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Out and about: The Joy Formidable, Low, Mika, Toubab Krewe, Javina Magness, The Wild Feathers, Exodus, and some crazy puppets highlight week of entertainment

Published March 28, 2013 11:37 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Joy Formidable

Spotlight show • Most sensible people avoid Maine in the winter. But the Welsh pop-rock band The Joy Formidable decided to record most of its most recent album there. Frontwoman Ritzy Bryan said a previous tour had ended in Maine, so they were able to spend a few days exploring The Pine Tree State. "We absolutely fell in love," she said in a phone interview. "Call us crazy." (I will, but respectfully.) They returned to the United Kingdom, and when it came time to record songs they had written during that tour, they returned to Maine to make the record, with finishing touches done later in London. Like Bono, Bryan is obsessed with the United States, developing a strong interest in Indian culture and mythology, something that reminds her of home. "We were definitely connected to where we grew up, with stories and myths and legends and the natural world," she said. The album was released in January, and the shoegazing-inspired band is touring the world, relieving Bryan of having to rent a flat. She currently has no home address. "It's not tragic homelessness," she said. "We want to cover a lot of ground. I'm embracing the nomadic lifestyle. The only thing I miss is my record collection." Guards and Fort Lean are also on the bill.

When •Friday, March 29, at 8:30 p.m.

Where • Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $18 at 24Tix

Mika

Spotlight show • The last time pop singer-songwriter Mika performed in Salt Lake City, his instruments were stuck in transit as a snowstorm raged. He ended up delivering an acoustic set. "To this day, it was one of my favorite shows ever," he said in a recent phone interview. The 29-year-old singer — with an amazingly flexible range for a pop singer — was born in Beirut to a Lebanese mother and an American father and was raised in Paris and London. His American blood resonates. "I am extremely proud of it," he said. "America is the only place where I am embraced for [my diversity]. Where else am I going to feel [at] home?" Mika's most recent album — his third — is 2012's "The Origins of Love. " While it didn't yield any American hit singles like his prior hits "Grace Kelly" and "Love Today," it is a near-perfect example of top-shelf pop craftsmanship. "I had a real desire to sound symphonic but not busy," he said. "I like to explore things to their limit." Mika is writing and working on his next record, which he said is "quite Billy Joel-esque," a simple, acoustic album.

When • Saturday, March 30, at 8 p.m.

Where • In The Venue, 579 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $29.50 in advance, $35 day of, at SmithsTix

The Wild Feathers

Spotlight show • Kip Moore headlines this good ol'-fashioned country show, but arrive early to hear The Wild Feathers — a Nashville band that doesn't fit the country band mold. Take the song "Backwoods Company," which features riffs and axes typically heard at hard-rock shows. "Calling ourself a country band and playing that doesn't make much sense," said Ricky Young, one of four frontmen. "We're a rock 'n' roll band." Most of the band is made up of Texans. The quartet formed in Nashville after realizing their talents were more powerful when combined. With Joel King, Taylor Burns and Preston Wimberly joining Moore, the band straddles the line between country and rock. The narratives have a hard-luck country sound, but the four-part vocal harmonies and guitars add an edge. The band just finished playing at South by Southwest, and Young can't remember how many shows they played while in Austin. "I lost count after 12 or 13," he said.

When • Saturday, March 30, at 9 p.m.

Where • The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $20 in advance, $25 day of, at SmithsTix

Janiva Magness

Spotlight show • Nominated for five 2013 Blues Music Awards, including the coveted B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Award, Janiva Magness believes that suffering and catharsis are integral to the blues. "In my experience, people aren't drawn to the blues, and rhythm and blues, without having some sort of scars," the 56-year-old singer said in a recent telephone interview. "The entire community — the audience, the performer, the talent buyer — seems to be made up of people who have been scarred and seek healing." Magness has suffered in her life. Both parents committed suicide early in her life and she became pregnant while in her teens. Even 2011, a breakthrough year for Magness in terms of commercial and critical success, was difficult —she buried eight important people in her life that year. But performing, she said, is "transformational for me. … Have I had healing? You're damn right."

When • Saturday, March 30, at 8 p.m.

Where • Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., Park City

Tickets • $15 to $30 at egyptiantheatrecompany.org

Low

Spotlight show • The minimalist "slowcore" trio Low is led by the husband-and-wife team of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker. The couple are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Sparhawk lived in Utah until he was 11 and attended Brigham Young University for a year before going home to Minnesota and marrying his fourth-grade sweetheart. "I converted when I was 22," Parker said in a recent telephone interview. Obviously, no one would pay much attention to Low — whose third member is Steve Garrington — if it were garbage. Its new album, "The Invisible Way," was released earlier this year and received acclaim. It was produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and recorded at Wilco's Chicago studio. Parker said Tweedy brought out the best of the band. "We've opened for [Wilco] once or twice over the years," she said. "We thought he would bring in a new aesthetic. He wouldn't steer us too crazy." Being on tour meant the couple spent more time with each other. When they're home, they operate on different schedules to raise their children. "I wake up early with the kids, and he sleeps late," Parker said.

When • Saturday, March 30, at 8 p.m.

