Concert review: Vince Staples (8/8/19)

On August 8th, Vince Staples performed in Salt Lake City, Utah as part of the weekly summer Twilight Concert Series at the Gallivan Center. The concert was the fourth of the summer following shows headlined by Hippie Sabotage, Blind Pilot, and Young The Giant. The last two shows of this year’s concert series are Courtney Barnett on August 15th and Santigold on August 30th. 

Of all of the shows announced for this summer, I had been looking forward to this one the most since it was announced earlier this year. Keep reading for my analysis of the show and what you missed out on if you didn’t attend!   

Beginning of the show

The gates of the Gallivan Center opened at 6pm and the music started around 6:30pm. Everything was running smoothly with the openers performing their sets until about 7:15pm. Right around that time is when a huge thunderstorm hit and the show had to be delayed due to lightning strikes. The delay went on for nearly an hour, making for some shocked and peeved concert-goers.

Luckily the rain started to clear up around 8:15pm and the crowd ended up getting blessed with mostly clear skies for the rest of the evening. There were still sprinkles of rain here and there, but nothing worth shutting the show down again over. Now that the skies were clear, everyone was on edge while waiting for the Long Beach native Staples to come out and perform for them.   

Staples makes his appearance in SLC

After the DJ warmed the crowd up with music for around 30 minutes, Vince Staples finally made his appearance in SLC around 8:45pm. He came out to FM! track “FUN!” and pumped energy into everyone immediately. Following the intro track, he performed a few of his Big Fish Theory songs including “Big Fish” and “745”. These ended up being some fan-favorites for the evening, gathering great reactions from those in attendance. 

As the show went on, Staples played tracks from nearly every era of his music with the inclusion of some of his most popular features. He played Summertime 06 bangers “Senorita” and “Lift Me Up”, as well as Prima Donna titular track “Prima Donna”. He then played his feature on Gorillaz track “Ascension” to the delight of many mutual fans, along with his Black Panther The Album feature on “Opps”.

Near the end of the show is when the crowd really started getting into it and having a great time. Possibly the best reaction of the night came when Vince performed one of his most popular tracks, “BagBak”. The crowd went crazy when the politically-charged bouncy banger came on. You could feel the energy and it was my personal highlight of the whole show.

As the show was ending, Staples capped it off with a bang. He performed an essential banger in “Blue Suede” and then ended the show with his magnum opus (as he referred to it) in “Norf Norf”. The crowd roared in appreciation as Staples gave them a final shoutout and walked off the stage into a cool SLC night.          

Final thoughts

It would be easy for me to say the typical “wow, that was such a great show”, but I feel that it is necessary to heap praise on Vince Staples for his performance in SLC. That show, especially for being such an affordable one, was honestly amazing. You could tell that Staples is very passionate about giving everyone in attendance a great experience. 

Overall, even if you aren’t a huge hip hop fan I would recommend seeing a Vince Staples show when you get the opportunity. He involves the crowd very well and performs all of his essential tracks. He sets the precedent for what a hip hop show should be and could be a model example for other up-and-coming hip hop acts. 

Show Review: Brasstracks, “The Vibrant Tour”

On March 7, 2019, I had the pleasure of seeing Brasstracks (@brasstracks) live at Metro Music Hall in Salt Lake City. Ivan Jackson and Conor Rayne, the primary duo, brought the artists Pell (@PELLYEAH) and Kemba (@Kembaland) along for the ride. The show was a fantasic and intimate display of instrumentals. It drew in the audience to create an experience that only a live show could.

The first thing to notice on stage was the setup. Conor and Ivan were on opposite sides of the stage, while their backup instruments were centered. Most notably, Ivan’s keys and Conors drums were facing each other, engaging the audience in their interaction. This setup allowed Brasstracks to bring you in, making you feel like a part of the performance. Ivan, on trumpet as well as keys that night, was very mobile onstage. He used his talents to make music while getting the crowd involved in hand waving and jumping.

