JANELLE MONAE, RED BUTTE GARDEN, Sunday, June 8, 7 p.m., $62
There is simply no way to listen to one of Janelle Monae’s Grammy-nominated songs, or watch a clip of her on YouTube, and glean what an incredible live show the Kansas City native puts on. Watching Monae lead a big funk band through a show is like seeing James Brown or Prince at the height of their powers, and that is no hyperbole. Monae is THAT good. I first learned of her prowess on stage several years ago when Monae came to Salt Lake City as the opening act for Of Montreal at In The Venue. I became a fan for life after seeing her blend touches of science fiction and performance art into a show rooted in funk and soul music. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen, a genuinely thrilling spectacle that caught many in the audience off-guard. A couple years later, Monae returned to Utah for a show opening for Bruno Mars. Mars has become a superstar in the years since, and headlined the Super Bowl halftime show earlier this year. On the night Monae opened for him, she blew his show away with her energy, style and sound. Last fall, Monae released her second full-length album, a set called The Electric Lady. It’s a fine addition to her catalog, and features several guests who have discovered a kinship with the talented Monae, including Prince and Erykah Badu.