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Summer Music Madness
A Lineup and Brief Bio of Upcoming Shows
 
 

By Peter Koelsch

 
 

ince hosting that whole Winter Olympics thing a few months ago, or whatever, Salt Lake City has found itself playing host to an increasing number of tours, festivals and noteworthy performers. In many cases these performances feature artists who previously wouldn’t have dreamed of playing a gig in our Wasatch Valley. At the same time, returning acts are still welcomed with just as much ardor and reverence as before this valley took center stage to the world. Our community’s growth, both in number and culture, has produced new amphitheaters, new concert venues and bigger names in our neck of the woods. Here is a brief overview of Salt Lake’s summer concerts.


Summer at the Gallivan
Although laws have changed, the music returns and downtown's greatest summer party resurfaces.


Since it opened, downtown’s Gallivan Center (Located on 200 South between State Street and West Temple) has become Salt Lake City's reliable source for summer entertainment. From late afternoon to sundown, local crowds, both young and old, frequent the plaza, experiencing an array of artists and music free of charge. While this year brings many changes, the shows at the Gallivan Center continue to be one of the city’s greatest summer musical showcases.


Due to the new liquor legislation laws, outside beer and liquor will no longer be allowed on the premises for any reason, including “I’m a poor alcoholic.” There are vendors on site who sell beer and wine, but “brown-bagging” is against the law.


Speaking of brown bags, the constantly moving Brown Bag concert series' rival, The Lunch Bunch Concert Series, features local acts every weekday from noon to 1pm.


From June 25 until Aug. 6, the Come Alive Concert series features local and regional acts including The Rubes, The Dirty Birds and Cosm.


The center also hosts The Gallivan Center Folk and Bluegrass Festival which, for a measly $5, will host Blue Haiku, Stormy Mountain Boys, Julie Hill, Lo-Fi Breakdown, The Winstons, Ron Spears & Within Tradition, Uncle Earl and Lost Highway. The day of music starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 14.


And then there’s the big Twilight Concert Series, featuring the following performers:


July 10: Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks and Sonny Landreth
Dan Hicks has been classified as one of the greatest exports from the San Francisco psychedelic ’60s genre. His eclectic style ranges from gypsy to standard jazz and folk compositions, while he takes heed in his pursuits and generates feedback from his audiences.
Sonny Landreth possesses a rare talent. Heralding from the bayou state of Louisiana, this blues-influenced musician emits the qualities characteristic of the big easy. This creole blues performance will leave the audience breathless for the main act when he gets the crowd into a hysterical frenzy.


July 17: David Grisman Quintet
For almost four decades, the David Grisman Quintet has laid its own path in jazz and folk, taking on a genre all its own, simply titled “dawg music.” With legendary bluegrass mandolinist David Grisman at the band's helm (obviously), the group ventures into the vast worlds of latin, jazz and bluegrass, all while catering to an ever-interested and ever-growing following of youthful and not-so-ripe smelling hippies.


July 24: Roomful of Blues
This is the definitive collection of touring blues and jazz musicians. Though their lineup may have changed slightly throughout the band's lifetime, the Roomful of Blues band has constantly been touring and ripping the crowd a new one with its mix of soul, blues and traditional R&B. This is truly the coolest and grooviest eight-piece band on tour to see. And hey, this damn show is free!


July 31: John Scofield and Sex Mob
John Scofield is one of the remarkable jazz guitarists on the scene. He has branched out from traditional jazz to incorporate drum and bass technology, a feat not ventured since Miles Davis's ghastly final album, Do-Bop, on which Scofield might well have played. The difference is in the performance. Scofield picked up where Davis invariably left off, leaving Scofield at this genre's forefront. While sure not to upstage Davis, Scofield continues an endless realm of acid jazz possibilities.
One of the most innovative acid jazz projects of its time, Sex Mob demonstrates an ability to raise eyebrows while taking jazz music into the next century. With influences ranging from Sly and the Family Stone and Prince to James Bond theme songs, Sex Mob will dress to impress at its Gallivan Show.


August 7: Celtic/bluegrass showcase featuring Red Knuckles and Boys of the Lough
Red Knuckles’s lead vocalist Tim O’Brien will perform a wide array of traditional bluegrass and celtic stylings. Though it may seem impossible to recognize from afar, O'Brien is blessed with one of those unique and soulful country/Grand Ol’ Opry voices that boggles the mind.
For more than three decades, the members of The Boys of Lough have played what they know: good traditional Celtic music. This ensemble will close out a night of music that even Michael Flatley would be pissed about.


August 14: Patty Griffin
When thinking of such young folk acts as Jewel, it is important to include Griffin into the group. But what sets Griffin apart from these artists is the ability to convey her personal feelings throughout her albums. This talent, which led to her work with Emmylou Harris, breaks down the separation between performer and audience.