Brasstracks’ focus on instruments lends itself well to live performance. Frequently, all instruments on stage would improvise solo performances that reminded me of jazz improvisation. With their hip-hop influence, the improv morphed into a lovely medley that gave new flavor to songs they covered, such as Drake’s “In My Feelings”, or the live-exclusive cover of Ghost Town DJs’ “My Boo”.

Of course, the original music was even more wonderful. The song “I’ll Sing About You” felt particularly emotional. Ivan shared how his inspiration came from dedicated fans and even sat down to play the opening minutes of the track. The sitting was so simple, yet made the music feel intensely personal and emotional. Ivan gave a peak into his heart with that song. “Vibrant”, with Pell on vocals, suited as the tour’s title track. Lighting on stage shifted to fit the shifts in the music perfectly. It was a treat for the eyes and ears, and I’m sad I’ll never see it quite the same way again.

Any member of the audience that night could tell you Brasstracks was having fun performing. Sure, they told you, but it was how they performed with animation and attacked every beat and note that constantly fed you the idea they were having fun. The small encouraged the connection between artist and audience. They traded energy with the audience. Brasstracks took everyone’s enjoyment and elevated it to elate and excite on new levels, making every motion of the lights, drums, keys and trumpets forever memorable.

Concert review: Childish Gambino (12/11/18)

On December 11th Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” tour finally hit Oracle Arena in Oakland, California after numerous delays. According to him this is his last headlining tour, so tickets were a  hot commodity come the day of the show. Luckily for you I was able to experience this show and I have a full recap here.

Opening act

The opening act for this show was Tupelo, Mississippi’s own Rae Sremmurd. If you’re unsure of who Rae Sremmurd is, they are a duo composed of brothers Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee. The show was scheduled to begin at 7:30pm, and the Sremmurd brothers arrived right on time. When I heard about the show originally and saw that Rae Sremmurd would be opening, I wasn’t too sure that they would be a good fit since their music differs drastically from Gambino’s.

To start their set off, the Sremm boys performed their hit single “No Type” off of their debut album Sremmlife. This was the perfect party starter because every hip hop fan should at least be familiar with the track. It got some energy pumping into the crowd immediately that was sustained during their entire set.

Other songs that they performed include “No Flex Zone”, “Black Beatles”, “Powerglide”, and “Perplexing Pegasus” among more. They performed all of these songs together and then each of them performed some of their own solo tracks. Slim Jxmmi performed “Brxnks Truck” while Swae Lee performed “Guatemala” and his feature on “Unforgettable”.   

I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong about my assumption that Rae Sremmurd wouldn’t fit a Childish Gambino show. Rae Sremmurd did a great job opening for Gambino because they kept the crowd interested with a mix of turn-up tracks and more chill ones. They are more well-suited for smaller venues so that the crowd can be involved, but they did a surprisingly great job in an arena setting.   

Gambino finally appears in Oakland

After taking a 30 minute breather from the hype that Rae Sremmurd brought, the crowd was ready to see their beloved Childish Gambino in the flesh. As the clock struck 9pm, the arena went black and the beat began to build. He was finally here, for real this time.

Gambino came out to “Algorythm”, which is a yet-to-be-released track that was only sent to those who bought tickets to the show, and the arena went absolutely nuts. No one could believe that Gambino was finally performing in Oakland again after being forced to cancel his previous couple shows that were scheduled there.

After performing “Algorythm”, he addressed the Oakland crowd of 17,000+ and then performed one of his latest singles “Summertime Magic”. He then jumped right into classic tracks “The Worst Guys” and “Worldstar” from his sophomore album Because The Internet. These tracks were amazing to see in person and the lighting and dancing that accompanied them was spectacular. It was moments like this that made fans grateful that Gambino decided to postpone some of the tour dates after he broke his foot in October.

