No matter what your favorite kind of music is, you can probably find it somewhere in Utah this weekend, starting with this troika of old-school ska, jammy blues and the Utah Symphony tackling the King of Pop.
Deer Valley Music Festival: The Music of Michael Jackson with The Utah Symphony, Deer Valley, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., $32 general admission
It’s easy to be skeptical of these performances that combine the talents of the Utah Symphony with a pop artist’s catalog, but I went to see the Queen show last summer, and I’m now sold that it can work. The singer for that show certainly had Freddie Mercury’s voice down, and the guitar player that joined the fray was a competent-enough Brian May impressionist. This summer’s Deer Valley Music Festival opens with a night of Michael Jackson’s music, and he’s always been a favorite of mine (never mind the tabloid silliness—the man had serious skills as a songwriter and performer). James Delisco is the man tasked with delivering MJ’s vocals; he won some singing reality show on the E! Channel. Here’s hoping he’s up to the task. Even if he’s not, I’m hopeful the symphony members will break out into the “Thriller” dance at some point. It could happen!
Long-time Utahns will recall that well before bands like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, No Doubt and Reel Big Fish helped turn ska-tinged tunes into mainstream “alternative” hits, Utah (and particularly Provo) had a thriving ska scene. A couple of the leaders of the Utah ska movement—Swim Herschel Swim and Stretch Armstrong—are reuniting this summer for a show that also includes long-time local faves Insatiable and 2 1/2 White Guys. It’s a perfect night to break out the old dancing shoes and take a ride in the way-back machine.
When I look at a CD cover and see one of the band members credited with “keyboard wizardry,” that’s typically a sign for more to put the CD down and slowly back away from the prog and/or jam band. But I didn’t do it this time because of the man whose name gives the band its moniker–Chris Robinson. Better known as the lead singer for the Black Crowes, Robinson is now leading the Chris Robinson Brotherhood around the country while his original band is on hiatus. The CRB’s new album, Big Moon Ritual, is indeed a big proggy, jammy blast of the blues-rock Robinson is known for, and the band is known for throwing a few worthy covers in its sets.