SALT LAKE CITY — Is summer here yet? Almost.
It’s Utah’s greatest season, and not just because of the concerts. But hey, the concerts do help. We scoured Utah’s summer concert calendar, and these 13 caught our attention.
The Hives: May 25 at the Union
The Hives were arguably Sweden’s best musical export in the early 2000s. The band gained a rep for its lean, snarling, undeniably catchy garage rock — particularly in concert, where they quickly became one of the most lauded live acts of its day. Lead singer “Howlin’” Pelle Almqvist felt like a manic Mick Jagger for a new generation. If they’re even a fraction as good now as they were back then, it’ll be worth it. (For reference: The Hives’ legendary performance on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”)
Snarky Puppy: June 4 at the Commonwealth Room
Another band you must see to believe. Snarky Puppy specializes in grand, expansive jazz fusion, and its somewhat rotating door of members totals approximately 40 musicians. These guys can really, really play. Let this musical collective take you on a journey.
Carly Rae Jepsen: July 1 at the Depot
If you haven’t listened to Jepsen since “Call Me Maybe,” then do so now. The Canadian pop singer has gone from one-hit wonder to critical darling, releasing 2015’s acclaimed album “Emotion,” and the new album “Dedicated,” released last week. She’s the pure pop yin to Ariana Grande’s trap music yang.
Matthew Logan Vasquez: July 1 at Urban Lounge
The frontman for the fantastic indie rock outfit Delta Spirit, Vasquez has released three top-notch solo albums in the past three years. As a solo artist, he draws more overtly from classic rock songwriters like David Bowie and Harry Nilsson than Delta Spirit ever did. And his 2017 concert at Urban Lounge was a sight to behold. He’ll ditch the full band for this year’s Salt Lake visit, opting for an intimate acoustic set.
Jenny Lewis: July 11 at Deer Valley
Lewis’ May 18 show at the Commonwealth Room sold out really quickly, so a date at Deer Valley was added. Lewis’ former group, the now-defunct Rilo Kiley, left big shoes for her to fill, but she’s surpassed their heights over two fantastic solo albums, 2014’s “The Voyager” and this year’s “On the Line.” If Lewis’ Deer Valley show is anything like her visit to the Commonwealth Room, then attendees are in for a treat.
Hugh Jackman: July 11-12 at Vivint Arena
Jackman was starring in a West End production of “Oklahoma!” when he auditioned for the “X-Men” films. So yes, he’s more than just a pretty face. Jackman will bring a variety of his Broadway and film songs to Vivint Arena for this unique show. It isn’t his first trip to Vivint Arena — he performed there last year for a doTERRA convention.
Ariana Grande: July 13 at Vivint Arena
Maybe the best flat-out singer in current pop music, Grande is also becoming its most prolific: Her 2018 album, “Sweetener,” was released in August, and it’s follow-up album, “Thank U, Next,” came out in February. She’s released five albums in the past six years, so she’ll have plenty of material for her Vivint Arena visit.
The Flaming Lips: July 18 at Ogden Twilight (Ogden Amphitheater)
If you need some live weirdness, look no further. Over the years, the Flaming Lips have taken concert psychedelia to a new level. Big white unicorns and human-sized hamster balls are just the tip of the iceberg. (And hey, their songs are pretty great too.)
Norah Jones: July 19-20 at Sandy Amphitheater
Earlier this year, Jones released “Begin Again,” a seven-song collection she recorded in spurts with various collaborators, including Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. She’ll bring those songs and more to the Sandy Amphitheater for two nights of shows. Is there a voice any smoother than Norah Jones’? If there is, we haven’t heard it.
Toots and the Maytals: July 30 at the Depot
What would reggae be without Toots and the Maytals? For one, the genre might have a different name: the Jamaican group’s 1968 song “Do the Reggay” coined the term. A decade later, Toots and the Maytals heavily influenced the punk/reggae crossover movement of British groups like the Police and the Clash. In more recent years, they’ve collaborated with artists as varied as the Roots, Bonnie Raitt and No Doubt. Simply put, no one presides over reggae quite like Toots.
Courtney Barnett: Aug. 15 at the Twilight Concert Series (Gallivan Center)
No one combines deadpan earnestness, sardonic wit and Nirvana-esque garage-rock like Courtney Barnett. The Australian singer-songwriter’s live show is a thrilling experience, and we’ve got our money on this Twilight Concert Series visit.
The B-52s: Aug. 16 at Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre5 comments on this story
Rock lobster! Believe it or not, the B-52s have been around for 40 years. They’ll be celebrating the anniversary at Red Butte Garden, along with New Wave mainstays Berlin and British synth-pop veterans OMD — Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.
Sting: Aug. 31 at USANA Amphitheatre
Summer is technically over on Sept. 23, but the end of August has always felt like the real finale. (Call me old fashioned, but that’s just how I was raised.) What better way to finish things off than with Sting himself.