August 21: Buckwheat Zydeco
What better way to end the Gallivan Center 2003 Twilight Concert Series? (Except to maybe repeal them damn new liquor laws, and enjoy yourself!!! But I digress…) The band's mix of Zydeco is laced with jazz, blues and Afro Cuban influences.


As the festival draws to a close, smoke ’em if you've got them.


All Shows are free and begin promptly at 7:00 p.m., rain or shine. For more show information, feel free to contact the Salt Lake City Arts Council, located at the Art Barn (Finch Lane Gallery, 54 Finch Lane, www.slcgov.com/arts).


USANA AMPHITHEATER
5151 S. Westridge Blvd. (6200 West), West Valley City
Total capacity: 20,000 patrons (7,000 reserved, 13,000 lawn seating)


LINEUP:
July 3: The Brian Wilson-free Beach Boys
Octogenarians playing old time surf music to a crowd of more octogenarians. They were cool once, but then I saw them on Full House. Changed my whole perspective.


July 8: Counting Crows and John Mayer
Since their memorable debut on SNL the better half of a decade ago, the members of Counting Crows have remained a consistent ensemble in rock music. (Plus Courtney Cox went out with the singer. So you know da’ ladies love ’em.)
After his first studio release got him Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, John Mayer has been gaining speed and respect with his smooth folk/pop/rock styles. Sort of a Dave Matthews lite. The big difference is that Mayer doesn’t constantly smell of alcohol. So you know da’ ladies love ‘im. This double-bill will be a jaw-droppin’, teeny boppin’, bubble-gum-poppin’ good time.

 
   


July 11: Poison
Every rose has its thorn! One of the ’80s’ greatest hair bands features all of the original members (singer Bret Michaels, bassist Bobby Dall, drummer Rikki Rockett and guitarist C.C. Deville). God, I can’t wait to see the mullets and ripped jeans at this one!

July 15: Phish
The jammiest jam band to ever jam a jammy jam, Phish’s key to its live show is increasing focus on the music, and overlooking the noxious mixture of weed, patchoulli, nag champa oil and armpits that tends to follow the group wherever they play. Some say that indescribably gross smell is the reason the band broke up in the first place…

July 17: Bob Dylan
You can hear music lovers rejoicing, “Bob’s coming! Bob’s coming! Jewels and binoculars hang from the head of the mule and these visions of Johanna, they make it all seem so cruel.” The man who electrified folk, added poetry to pop music and just plain kicks ass continues to tour like mad. If you don’t think the legend has still got it, listen to Love and Theft and say, “Whoa. It’s awesome!” Thankfully, the Utah date is just with his excellent live band, not part of his tour with the remaining members of The Grateful Dead.

 
   

July 22: Dave Matthews Band
This Virginia troupe has performed consistently in Salt Lake City spreading its unique rock/folk/jazz/funk style to sold-out audiences. In one year of touring alone, DMB generates more than $800 million in ticket and merchandise sales. I know that doesn’t describe the band. I just think that’s bat-shit insane!


July 23: Rock the Mic
This big-bill performance features some of hip-hop’s best-known voices. Sean Paul, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, and Jay Z will grace the West Valley amphitheater stage. God, I can’t wait to see the mullets and ripped jeans at this one!


July 25: Widespread Panic
After Guitarist Mike Houser died from pancreatic cancer in late 2002, the future was uncertain for these southern rockers. Their endurance still remains as they continue to tour and spread their great laid-back jam band style nationwide.


August 21: Lollapalooza 2003
Despite poor ticket sales, this festival should not be missed. SLC’s headliners include: Jane’s Addiction (the return), Audioslave (Rage Against the Machine, with Chris Cornell in place of Zach DeLaRocha), A Perfect Circle (Tool’s James Maynard Keenan’s side project) and Incubus (opposite of a succubus—or so I’ve been told).


August 23: James Taylor
Ah yes, more music for octogenarians. Taylor’s folk music seems to accompany the shrinking and ultimate recession of one’s testicles into their body cavity with unparalleled fluidity. That’s just what I’ve heard.


August 27: Tom Jones
One of the last of his kind, Jones made his emergence along with other acts that accompanied the ’60s British invasion. His unique pop-vocal style is what has truly set him apart from most in such a genre. He brings his Vegas crooning to Salt Lake City for the summer.


August 28: Radiohead
These eccentric icons were a bit teed-off upon learning that crazed fans had appropriated bootleg copies of their latest album Hail to the Thief (tracks which were or were not altered after the fact). However, they’ll probably just channel their frustration into the creation of more beautifully odd music. Apparently they have not been so enraged as to cancel their stop in Utah. Come watch hipsters shit bricks as they watch Thom Yorke scream melodic under the summer stars.

September 1: Chicago
The soft rock of Chicago. The adult Contemporary of Chicago…What can be said? Only second to the crappy Beach Boys [Editor’s note: take a music history lesson, Pete] according to Billboard, Chicago is the most successful American rock group of all time. On a good (or bad) day, one can hear the majority of Chicago’s extensive catalogue on any of the nation’s soft rock/easy listening radio stations. God be praised.