And he vanishes…

Following the Because The Internet songs, he suddenly vanished. As fans looked around in confusion, a monitor next to the stage lit up and showed him walking through the lower level concourse and into the crowd to perform a powerful rendition of “Stand Tall”. The next stretch of the show was filled with more cuts off his 2016 album Awaken, My Love! including “Have Some Love”, “Boogieman”, “Riot”, and “Terrified”.

Next up was a fan-favorite performance of “This Is America” that had the whole place rocking and singing along. He left the stage after this track and then ended up coming out for the best encore that I’ve seen yet in all my years of going to concerts.

Encore tracks included “Sober”, “3005”, “Sweatpants”, and the track named after the city he performed in, “Telegraph Ave. (Oakland by Lloyd)”. It was the first time in years that Gambino performed “Oakland”, and it was by far the best moment of the night for me. It was simply beautiful and something that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.   

Final Thoughts

During the course of my life thus far, I’ve experienced many different concerts in a variety of cities and types of venues. Anywhere from small and intimate venues to sold-out arena shows, you name it and I’ve been to one. But this show was truly special for so many reasons.

First of all, as great as the music is when played through simple headphones or car speakers, it is so much better in an arena setting with thousands of fans screaming every word and jumping with joy. Seeing the passion on Gambino’s face as he bared his soul and shared his music with the crowd shows just what a great performer he is.

Second of all, the lighting and visuals were something to behold in their own right. Gambino utilized everything he possibly could of in order to create a beautiful experience.

Overall, this concert was fantastic. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more, and I implore you to catch Childish Gambino in concert if he somehow tours again in the future. It is worth it in the truest sense.  

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

68′ Rock n’ Roll with a Kick in the Pants

Rawr! Snarl! Crash! These are the words that come to mind when listening to the band 68’. The group is comprised of Josh Scogin on vocals and guitar, and Michael McClellan on drums.  Their sound is self-described as rock n’ roll with a kick in the pants, but it’s not exactly easy to put this bluesy rock duo in a box. They definitely peddle a heavy rock sound, and I really wouldn’t expect anything less given Scogin’s past screamo endeavors with Norma Jean, and as The Chariot’s metalcore front man.

Two Parts Viper is the group’s sophomore album, released earlier this year, and it’s intense to say the least. The entire album embodies the essence of rock n’ roll and it’s just as intense as their first album. Upon the departure of Matt Goldman on guitar, Scogin has added McClellan on drums, which has better enabled the two-man group to take their sound to the next level. Each song incorporates complex instrumental interludes alternating catchy riffs with vocals and lyrics that give you that fast-paced rock n’ roll vibe.

Tracks worth noting include “Life is Old, New Borrowed, and Blue” which metaphorically punches you in the face with the abrasive riffs battling it out against badgering one liners. The turbulent nature of the song conjures up a restlessness that makes it almost too much fun to sing along to. “Death is A Lottery” is another song on Two Parts Viper that successfully hammers out an intense melody and artistic instrumental construction which compliments the lyrical composition to produce an intense display of chaotic harmony. Memorable lines such as “Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong, death is quick, but it can last so long” are passionately poured out in an abrasive ballad.

The track “Apologies” is another favorite on the album, and it’s one that showcases the artistry of both members. This song creatively paints a rock n’ roll picture with steady drum lines and Scogin’s bluesy angle of delivering crashing lyrics only to be broken up by an interlude of spoken word which embodies the poetry in such a way that’s sure to appeal to most rock n’ roll rebel personas.

Every song on the album hits like a hurricane, and, the band is even better live. I had been sleeping on the new album for the last six months until finally discovering the awesomeness that is Two Parts Viper. However, once I became keen to its rock n’ roll mastery, I’ve been listening on repeat enough to redeem myself from my negligent misstep. And recently I was rewarded for my intense fandom as I realized that the band would be opening up for The Bronx playing here in Salt Lake City, which I had already scored tickets to.  