Where • Velour Live Music Gallery,135 N. University Ave., Provo

Tickets • $18 in advance, $20 day of, at 24Tix

Toubab Krewe

Spotlight show • The accomplished North Carolina band performs Afro-beat, blending American roots music with similar sounds of Mali and West Africa. Percussionist Luke Quranta, originally from New York, said that even as a teenager, he was drawn to African percussion and its musical traditions more so than the pimped-out drum kits fellow musicians favored. He found kindred spirits in North Carolina, and instead of simply replicating what they heard on records, the nascent band traveled to Guinea, Ivory Coast and Mali to study their instruments under the tutelage of masters. "It really grabbed us," said Quranta, who is at home on the African drum djembe. Many of the other members of the group had grown up playing Appalachian bluegrass, and once they heard music from Mali, they realized the lineage of the music could be traced to Africa. "It really changed all of us," Quranta said of trips. "There's a lot of common ground." Holy Water Buffalo opens.

When • Sunday, March 31, at 8 p.m.

Where • The State Room, 638 S. State St., Salt Lake City

Tickets • $16 at thestateroom.com

Exodus

Spotlight show • This Bay Area metal band — formed in 1980 by Kirk Hammett before he graduated to Metallica — is still kicking literally and figuratively. Drummer Tom Hunting is one of the founding members, and although he left the band twice, in 1989 and 2004, he rejoined in 2007 and is happy to be back. "I've always missed the fans," he said of his absences. "Mostly, I miss my brothers in the band. I'm not in it to be a star." The band's most recent album is 2010's "Exhibit B: The Human Condition," and the band is now in the "riff-writing process" for the next one. "It's like building a sandwich," Hunting, 47, said. "The drums are the bread, and the riffs are the meat." One thing that won't be on the forthcoming album is a ballad. "It's not in our DNA to write ballads," he said. But no matter how they evolve, Hunting remains proud of what Exodus has accomplished, especially back in the 1980s when metal was ignored by many. "We're part of something that's special and something we pioneered."

When • Monday, April 1, at 7 p.m.

Where • In The Venue, 579 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $16 in advance, $18 day of, at SmithsTix

Henson Alternative's Stuffed and Unstrung

Spotlight show • This may be a puppet show, but it is intended for adults 18 and older. With 80 Henson puppets and six comics manipulating those puppets, the show doesn't "endeavor to offend," said Patrick Bristow, director and co-creator with Brian Henson. But inevitably the show moves into R-rated material. It is about 80 percent improvised with subject matter coming straight from the audience — suggestions usually relate to off-color topics such as prostitution and gynecology. While buttoned-up critics have called what they do with puppets sacrilegious, Bristow said in a recent telephone interview that the variety show is modeled after some of the first explorations the late Jim Henson had with puppets. "His earlier works had a lot of edge and subversiveness." Did you know Henson created a series of adult-themed sketches on the first season of "Saturday Night Live"? In other words, book a baby-sitter.

When • Thursday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m.

Where • Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $36.50, $32.50, $28.50, $24.50 at kingsburyhall.utah.edu; U. of U. students$5 with valid ID (at box office or Union desk)

Lorin Walker Madsen

The country musician will perform with The North Valley, Matthew Nanes, The Roe & Spenser Revue.

When • Friday, March 29, at 7 p.m.

Where • Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $7 at 24Tix.com

Crashdiet

Swedish glam rockers bring their Savage Playground World Tour to Salt Lake with guests Crucified Barbara, Snakeskyn Whiskey, Corvid and Radiata.

When • Friday, March 29, at 7:30 p.m.

Where • Liquid Joe's, 1249 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $7 advance, $10 day of; SmithsTix.com

Fictionist

This local five-piece band has won fans with its take on indie rock. Mideau will open Friday's show.

When • Friday, March 29, at 8 p.m.

Where • Velour Live Music Gallery, 135 N. University Ave., Provo

Tickets • $8 at 24Tix.com

Rosie and The Ramblers

After a stint at SXSW, the country-rockers are stopping in Salt Lake.

When • Friday, March 29, at 8 p.m.

Where • The Garage, 1199 N. Beck St., Salt Lake City

Tickets • $5 at 24Tix.com

Rebelution

The California-based reggae band returns to Salt Lake with special guests J Boog and Hot Rain.

When • Friday, March 29, at 8:30 p.m.

Where • The Depot, 400 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $22.50 advance, $25 day of; at SmitsTix.com

Anuhea

The Hawaii-born songstress' sound is acoustic soul, pop, rap and reggae all rolled into one. Justin Young will open.

When • Saturday, March 30, at 9:30 p.m.

Where • Bar Deluxe, 666 S. State St., Salt Lake City

Tickets • $10 advance, $15 day of; at 24Tix.com

Stress Free Tour

The Stress Free Tour includes hip-hop musicians Pep Love & Opio, Equipto, Michael Marshall, Z-Man of One Block Radius, L'Roneous and Otayo Dubb and MC Burnell Washburn.

When • Sunday, March 31, at 8:30 p.m.

Where • Kamikazes, 2408 Adams Ave., Ogden

Tickets • $10, advance, $15 day of; Ticketcake.com

Matt Costa

This indie-folk artist from Huntington Beach has a self-titled album in the works.

When • Monday, April 1, at 7 p.m.

Where • Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $16 at 24Tix.com

Alt-J

It's difficult to pin down this English quartet's genre but the label alt-pop/folktronica will have to do.

When • Thursday, April 4, at 7 p.m.

Where • The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $19 at 24Tix.com

Minus the Bear

The Seattle-based indie rockers released their fifth full-length album, "Infinity Overhead," last year.

When • Thursday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m.

Where • Park City Live, 427 Main St., Park City

Tickets • $20 at SmithsTix.com