September 13: The Allman Brothers Band and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
Karl “Diesel” Denson made his mark as the backup saxophonist for Lenny Kravitz, then later joined the widely successful Greyboy Allstars group, and adopted the band’s unique funk/acid jazz style.
This ’60s ensemble turned super group and its notorious southern rock is not to be missed. The Allman Brothers has remained remarkably consistent, despite its constant lineup change. This current ensemble, with legends including singer and lead guitarist Gregg Allman, bassist Oteil Burbidge, and Gov’t Mule guitarist Warren Haynes, continues to be the finest since the group’s original inception more than 30 years ago.


September 17: ZZ Top with Ted Nugent
Since the 1970s, ZZ Top has remained the greatest southern rock group to experience in a live setting. Its larger-than-life beards and sound provide concrete evidence of this. What could make this show better?
I’ll tell you what…a co-bill with self-proclaimed animal killing enthusiast and radio personality Ted "Cat Scratch Fever" Nugent, that’s how.


Ticket prices and showtimes are subject to change. Guests are allowed to bring blankets into the venue, but not coolers, glass, alcohol or other beverages. Go figure.


Tickets are available at all Smith’sTix outlets, by phone at 467-TIXX or 1-800-888-TIXX or online at www.smithstix.com and the E Center Box Office, Usana Amphitheater day of the show only.

RED BUTTE GARDENS
300 Wakara Way
Located on campus off of Foothill Blvd.


LINEUP:

June 22: Susan Tedeschi
R&B and gospel flavored blues originals are what set Tedeschi apart from the straight blues classification. Her performances are truly energetic and are perfectly suited for Red Butte’s outdoor venue.


June 29: Robert Earl Keen
A Houston native, Robert Earl Keen remains one of the greatest singer/songwriters ever to emerge from the state of Texas. His songs overflow with deep emotion and brilliantly painted drunken Southern scenery.


July 10: Taj Mahal and The Hula Blues Band
Since his first album, Natch’l Blues was released in 1968, Taj Mahal has remained one of the most prominent figures in modern instrumental blues. Mahal has played an enormous role in preserving the traditional blues genre, while branching out to incorporate musical styles from around the world. Everything from Zydeco, West African, Afro-Caribbean and Latin, Mahal has pursued and performed with the tenacity of a true musicologist.

 


July 23: They Might Be Giants
The coolest nerds in rock, John Linnell and John Flansburgh of TMBG have made a name for themselves with their gold records and a cult like fan base. The most reasonable explanation for the band’s intercontinental success lies in its eclectic and humorous lyrics accompanying unbelievably collective musical prowess. This show is guaranteed to be a night to remember.


July 27: Shawn Colvin
This Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter has been praised year after year for her contributions to contemporary folk music, not only by critics, but by her musical peers as well. She is in constant musical contact with the likes of Nanci Griffith and Emmylou Harris. If she can please them, she will definitely enchant you.


July 31: Lucinda Williams
The combination of her unending vocal pursuits, the sadness in her lyrics and her knowledge of music makes it no wonder Williams has won three Grammy awards and other illustrious praise for her talents. Her troubadour sound will intrigue both those familiar and unfamiliar with her work.


August 12: Norah Jones
This new artist sensation had quite a showing at the most recent Grammy award ceremonies, winning Best New Artist and Album of the Year. Her smooth vocals and melodic piano work will make this late summer performance at Red Butte very special…By the way, it’s sold out.


August 17: Los Lobos
Just another band from East LA? Far from it. Perennial favorite Los Lobos brings its mixture of rock, banda, zydeco and traditional Spanish folk music to Red Butte Garden. Don’t miss out.


August 24: Keb’ Mo’
Born Kevin Moore, this timeless blues singer/songwriter provides an educated blues edge that is seldom seen in the dwindling genre. His albums have become instant classics. He also composed the theme song for Martha Stewart’s television program. Usually performing with nothing more than a national guitar, a mic and a stomping foot, Keb’ Mo’ is a magnificent performer and will likely be enjoyed by all. Except maybe Martha Stewart, who isn’t enjoying much of anything right now.


August 26: k.d. lang
Most who have heard lang’s deep and sultry voice adore it. She is a Grammy-winner, which comes as no surprise, as she wins the crowd over with each of her jaw-dropping performances.


September 14: Ralph Stanley
This Grammy-winning bluegrass artist is a legend and is considered one of the most influential and important figures in country music today. From performing on many of the "O, Brother, Where Art Thou" soundtrack songs, to being featured on nearly every recent bluegrass showcase, Stanley never ceases to amaze.


Seating is general admission, ticket prices and showtimes vary. For more information about Red Butte Gardens and ticket sales, please contact:
www.redbuttegarden.org
Concert Info: 587-9939
Ticket info: Ticketmaster #328 SEAT.

pete@red-mag.com