The performance was incredible and it was not merely two musicians giving you their best songs to promote their latest album, it walked the line of performance art. Scogin and McClellen performed in a symbiotic trance that had the energy of a killer punk show and the depth of a complex piece of art. They masterfully abused their instruments, while performing in sync to produce the most chaotic display of musical art I’ve ever seen. The performance was so intense and awe-inspiring, I hardly enjoyed the main act that played after them, and as I left the show, I knew that I had just witnessed something special, something rare, an unbelievable display of talent. And with that, I can honestly say, Two Parts Viper rocks, but if you get the chance, don’t miss them live.

Hoodie Allen Hypes Up The 801 Crowd Sunday Night At The Complex

Straight ‘outta Long Island, New York, Steven Markowitz, aka. Hoodie Allen made a stop here in Salt Lake City to hype up the Utah fans on his “Hype” Tour.

The night involved lots of creative raps from friends, such as Myles Parrish and Luke Christopher, who are on the Hype Tour with Hoodie. Altogether, it turned out to be a lively night for the young fans in attendance.

The first act of the night was 25 years old, Myles Parrish, from California. Myles used to be active in the duo, Kalin & Myles, most known for their tracks “Love Robbery” and “Trampoline”. When he first came on stage, I couldn’t recognize him and I thought that he was just the average teenage boy wanting to pursue a rap career, but was succeeding at it. However, when he started to perform “Trampoline” on stage, I immediately remembered that he was Myles from the duo. I had a blast rocking out to the young rapper himself – look out for him because he is definitely going places!

Following Myles was another California native, Luke Christopher. Personally, I’m not that familiar with the California rapper himself, but I really enjoyed listening to his raps. Some tracks that I enjoyed hearing was his cover of “You & Me (Flume Remix) and his flip on Odessa’s “Say My Name”, but my absolute favorite from him was his most known song “Bedroom Trip”. I love the trippy vibe the song gives and it definitely lit up the crowd for what was about to come next!

When Hoodie Allen hopped on stage, there were some different aspects of his set that I noticed. First off, he brought on a live band to accompany him, which I would’ve never expected from most rappers. Second, I usually expect lots of artists to start off their set with their most popular hit song, and for example, in this case, it would be “All About It”, featuring Ed Sheeran.

However, he started off his set with “Believe”, one of his songs from his new album Hype. I really enjoyed the live band performance that Hoodie gave – it was definitely a new perspective that was born. Since his tour is The Hype tour, focusing on his new album Hype, most of the songs that he performed were hits such as “Fakin”, “Know It All”, but he also threw it back and performed the hit “Act My Age” that was from one of his past albums People Keep Talking. Out of all the songs he performed on Sunday, my favorite song that he sang live was “No Interruption”, from his first album All American. Towards the end, he hopped into the crowd and crowd-surfed while flying around on a floatie, and I thought that was very enjoyable to witness and participate in!


Overall, Hoodie Allen is an enjoyable artist live – he really participates with the audience and makes his performances a ball of a time – and he’s also a cutie! If you’re looking for an amusing, chill artist to listen to with nothing extreme when it comes to live shows, Hoodie Allen is the perfect rapper for you!

Phish Dick’s 2017: Nights Two and Three

In what has become a solid yearly tradition, Phish brought three nights of high-energy improvisatory rock and roll to a sold-out Dick’s Sporting Goods Arena (soccer stadium) in Commerce City, Colorado this past Labor Day weekend. I was lucky enough to be in attendance for the Saturday (Night Two) and Sunday (Night Three) shows. Without any shows scheduled for the rest of the year, Phish closed off a historic summer, riding high on the wave of a solid thirteen-night residency at Madison Square Garden in New York City (Baker’s Dozen Run).

One of the most fun aspects of any Phish show is the fact that the musical performance is only one part (albeit a very large one) of the full “experience”.  Upon arriving at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (lovingly referred to as “Phish Dick’s”), phans are met with a very large and accessible Shakedown Street, the open air market that began at the time of the Grateful Dead. Colorful vendors sell food, drinks, artwork, glass, t-shirts, and other less-than-legal items to pre-show partiers in what may be one of the most fun examples of unregulated capitalism.  I was impressed by the size of Dick’s Shakedown, and a walk through is a key part of the Phish show ritual.

