About a half-dozen times a year in Salt Lake City, there are nights like the one happening Thursday - when there are not one, but two shows by artists I refuse to miss when they play here.
Starting early at Kilby Court with Chicago-based songwriter Joe Pug, Thursday is one terrific night with two can't-miss shows. Pug, who first came to SLC a few years back opening for Justin Townes Earle, is a songsmith well worth hearing, if you haven't yet. He writes terrific folk-based material with a rock feel to it. Part of the reason he's recording and touring is his music was good enough to impress not only Earle, but his father Steve Earle was also astounded by Pug's writing. Check him out on spotify.com and here on youtube. Tickets are available at 24tix.com.
After Pug wraps up, probably around 10 p.m., it'll be worth your while to head over to The Urban Lounge and see Deer Tick, pictured above, as they headline a three-band gig with Salle Ford and The Sound Outside also opening and Turbo Fruits appearing first. This will be my fourth time to see DT and, as usual, I can't wait. The Rhode Island-based rockers are a terrific live act with energy, verve and passion that's too often missing from better known bands. Also, Deer Tick has great chops and features the terrific rock vocals of John McCauley III. They're touring behind a new EP called "Tim" and earned a ton of praise for last year's "Divine Providence." This song's from a few albums back, but remains a great example of their sound. It's called "Easy." Tickets remain on sale at 24tix.com.
Also this weekend, '80s punk institution Social Distortion will play two sold-out gigs at The Depot. The initial concert for Friday went fast enough United Concerts felt confident to add a second show and fans scarfed up those tickets as well. The Saturday concert is all-ages, which is relatively rare at The Depot and both gigs should be energetic.
And on a theatrical note, Pygmalion Company continues its presentation of "In The Next Room," at the Leona Wagner Black Box Theatre. The play is set in the 1880s and is based on the historically accurate - yet weird - fact that doctors once used vibrators to treat "hysterical" women and occasionally, men. Should be a riotous good time. Tickets for the performances, which run Thursday-Sunday are at arttix.org.
Also, Wasatch Theatre's production of "Chapter Two" by acclaimed playwright Neil Simon continues this weekend at the Studio Theatre at the Rose Wagner. Tickets for this show are also at arttix.org.