Whether you're a fan of the Great American Songbook, mainstream rock, moody folk or long-form improvisational jamming, the first part of this week has something in store for you.
Starting with Monday night's lone rock option over at Kilby Court, the Brooklyn, N.Y.,-based Atomic Tom is in town touring behind 2010's "The Moment." If you want to see something intriguing -some would say disturbing - watch them play their song "Take Me Out' on their iPhones. Tickets are available for $10 from 24tix.com. Here's Atomic Tom rocking those iPhones.
On Tuesday, Kingsbury Hall will welcome New York composer Stephen Sondheim, as he brings his "A Little Night Conversation with Stephen Sondheim" out West to Kingsbury Hall. This began back in 2008 in New York with New York Times columnist Anthony Rich. Filling in for Rich will be former Salt Lake Tribune theater critic, Nancy Melich. Best known for writing the lyrics to "West Side Story" and composing "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum," Sondheim's a Broadway legend and at 80, has virtually no living peers.
The composer's in town to help celebrate Kingsbury's 80th anniversary. His contributions to theater date back to the Eisenhower administration. To hear him reflect on his career along with his creative process should be a treat for anyone who loves the arts, music and its creators.
While both events will likely draw fine crowds Tuesday, I suspect almost no individual in town will be conflicted about whether to attend Sondheim's event or the Plain White T's concert at In The Venue. These two groups have different demographics, one could say. The straight-ahead successful rockers are touring with Parachute and Miggs. Here's one of their recent vids:
And in the same building that night, rockers Haste The Day will be at Club Sound.
Also Tuesday, pop-folk songsmith Amos Lee, is on tour behind "Mission Bell," which was released last week. This will be a mellow night, but Lee's a fine singer, so this could be worth checking into. Bell, who's known for his work with Norah Jones, has some serious clout. Guests on "Mission Bell" include Willie Nelson and Lucinda Williams. Here's a song from the latest album, "Windows Rolled Down."
A real treat is in store for theater-goers on Wednesday at the Salt Lake Acting Company. The story of the final day of the Iranian Hostage Crisis as written by Kathleen Cahill is premiered at the Upstairs Theater at 168 W. 500 North. Tickets start at $15 for what should be a thought-provoking performance.
The many fans (many other music writers would use the hated term, "hippies" here, but not me) of improvisational rock (many other music writers would use the hated term, "jambands" here, but not me) will be conflicted on Wednesday.
Do you a) hit Park City for the bluegrass-based picking of Emmitt-Nershi Band with openers Head for the Hills (who hit the Bar Deluxe Thursday for a headlining gig)?
b) Opt for The Depot and headliners moe. This sextet of New Yorkers is often dismissed as just another set of Grateful Dead/Phish-wanna bes, but they're not. The upstate New Yorkers have penned many catchy rock straight-up rock songs since forming in 1989, including "St. Augustine" and "Captain America." Also, lead guitarist Al Schnier is a world-class demon on the six-string. Last time they were here, they also displayed an other-worldly light show. For jam-a-phobics, this band offers a good chance to confront your affliction head on. You might be surprised at the results. Here's moe. rolling through an acoustic take on one of the band's more popular numbers among its fans, "Okayalright."
Up at the University of Utah on Wednesday, theater-goers can catch "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot," a 2005-Biblical story set in the West with a list of characters including Pontius Pilate and Sigmud Freud. Should be a different way to spend the night ...