Upon entering Dick’s itself, I was surprised by the size of the venue.  Dick’s is certainly no Meadowlands Stadium, but it is definitely larger than a venue such as Madison Square Garden, for example.  With a sold-out crowd, the venue became a cozy sea of bodies very quickly but never felt too uncomfortably tight.  A quick overview of the stage showed that the amazing Madison Square Garden Baker’s Dozen lighting rig was once again being used, with lighting director Chris Kuroda at the helm. (An aside: It is quite unusual for fans of a group to know the name of the lighting director, however, Kuroda’s lighting rig is such an integral part of the live Phish experience that fans have taken to calling him CK5, with ‘5′ designating him as the group’s fifth member.)

On Saturday night, the band came on slightly after 8 pm, launching into the classic “Simple”.  As an opener, “Simple” received a solid jam treatment, stretching out to fourteen minutes before giving way to a dance-party “Martian Monster”. Other Set One highlights included a very tight “Reba”, a rousing “Sand”, and a jammed-out “Wolfman’s Brother” towards the end of the set.  With the amount of jamming and exploration that occurred in Set One, there was a palpable “How can they possibly follow that up?” feeling throughout the crowd.

Overall, Set Two was a pure Saturday-night rock and roll dance party.  While jaded Phish veterans may have been slightly underwhelmed by the lack of deep exploratory jamming, the solid third quarter Fuego, Steam, and Chalkdust Torture section provided the band with a chance to go into full singalong rock-star mode. A fourth quarter “Mike’s Groove” included a beautiful “Winterqueen>What’s the Use?” segue within, before giving way to a blissful “Slave to the Traffic Light” to end the set.  Encores included a fun “The Lizards” and a chaotic “Run Like an Antelope.”

As phans filled the stadium for Sunday night, many gave predictions for what the night would hold. Popular predictions were for a huge “Tweezer” or “Down With Disease” to open Set Two, but what Set One would hold was anyone’s guess.  Set One opened with a novelty “Buffalo Bill” before giving way to a funky-but-brief “Moma Dance”. For me, the real highlight was the second quarter, beginning with “The Wedge”.  “The Wedge” was jammed on nicely, but gave way to an extremely exploratory and somewhat dark “46 Days”.  After settling back down on Earth, guitarist Trey Anastasio led the way into a full-speed-ahead “Bathtub Gin”.  This jam reached an intense peak, where, in a very cliche moment, I completely forgot what song I was listening to before being reminded by the re-appearance of the recognizable “Gin” theme.

Photo by Taylor Hill

Those who put their money and reputation on a huge Set Two opening “Down With Disease” were certainly paid in full. The jam out of this DWD was full Type I guitar-hero, with Trey soloing straight to an early peak before giving way to a dark and ambient section.  Out of this ambiance arose a slow building and intensely evil group jam, which became so full of psychedelic energy that it could best be described as an alien spaceship launch meets a Chernobyl-level reactor failure.  Segueing out of “Disease”, the first notes of “Light” were accompanied by thousands of glow sticks being thrown from the upper seating levels, giving the sense of a glow stick rainstorm, quickly leading the way into a more blissful jam, followed by the inspirational stadium-rock of “Rise”. Other personal Set Two highlights were a fun and adventurous “Piper” and a very tense but exhilarating “Possum”.

I was very pleased with the first encore, “Waste”, as it is one of the few Phish songs whose lyrics are somewhat meaningful to me, and despite being very similar each time, is very uplifting.  The final song of Dick’s 2017 was “First Tube”, giving phans one last chance to dance all of their energy out, and leaving them with the image of guitarist Trey Anastasio, bathed in white light, with guitar held high overhead.

