Show Review: STRFKR at the Depot

Get to know the band STRFKR

 Now before you rack your brain for a possible acronym that these six letters could possibly stand for I will confide in you, it is pronounced exactly as you think. There are few bands that can promote a name so outlandish and strange, while being able to stay true to those same claims. This Portland based band is one of those few.  STRFKR took the stage in one of Salt Lake’s most cherished venues, The Depot presented by S & S and K-UTE Radio!

The show opened with a set by Reptaliens whose musical genre was much of the indie, electronica, and pop we know so well from STRFKR. However, it was not just the music of Reptaliens that caught the audience’s attention. Throughout their set, a woman dressed in a skin-tight body suit continued to make appearances. A new outfit dressed this mystery woman every song. Close to the end of their set, she was accompanied by what looked like extra extremities. Equipped with about 5-foot-long extensions for arms she danced rhythmically with the music. Creating a kind of hypnotic trance that added perfectly to the psychedelic ambiance and psyching out the crowd.  Unfortunately, the trance soon ended, and the audience sat quietly waiting for the main act to appear.

Here come the techies

Anticipation and longing was all that could be felt in the sea of an impatient audience. With teasers of the bands logo’s appearing then disappearing and musical technicians walking on and off the stage, the audience grew restless and dispersed around the venue. Until… someone else walked on. The audience looked at the stage with excitement. They  dismissed this new figure thinking them to be yet another techie fidgeting with yet another musical instrument. Although when the mystery figure sat in front of the keyboard, a pink, bowl-cut, wig gleamed in the light catching many eyes as well as my own. At this moment the electric keyboard came to life as this thought-to-be-“techie” drew screaming fans from every corner of the venue. Fans rushed towards the stage jumping, screaming, coming to the realization that this was  Josh Hodges. STRFKR‘s keyboardist. sometimes guitarist, and lead singer, played as his fellow band members joined him on stage.

The main act from outer space 

The band enchanted the audience with new hits from their latest release, Vault Vol. 3, such as “Amiee” and “Alaska” but also blessed us with some old favorites like “Rawnald Gregory The Second” and “While I’m Alive”. A few astronauts jumping with the music and a human sized bunny shooting streamers through the air accompanied the band onstage. Audience members where periodically picked up by friends and fellow music lovers to crowd surf on a rhythmically moving audience. This concert was one of joy, enchantment, and “good vibes” as my fellow millennials will agree. For those of you who were not able to attend this sold out show, do not fret. They will be sure to come back to our beloved Salt Lake. Once again they will fill a small venue with the “Golden Light” this Portland’s STRFKR is known for. 

Hidden Gems of SLC: Faultline Gardens

On “Hidden Gems”, we discuss some of our favorite locales you may have overlooked in the Salt Lake City area, as well as name a song that fits the place best. Today I’m looking Faultline Gardens, a cozy park with a wonderful view.

Located at 1033 East and 400 South, Faultline Gardens isn’t exactly in the most obvious location; if you’re going eastward on 400 South the road takes a bend at 1000 East and turns into 500 South. Thus, if you want to get to the park, you’ll want to approach it from the East or North. In addition, there’s no easy way to spot the park from a distance; it’s hardly a fraction of the size of Lindsey Gardens of Liberty Park, nor is there any obvious signage pointing to its location. Only when you arrive at its address will you see a sign, facing westward and nestled between some rocks and bushes.

Once you are there, get ready for a treat. They key to this park’s appeal comes in two parts. The first is the simplicity of it; there’s a table to sit at, two swings, and a slide (albeit a very small one). Your options are limited, but that can be a relief when so many parks offer more of the same. If the swings and table are occupied, you can always take a breather and lie down on the grass (depending on the weather of course).

Two Paths Diverge

Whichever option you take, you’ll be able to partake in the park’s second appeal, which is the view. Neither too uphill nor too far away from the city, Faultline Gardens offers an excellent view of the metropolitan area, as well as the Greater Avenues and immediately surrounding hills. It’s the kind of view that reminds why I love this city so much; here you can see both the bustle of city life and the majesty of (and the proximity of) the outdoors.

