Is there anything better in live music than being blown away by a performance? I would venture to say, No. We all attend concerts because we’re going to see a band or musical artist that we like. But even when we’re expecting a good show, and to love the songs, there are those amazing times where things just go way beyond our expectations. That was my experience on Monday night with Jessie J. I’ve always loved her voice, and the few times I’ve seen her interviewed I’ve enjoyed her personality, but I never thought her concert would be this entertaining. On every level, I was entertained! I laughed, I was moved, I was excited, and overall I was impressed with the show.
Kiana Ledé was one of the support acts for Jessie J at The Depot on Monday night. In fact, she was first on the bill. When I heard this I was a little nervous for her because one, it’s never easy opening a show, and two, I was concerned that no one would be there yet. I then learned that her set would only be 15 minutes. I thought to myself ‘How can anyone make impact a show or make an impression in only 15 minutes?’ Well, as it turned out, I had nothing to worry about.
There was a small hiccup in getting me my press and photo passes. Because of this I was delayed and wasn’t in the performance area of The Depot when Kiana started her show. So I had no idea how many people were there. But I could hear them. If you’ve been to The Depot then you know that actual concert hall is up two flights of stairs. I was on the ground level, and I could hear the crowd. Fortunately, there was a monitor, so I could see Ms. Ledé on stage. She appeared from out of the dark in blue jeans, and what appeared to be a sheer robe. Her hair was long curly, and those locks were flowing!
Arizona-born, multi-cultural singer, songwriter, producer, and actress Kiana Ledéreleased her much-anticipated, soulful debut EP, Selfless, this past summer. You may have seen her on MTV’s Scream or All About the Washingtons on Netflix. Now you can see her supporting Jessie J. tonight (October 8) at The Depot in downtown Salt Lake City. I had the enjoyable opportunity to chat with Kiana leading up to the show. Here’s our conversation. Enjoy!
Utah Concert Review: How’s the tour going so far?
Kiana Lidé: Oh it’s amazing! It’s so much fun! Everyone on the tour has been amazing. And we’re traveling every day. Getting to see the world. It’s great!
I was introduced to Gregory Alan Isakov by my friend Justin. He used to talk to me about Gregory in a matter of way as if to assume that I knew who he was. He mentioned him in this way so often I started to think ‘This Isakov guy must be pretty good if Justin is just figuring that I know who this is.’. So I checked him out and I felt foolish for having not been familiar with him sooner.
I was really excited to be seeing Gregory for the first time at the beautiful Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake City. I absolutely love the Eccles Theater. Having just celebrated its second anniversary in operation, the Eccles Theater has brought some great acts, both theatrical and in concert to our capital city. The sound is incredible in there. It’s perfect. There is something about a seated venue built for theatrical and orchestral performance that helps make the sounds of the strings come to life while the band is playing. There isn’t a bad seat in the venue, and I’ve been everywhere from the tippy top row to the front of the house, to the box seats on the side. I have yet to see a poor performance there.
When Sebastian Bach stepped out on to The Commonwealth Room stage, all of a sudden everyone in attendance time-warped back to the late 1980’s. I was standing at the front of the house waiting for the show to start, and I was talking to a man who had loved Sebastian Bach and his former band Skid Row since their inception. This was going to be his first time seeing him perform and he couldn’t have been more excited. If I was to guess, the man was in his late 50’s. Once the show started, I looked back at him and he looked as if he was in his twenties again. Of course, it was the way his eyes were looking at the stage, but it was crazy how youthful he all of a sudden looked.
Back in January when it was announced that Journey and Def Leppard would be playing together at Vivint Smart Home arena in September, I knew the wait would be long, that the anticipation would be high, but the show, when it finally got here, would meet all expectations. And did it ever. With two mega power hit machines like this, it was almost impossible not to know a song, or enjoy all three hours of music. It was an incredible night of music. I have seen both bands before, but never together. Seeing these two bands on the same lineup is an experience unto itself.
If you’ve ever seen Luke Bryan in concert you know a few things: 1. Women (and some men) will never tire of Luke shaking his booty, 2. There is no better place to people watch in the state of Utah (and I’ll explain why) and 3. It doesn’t matter if you know one Luke Bryan song or all of them, you know that Luke likes to sing about. Loving people, and drinking.
Luke Bryan draws from a number of areas to bring an outstanding performance for his fans. He may not be the strongest singer in country music, but people love his songs and performance so much that it just doesn’t matter. He may not be the next Glen Campbell when it comes to playing guitar. But who is? But he plays well enough to do an entire acoustic set in his shows, and no one is complaining. He may not be the world’s greatest dancer or booty shaker.. oh wait, he might be. His fans love the booty shake! I may not be the one to make that call. He really might be the best booty shaker. To his fans, he clearly is. Anyway, my point is, his combination of talents and his fan-friendly songs are why he once again played to a packed USANA Amphitheater.
As I mentioned, the people watching is amazing at a Luke Bryan concert. It has already been well reported that Luke’s booty and hip shaking are a major reason why his fans are there to see him. Because of this, the fan reaction to this is something to behold. The way these fans react to Luke’s moves is
For those who’ve seen a concert at Velour Live Music Gallery, you know that your experience there will generally consist of young, college-aged up and coming bands. On the rare occasion you’ll see a band that has their origin in Provo and at Velour return from the road to do a homecoming show. And on the rarest of occasions, you’ll see someone in their 70’s stopping through town to play this venue. Well, last night was that very rare occasion. Jim Avett, the 71 year old father of his famous sons, The Avett Brothers, played what looked like a sold out seated show on Wednesday night.
Jim Avett is performing at the Velour Music Gallery in Provo, Utah on Wednesday, September 19. Jim’s last name might ring a bell. He’s the father of Seth and Scott Avett, better known as The Avett Brothers. I had reached out to Jim’s management to request an interview and I received an email and phone call from Jim himself the following morning. That isn’t common with artists, but as I soon learned, Jim operates on a very personal level. We played a bit of phone tag, and I we finally connected on Mr. Avett’s return call. I answered with “Hello, this is Kevin.”. He responded, “Well get over yourself”. His southern wit and North Carolina accent were thick and I immediately knew this was going to be a really enjoyable conversation. And it sure was. Jim told me that he’s been told he’s the easiest person to interview ever because he does all the talking. And he’s right. But I had no desire to interrupt anything he was saying. He answered my questions eventually, but in the process shared wonderful stories of life, music, and love. You’ll see that this interview starts with him talking. I pretty much thanked him for taking the time, and he was off and running. I loved every minute of it! Hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Jim Avett!
I was invited ten months ago to cover Jade Bird’s opening set for Son Little at The State Room. The last thing I wrote in that article was “I fully expect her to be headlining show in Salt Lake City in the future.”. Well, folks, the future is now. Jade played her first headlining show in Salt Lake City in only her second ever stop in our city.
Playing Kilby Court is like a right of passage for musicians. It’s small, it’s a little worse for the wear, and yet, how happy are we when bands come play a large venue and they say something to the effect of “I remember playing down the street at Kilby Court!”? And the joy of having seen them there first! Well, Jade is an artist on the rise and one day she’ll be saying those words.