I cannot close out this review without including this personal story though, which I feel is truly representative of what Phish is about.  On Sunday night, I was only able to attend the show alone.  While sitting down to relax before the show, I started chatting with the guy next to me about the run of shows.  He soon introduced me to his crew, a diverse group of experienced phans, many who had met each other through Phish concerts alone, and soon I was part of a larger group, even if only for the show.  During set break though, I went to check my phone, only to be met with a black screen.  Dead phone.  This was definitely a problem for me, as the venue was about 11 miles away from where I was staying in Denver, I was alone, and had been planning to use Uber or Lyft to return after the show.

I mentioned this to Nate, one of the guys in the group that I had been happily pulled into.  He told me not to worry about it at all and to just enjoy the show because his crew would get me home. After the show ended, Nate and his crew told me to come with them, and they grabbed me an Uber back to their place in Denver, where I was able to charge my phone and meet a few more of their friends before making my way back to where I was staying.  I am so thankful to Nate, Matt, Trey, Casey, and all of the other guys and girls in their crew whose names escape me for helping me out despite just meeting me, and I will pass on that good energy for sure.  These are the kind of people that Phish attracts, and I am so glad to be a part of that scene. I encourage anyone who can to attend a Phish show and form their own opinion of “Phans” and the music that unites them.

 

Check out the full Sunday night performance here!

 

Featured image by John Leyba, The Denver Post

Crucial Quest: Day 1

The K-UTE writing staff ventures to this year’s 7th annual Crucial Fest in a quest to discover new artists and experience a festival like no other in downtown SLC.

Sarah

After waiting months in anticipation, the first days of Crucialfest 7 were finally upon me, and I had no idea what to expect. First of all, I had never been to any of the previous Crucialfest shows, nor had I been to any “festival” style concert before. However, after seeing the setlist for Crucialfest 7, I couldn’t wait to go.

Upon entering, the band SALES was already performing. Their music was simple and minimalistic with soft guitar rhythms and drums. They also took a minimal approach to their live show; wearing casual outfits and rarely moving around the stage. While I’m typically a fan of theatrical and over-the-top concerts, I enjoyed how SALES let the music speak for itself. The band’s lead, Lauren Morgan, had a uniquely high pitched and nasal-y voice that contrasted beautifully with the toned-down instrumental. While I was a DJ a K-UTE, I became a fan of their two songs “Chinese New Year” and “Renee.” If you’re a fan of dreamy indie-pop, they’re definitely worth a listen.

After their set, I thumbed through some records at the Greywhale Entertainment booth and made my way into a large gallery (presumably an emptied out shopping area). There, the local band The Boys Ranch was playing a set. I had seen them at previous shows, but never with their full band before. They played upbeat surf rock tunes and bounced around the stage in matching striped shirts. The Boys Ranch had charisma and confidence. The audience loved their energy, and so did I.

As I exited back into the main stage area, the band Baroness was playing. I had never heard their music before, but watching them perform was quite the show. The band’s lead, John Baizley, had a booming and full voice that soared over the heavy/progressive rock instrumental. The music was high-intensity and electric. I also noticed my eyes being continually drawn to one of the guitarists who played with such an intense emotion and passion. I definitely have an appreciation for bands who play with all of their heart; it’s a hard thing to do, but it makes the music all the more special and personal.

Finally, after Baroness’s set, the audience swarmed back over the main stage. The energy hummed in anticipation as an introduction track played for STRFKR’s entrance. Even though I had listened to STRFKR multiple times before, I had no idea what to expect from them in terms of a live show. Whatever I had in mind, however, was completely wrong.

Fog that was pooled at the surface of the stage was immediately dispersed by the entrance of a crowd of men wearing full astronaut suits. I immediately knew that I was in for a show. The lead singer, Joshua Hodges, entered in a bobbed pink wig, sunglasses, and a dress. When I said that I was a fan of theatrical concerts, this was what I meant. STRFKR’s music is heavily electronic, which paired perfectly with the intense visuals. At one point, one of the “astronauts” flung himself into the sea of hands and started crowd-surfing; the audience was going wild.

