generated from ticket sales right back into his stage presentation. We’re talking fire, video screens, robots and monsters stalking the stage, all while Zombie, guitar ace John 5 and the rest of the boys kick up a mighty racket. The only reticence I have about recommending Zombie’s show at the Maverik Center is the co-headliner, Korn, a band I’ve loathed since they arrived on the scene. As co-headliners on this “Night of the Living Dreads” tour, it’s hard to say who will play first each night, or whether they’ll alternate. Suffice to say, I’ll be skipping Korn either way.