Considering the distain with which most outsiders view the underground punk scene, it’s perhaps appropriate that Utah’s preeminent punk publication is named after a slimy creature that lives in the dirt and haunts your mother’s nightmares, or at least her tomato plants. Salt Lake Underground Magazine, commonly known as SLUG, is now of legal drinking age after 21 years covering the city’s alternative music scene. In addition to reprinting vintage content from past publications, SLUG celebrated the occasion the way that any proper 21-year old should – with a decadent party at the hipper-than-thou Urban Lounge.
Urban Lounge is known amongst locals for its hipster vibe that would allow it to fit in the big underground scenes on the coasts. SLUG, spawned 21 years ago from a backroom of the old Private Eye’s offices, is dedicated to giving local bands and artists of all kind a promotional outlet that isn’t otherwise available in the city’s mainstream culture. Needless to say, Urban Lounge fit the coming of age to a tee. As with all good self-promoting events, attendees were offered the opportunity to enter a charity raffle upon entrance. After getting through the door, most put the do-gooder behind them and quickly sauntered over to the bar for some grown-up refreshments. As a strong turnout filled the Lounge and the partygoers ended up elbow-to-elbow, some were forced to resort to their favored mosh pit tactics to work their way over to the booze.
In a slight contrast to the punk aesthetic of the magazine, the dimly lit venue also held some surprisingly similarities to the most awkward of high school occasions, the senior prom. Shimmering, octopus-like tinsel hung from the stage and bubbles cascaded from the ceiling onto the delighted revelers. The dance floor gradually filled as the quintet, Mammoth, filed on stage, followed by the dynamic electronic scenesters, Muscle Hawk. Finally, the W Lounge’s own DJ Flash and Flare turned the party out with a throbbing set. Guests were also treated to an appearance by SLUG writer and Salt Lake City’s own celebrity drag queen, Princess Kennedy, who spoke on stage and handed out stickers and other party favors to enthused fans.
For those who couldn’t make it to Urban Lounge, the thriving club has live music in genres both SLUG-approved and otherwise nearly every night of the week. Though it was skipped over for the massive birthday celebration, on the second Friday of each month, SLUG hosts the music event known as “Localized.” This month’s event features Breaux, God’s Revolver, and Maraloca. Other upcoming shows feature Tumbledown, The Strange Boys, Leslie and the LYs and Sweatshop Union. Tickets can be purchased at the door or advance online at 24tix.com. Of course, SLUG continues to be available free around Salt Lake City and across the region, including every university in Utah with the exception of BYU. For more information, go to slugmag.com.