I had no idea what to expect when I signed up to go to Crucialfest, but one thing’s for sure, I’ll definitely be going again next year.

 

Martyn

Two o’clock in the afternoon and rushing through downtown Salt Lake City on my way to the 7th annual Crucialfest was an apt way to arrive early in the day. For those who have never seen the mostly dilapidated Gateway Mall on Rio Grande street, the empty storefronts contrast against the finely manicured grass and comfortable sitting area. But for Crucialfest, the circularly fashioned mall was alive with two massive stages facing each other from either side, vendors, records for sale, a wonderful circus of noise and sights. We walked down the stairs with an aerial view of the festivities while King Dude played from afar.

First up on the local stage was the (always-wanting-to-see-them) band, Indigo Plateau. A personal favorite of the Salt Lake scene, they opened the Exigent Stage (and the local side of Crucialfest). Playing original songs off of their solid EP The Heights along with some new ones, their passion and immaculate playing ability sounded rad through the converted Forever21 qua concert venue (which, aesthetically, was quite pleasing although the acoustics were less than tight).

After a windfall of music, eating, and constantly trying to find a place to sit, was the band Sales. Hailing from Florida, they have been to Salt Lake a few times. Their dreamy vocals and guitar playing played to a calmer atmosphere than the previous metal bands. The beauty of Crucialfest being a bevy of musical variety allowed one to move from the outside heat and main stage bands to the local stage inside.

After a half hour of Sales, I made my way to The Boys Ranch gearing up for their unique brand of surf-rock. Again, these local heroes proved the significance of Cruicalfest as a way for people who may not experience the immaculate surf-rock to see something new. The Boys Ranch got the crowd into a frenzy of dancing and good beach vibes (being that this is a landlocked state, the irony is not lost). Surf rhythms and guitar riffs straight from the oceanside came through the venue. This is the type of band that feeds energy into a crowd and should always be a priority show when available.

Minutes after the local stage set ended, Baroness began playing outdoors on one of the main stages. A metal band incorporating some nu-metal influences. they hammered out their set list in a fury under the setting sun. The mix and mingle of the crowd between those now arriving for STRFKR and those here for Baroness were a gorgeous sight to behold. As the headliner from the metal influence of Crucialfests past. Baroness was well enjoyed and sounded great outside.

Some more minutes after Baroness had finished, the main stage was again lit in a flurry of anticipation as the crowd shifted eyes towards the approaching STRFKR. Opening with a quiet monologue piece set to electronic rhythms, the band came out in matching NASA astronaut suits, the band and dancers all synchronizing to lead singer Josh Hodge’s beautiful dress and pink wig.

The band was essentially throwing passion into the audience even as an astronaut went crowd surfing on top of a large, inflatable white duck. STRFKR’s electronic sensibilities were heightened by the live performance where each song could cascade into lengthier versions of themselves. “German Love”, “In the End”, and “Open Your Eyes” each sounded like a new song. With the light show streaming from the background and the heavy draw of synths, guitars, and drums, STRFKR played an amazing outdoor set to end the night on. Better still, there was an entire day to go.

 

 

A TWILIGHT ZONE: Joshy Soul / The Roots

A Twilight Zone, the chronicling of Salt Lake City denizens looking for music, adventure, & life at the Twilight Concert Series

Nick

The final show in the 30th Annual Twilight Concert Series. With news that there is no funding in the city art councils budget for Twilight next year, this may very well be the last Twilight Concert ever. Take my breath away and find it in the palm of your hand. DJ Scratchmo was the first act of the night. He played “Footsteps in the Dark” by The Isley Brothers, and then he played “It Was a Good Day” by Ice Cube, which samples “Footsteps in the Dark.”

