“I saw you getting wet and I just jumped down into the mud,” recalled late soul emoter Charles Bradley of his tearful thunderstorm performance at UtopiaFest 2012. The festival – this year Nov. 14-16 – remembers one of its biggest headliners with a tribute led by CJ Edwards & the Funk Fellowship and featuring singers LouLou Ghelichkhani, Bavu Blakes, Alesia Lani, Carrie Fussell, and more.
Rooted in punk, D.C.’s Priests rattle sharp wit and pop panache on April’s sophomore LP The Seduction of Kansas. Echoing the existential weight of 2017 debut Nothing Feels Natural, the follow-up smears guttural repudiations on American militarization and Hollywood objectification. NYC’s Sons of an Illustrious Father grapple queerness via distorted bloodletting and mournful haunt.
Classic rock gets a contemporary power makeover this weekend. Phoenix quartet Spirit Adrift leavens epic doom with the twin guitars of bandleader Nate Garrett (Gatecreeper) and Jeff Owens on third LP Divided by Darkness.
On Beerland’s final weekend, May 24-26, Fort Worth duo Pinkish Black headlined Friday’s bill with the cataclysmic synth sundering of fourth LP Concept Unification. Writes in drummer Jon Teague: “I was totally disgusted to hear [employees] had not been paid by the owners. We are particularly grateful that [they] kept the bar open.” See our Daily Music blog for more.