To have two such elements in tandem requires a unique song. Thus, when deliberating on a song I thought fit Faultline Gardens best, I chose Björk’s arrangement of “Like Someone in Love”. Written by Jimmy Van Heusen, the song was originally popularized by a rendition by Frank Sinatra. Björk’s take brings the song into a modern, urban context; you can hear the sound of passing cars as she sings aside ethereal melodies played on the harp. The result is grounded yet surreal, capturing the mood Faultline Gardens so easily conveys.

Sportsmanlike Conduct February 15th – What’s the Deal With the Winter Olympics?

On this week’s episode of Sportsmanlike Conduct, hosts Damon Ngo and Bennett Johnson keep you updated on all things Utah sports. Topics discussed include Utah men’s and women’s basketball, Red Rocks gymnastics impressive start to the season, the winter olympics, and state of the NBA after the trade deadline.

Music by Brooke Johnson

The Story of Earth: How Life and Rocks Co-evolved

This week we have Robert Hazen, senior staff scientist at the Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory & Clarence Robinson Professor of Earth Science at George Mason University. In his lecture entitled, “The Story of Earth: How Life and Rocks Co-evolved.” Dr. Hazen discusses the grand and intertwined tale of earth’s living and non-living spheres that is only now coming into focus.

Music: http://bensounds.com

Sportsmanlike Conduct February 8th – Interview with Coach Holman

For this week’s episode of Sportsmanlike Conduct, join hosts Bennett Johnson and Damon Ngo as they interview Utah Utes Lacrosse Head Coach Brian Holman! Bennett and Damon ask the coach about some of the experiences of Coach Holman, as the Lacrosse team will become the newest NCAA division I sport at the U since Women’s Soccer in 1995.

Intro Music by Brooke Johnson

Outro Music by B.L.B.P

Dancing the Night Away with Passion Pit

Every so often I need a night of dancing, pressed against 1000 sweaty bodies, screaming lyrics into the air. You can imagine my excitement when I heard Passion Pit was playing at The Depot. I was in for a such a night and a memorable one at that.

Opening band Courtship did little to entice me. As soon as they took the stage I leaned over to a friend and whispered, “I’m probably not going to like this band.” I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but it was just so tempting. Hailing from Hollywood, they were the embodiment of LA hipsters. 4 good-looking boys played unoriginal indie-pop, dressed in designer clothes made to look like they came from a thrift store.

The music was pompously poppy and portrayed the sense that everything is happy and magical. Songs seemed to lack depth and complexity. The crowd went crazy as they covered “Hey Ya” by Outkast. The guitarist, who was essentially a glorified hype man, told a story about seeing Passion Pit years ago and how it was a dream come true to open for them just one year after forming a band. Dreams aside, I couldn’t wait for them to finish their set and Passion Pit to take the stage.

When Passion Pit front man Michael Angelakos stepped into the light I knew we were in for a show. He has a tremendous amount of swag in his shirt and tie, casually undone and untucked. He is confident and relaxed with the crowd that is looking to unwind themselves. Eager anticipation sweeps over the audience as they wait for the music to begin. Passion Pit jumps into “I’ll Be Alright” and the crowd erupts. They know every word and boogie with the music.

Passion Pit is currently touring following the 2017 release of their fourth studio album Tremendous Sea of Love. Formed in 2007, the indietronica band from Cambridge, Massachusetts has known moderate success. Manners (2009) and Gossamer (2012) performed well both critically and commercially. While their most recent albums have been less well received, Passion Pit continues to make their mark in the electropop world.

The crowd helped carry the concert and made it special. Due to Angelakos’ singing style, the vocals are fairly quiet. The voices of 1000 others singing along amplify the music and fill the room. Their love and help is appreciated and expressed by Angelakos. He jokes that his voice was never that strong, but the always energetic crowds of Salt Lake do the work for him. Passion Pit played the hits for around 70 minutes, including, “Sleepyhead”, “Carried Away”, and “Lifted Up (1985)”. After a brief exit and chanting from the crowd, Passion Pit returned to the stage to play “Talk a Walk”, the cherry on top of the sundae.

Passion Pit put on a marvelous concert. Michael Angelakos was entertaining and got the crowd involved. The dance-heavy show didn’t drag on and tire out the fans. The sound quality at The Depot is always top-notch. At the end of the day there is nothing better than live music, especially when it’s as good as Passion Pit.