I like it when DJs play songs that I recognize and vibe to. It serves two purposes: it makes me feel like I have good taste in music because the DJ’splaying songs I listen to. It also functions as a catalyst for making me like that particular DJ even more.

The next set was by Joshy Soul & the Cool. At this point, there was news that Charles Bradley had canceled. Despite the bad news, however, Joshy Soul put on quite the groovy set. Their original takes on popular songs made this Jazzy cover band very entertaining to listen to. I would either hear a melody or lyrics to
a song I recognized and that would catch my attention.The fact that they opened with a swing band cover of “Flashing Lights by Kanye West. By the end of their set, they had proved themselves to be one of if not the best local band featured at Twilight this year. Though they were not playing original songs, their original takes and overall connection and synchronization as a band made them very successful when it came to entertaining the crowd.

The Roots played next, one by one the band showcased all it was capable of. A breathtaking bass solo by Mark Kelley. Jeremy Ellis played a beat box solo that knocked my socks off. My socks were completely off for the remainder of the show. Black Thought spat some killer bars and Tuba Goulding Jr. did the tuba justice. Questlove, behind the drums, was wearing a dope shirt with a Pac-Man ghost and  doughnuts on it.

 

After they did a cover of “Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns & Roses, the guitarist Captain Kirk Douglas turned out a solo that really made the crowd go wild.  This band is the epitome of soul. They really got the crowd moving, one man did two back flips. Looking back, I looked back at myself, while I was doing this I caught a glimpse of my left eye out of the corner of my right one. I saw what looked like me, looking sideways at myself. I was there looking at me and we decided to look away and gaze over at yours truly, I am still stuck like this now. The Roots took us back to before we were born. The Roots really brought us down to earth, and then into it. The show they put on was a truly wonderful experience.

 

Martyn

Finality is a strange event. An ending. Absolution. Maybe we’ve all learned something by the end of the perhaps final Twilight Concert Series and what would that have been? That the sun hates music and has some really nasty intentions when harping on concert goers? Questions will be deferred for another time while I reflect on how this, the final show brought to a culmination a seven week’s journey. From Little Dragon to The Roots, the experience has been solitary, inclusive, stressful, wonderful, and awakening all in seven weeks’ time.

The beginning of the night started per usual, albeit much less crowded and anxious for the opening band to begin. DJ Scratchmo held the crowd over a solid block of time, remixing classic hip-hop tracks and making the atmosphere come alive. The amount of people differed from previous shows, but perhaps that was only because one of the acts was not able to make it, leaving open a space to be filled.

Filled it was with the inclusion of Joshy Soul & the Cool. Local heroes of the funk scene in Salt Lake City, the band absolutely deserved the spotlight of opening for the main act. I’ve seen a few of the members playing in different projects throughout the city and the way the excellence of each musician added to the whole, with the main objective of fun. The crowd went wild for the fast songs and listened with intent to the slower ones. Joshy Soul himself is an immaculate performer, dedicated to giving the crowd an all-encompassing good time. After some fine solos from the saxophone player, the guitarist, and the drummer, Josh Soul & the Cool ended their set with nothing but good vibes.

I found myself holding a few too many bags of free chips (they were free) when The Roots were announced by the roar of the crowd. Pioneer Park was once again packed. Filled to the fences of fans and fun. With almost all space being accounted for, The Roots started playing, introducing themselves, going full on F U N K to the max. Someone led me through the throng of persons to the front of the stage, closer than I’d been at the others. With so much arbitrary shoving, I was forced to fling the chips into the crowd along with beachballs and hats and other items lacking enough importance to keep held. The Roots played magnificently as expected. Highlights include a solo by sampler Stro Elliot moving his fingers with rapid and deft precision across his board. There was never a lack of intense joy throughout the entire set.

And like that Twilight was over. It was a fine night. I became lost once again in a place familiar and strange. Some gossip suggests this would be the last Twilight Concert Series. I suppose its a possibility. But uncertainty can also be a very beautiful thing. Farewell and good night.