The music starts when movies end

By Chase Straight, Red Pulse Writer

Sundance is obviously known for its movie showcase, but with celebrities and industry people flooding Park City during the course of the festival, you know there is going to be some serious entertainment.

Not a festival to be defined by any sort of middle ground, the live music options occupy polar ends of the extreme. You can either see free shows at the ASCAP Music Café featuring a jambalaya of performing artists, or you can drop a few hundred bones for your crew to hit up the string of excessively expensive rap shows scheduled for this weekend at Harry O’s.

The cheapest of the rap shows is Young Joc and Kevin Rudolph, with tickets only going for $50. Although ticket prices like this are usually found at a concert with artists the caliber of Bob Dylan or Dave Matthews Band, this is rap-on-a-budget for Sundance.

Big Boi and Cee-Lo play Harry O’s on Friday, promising to be the most exciting and (arguably) talented of the weekend lineup. Part Outkast, part Gnarls Barkley, this concert should be a treat for rap fans who like their music more when it can’t be defined by ringtones. He’s no André 3000, but Big Boi can still hold it down better than most of his so-called peers. Cee-Lo, like Big Boi, has proven himself to be just as unique and listenable even without the group that made him famous.

The series closes off with Nas and N.E.R.D. throwing down on Saturday. Nas, considered by some to be the preeminent East Coast MC, is still coming off hot from his untitled release in 2008. N.E.R.D., the manifestation of famed producers The Neptunes features Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo. The group comes with a full live band and should rock the house.

The problem with the two aforementioned shows is that they both cost $100. Although it pales in comparison to the whopping $250 ticket price of last week’s T.I. show, it will still put a dent in your wallet. For those not wanting to spend as much or just wanting to catch some tunes during the day, stop by the ASCAP Music Café on Thursday or Friday to catch a free lineup of a mixed bag of artists.

Thursday’s lineup features Landon Pigg, Sara Watkins and Phil Vassar. Although not the most relevant or stunning collection of artists, Watkins’ mastery of the fiddle and Vassar’s hard-hitting country should be enough to boogie down to during the day.

Friday’s ASCAP Music Café lineup is more promising, with Montell Jordan, Landon Pigg, The Guggenheim Grotto and Lenka scheduled to perform. Montell Jordan is most remembered for his ’90s hit “This Is How We Do It.” Guggenheim Grotto and Lenka should make for pleasant surprises. The Guggenheim Grotto, hailing from Ireland, plays an interesting brand of folk-pop heavily influenced by the likes of Leonard Cohen and Simon & Garfunkel. Lenka used to be an Australian TV actress who decided to become a singer-songwriter. Although she has yet to take off in the United States, she penned the song “The Show,” which has been featured in a number of U.S. television commercials. Just a little sweeter than Feist but more grounded than Katy Perry, Lenka’s act is one to check out.

With only a few days left to go for Sundance, it’s worth it to hit up at least one or two of these shows even if you can’t afford to make it to Harry O’s. Once it’s over, we all go back to our bleak, miserable lives as Utahns in Salt Lake City, so this is your last chance to live it up on the national stage.

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