I've been looking forward to this weekend of music since mid-summer, when it first fell into place. For fans of great eclectic rock 'n' roll that's a tad under the radar, but wonderful just the same, this is a stellar weekend. Let's look at the highlights - and their polar opposites - as well.

Starting Thursday night, slept-on roots rockers, The Wood Brothers, hit The State Room behind their excellent new album, "Smoke Ring Halo." Quite simply, if you like great musicianship, cool lyrics and energetic country-rock, this is a show you just can't miss. Tickets are on sale at www.thestateroom.com. See you there.

Here they are playing "Up Above My Head." http://youtu.be/XUVY9RK1sbw

Also, Thursday night is veteran guitar star Bill Kirchen. He'll be at The Garage on Beck Street. The entry fee is $15. Here's Kirchen blazing away in a rockabilly vein:


With just 24 hours to recover, one of my favorite new bands to emerge in recent years hit The State Room on Friday night, when The Moondoggies, pictured above, return for the third time. The Seattle-based rockers are just that, an actual rock band. Because of the general laziness of the music press and industry, they get called "indie-rock," but they have far more in common with what was found on the AM radio dial in the early '70s than most of their indie cohorts. What they mainly have in common with barely similar acts is that they're not on a major label, not on mainstream radio or TV. These guys don't even show up in the credits of "True Blood," or any other TV show. (Thanks heavens!) The Moondoggies' strengths include terrific songwriting, cool harmonies and a straight-forward honesty that comes through in their sound and approach. Yeah, I'm excited about this show. You should be too. Tickets are $14.

Here's "Empress of the North," which is from "Tidelands," their 2010 release.


And then Saturday has two stellar options in store: one is the Utah Symphony continues its Beethoven performance cycle with the Eighth Symphony due on Friday and Saturday. There's more to come on this - as I've been studying all summer in preparation for these performances. Tickets start at $17 and remain on sale.

And if you want to lose most if not all of your credibility as a music fan with so-called music snobs like me then you can go see REO Speedwagon, minus the legendary Gary Richrath on guitar and Styx, minus their most successful lead singer Dennis DeYoung, will be at USANA Ampitheatre to put the bow on an uninspired, typically mainstream and unappealing summer lineup card at what should be the Wasatch Front's best outdoor venue. Instead, it's often just the land of cheezoid belt-buckle country, aging hair metal acts and '70s radio dinosaurs.

And finally, a really good indie-rock show starting at 10 p.m. on Saturday at The Urban Lounge when The Fruit Bats headline with Vetiver and local folkie fave David WIlliams opening up. Tickets start at $12 and are available at 24tix.com.

Here's a great Vetiver song, "Rolling Sea." http://youtu.be/S_ULYZ_uYbM

Another cool option Saturday is trance-rocker Skrillex out at Salt Air. If there weren't two other things worth seeing, I'd be there for this. The buzz about Skrillex is already large and continues to grow. Tickets are $32 and are at smithstix.com

Follow Salt Lake Arts/Entertainment writer Scott Murphy on Twitter @murphyinfo