Jim Avett September 19, 2018 Velour Provo Utah

 

By: Kevin Rolfe

Photo By: Kevin Rolfe

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.

Before Jim took the stage local band Grizzly Goat opened the show.  Lead vocalist Nate Waggoner mentioned that when they had heard that Jim Avett was coming to town, they reached out to his management to attempt to be the support act for Jim.  He told us that not long after he received a phone call coming from North Carolina. Much to his surprise, it was Jim Avett on the other line. I know how this feels because that was exactly what happened to me when I reached out for an interview.  It’s not every day, or really ever that the artist themselves will be the ones directly responding. But that’s Jim.

Photo By: Kevin Rolfe

The three men of Grizzly Goat switched between guitar, banjo, and mandolin during their set.  I thought their songs were sincere, and their performance matched that. They seemed delighted to have some of their own fans in attendance, and they most certainly gained new fans from this performance.  For more information on Grizzly Goat, click here.

If I had to choose one word to describe Jim Avett it would be authentic.  Jim is simply Jim. He makes no apologies for the man he is, fully recognizing his flaws, his strengths, and his passion.  He told us that he would most likely offend us at some point during the night. He didn’t intend to, but he probably would.  He took the stage, and sat in a chair, pulled up his 30 year old guitar and spoke for a while. This show was almost half music, and half spoken word.  The spoken word was poetic, philosophical, and hopeful.  The music was classic, thought provoking, and at times spiritual.  I’ve never heard Velour so quiet.  The audience hung on every word Jim spoke or sang.  He had the respect of everyone there.  

Jim has a humility that borders on self-deprecating.  He mentioned several times that he wasn’t the greatest songwriter, or the greatest guitarist, or the greatest singer.  But the thing is, his self-penned songs, were pretty darn good. And his fingerpicking was exceptional. And he doesn’t give his vocal talent enough credit.  In fact, he sang with this low baritone, southern drawled voice for most of the show. And then all of a sudden, in one of his final songs, “Seeing You” I believe it was called, he takes his voice into his upper register and it’s beautiful.  As much as I enjoyed his baritone, and as much as it fit the stylings of the songs, I would have loved to have heard this higher register more. I was talking to a guy after the show and we were both discussing how much we loved it.

Photo By: Kevin Rolfe

Jim philosophized, joked, and inspired for much of the show.  There were so many great stories that I can’t list them all in this article.  But I will mention one. In my interview with Jim a couple of days ago he told me that he was going to tell the young people in attendance at Velour what it’s like to be 71.  I left it out of the interview because I didn’t want to spoil it for those going to the show. But because Jim did, in fact, share it at his concert, I’ll share it here. This is what he said.  

Photo By: Kevin Rolfe

“In the mid-seventies, we lived in Cheyenne.  And I’ve always had old guy friends. They have such great stories to tell.  They were mentors for me. One of them was from Ohio. He was about 85 in the seventies.  So he was born about 1890. He told me that Veterans Day was a big deal in Ohio. They had parades, and parties, and fireworks, and all that stuff.  And this one man was part of an organization sort of like the Boy Scouts. It was their duty to escort a veteran around on Veterans Day. So when he was 10 in 1900, he escorted a Civil War veteran.  Now I can’t remember whether he said that he had shook hands with, heard a speech by, or merely saw Abraham Lincoln. I didn’t know Abraham Lincoln. But I knew a man, who knew a man who by God, knew the Man.  And if Abraham Lincoln had lived, it would be a whole lot different today than it is. They should have killed that sonofabitch Booth a long time before they ever got a hold of him. But that’s what it’s like to be 71.  So now you know a man, who knew a man, who knew a man, who knew The Man.”

The entire audience erupted in laughter and applause.  Jim shared stories like these the whole evening. He told jokes like “The two most honest people in the world are little children before they know what not to say, and old people because they just don’t give a damn anymore.  The two most honest things in the world are alcohol and yoga pants.” That’s pretty funny stuff right there.

Photo By: Kevin Rolfe

The musical highlights for me began right away.  Jim opened his set with “This Old Guitar” by John Denver.  It’s a personal favorite, and it opened up the show nicely.  Jim made a point of covering songs that weren’t necessarily hits.  He told us that if he didn’t perform them, no one would ever hear them.  He sang songs from Roger Miller, and The Everly Brothers much to the delight of the totally captivated audience.  

He mentioned his sons a few times, and I could tell that the audience always perked up at the mention of their names.  He seemed like a proud father, and he should be. Jim joked that his mother was a concert pianist and that her musical talent went right through him and to his sons.  Again with the self-deprecation. If anything, I would say his songs were given their sincerity in music, and passion for life and what they do from their father, Jim.

Photo By: Kevin Rolfe

It was a great night of music and storytelling at Velour.  Jim is a masterful performer. There is a beauty in his authenticity and a power in his simplicity.  He told us that he was going to come back to perform for us again soon. I hope he meant it because I’m very much looking forward to it.  

UCR Interview- Jim Avett (Father of the Avett Brothers)

By: Kevin Rolfe

Photo By: Joel Plotkin

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!

Jim Avett:  So this is our first time playing Utah and we’re really looking forward to that.  We used to live in Wyoming and there are people from the east who come to Wyoming and they say “God that’s the most desolate place I’ve ever seen.”.  Well, there are probably people that say that about Canyonville. But there’s something pretty about everywhere.  Sometimes you’ve got to look for it. We’re in Cheyenne right now and I’m looking out across the prairie.  The winter time it can get pretty bitter. But in the springtime, if you’ll take time to get down to look you can see every color in the world because there’s a bunch of little bitty teeny tiny wildflowers. But you’ve got to take the time to look.  Sometimes you’ve got to look for the beauty in things. I don’t care if it’s relationships, or places, or colors or whatever. I think harmony has a lot to do with how happy a person is. Not only harmony in music, but harmony in relationships, and shapes and putting your life together.  But anyway, what the hell do I know? Alright, what are your questions?

Utah Concert Review:  So, I’m curious…

JA: So how old am I?  I’m 71 years old. Go ahead.  

UCR:  Well you don’t sound a day over seventy.  

JA: (Laughing) Yea, I’d say.  I had eye surgery. I had this skin over my eyes cut off.  I asked the doctor Will it make me look younger?”. She said “Oh yeah.  You’ll look at least 69 or so.

UCR:  So, I’m curious, you’ve been playing music pretty much all your life.  But you had a career outside of music until you retired. How long ago did you actually start touring?

JA:  I’ll address the first part more in depth at the concert.  But I got my first guitar when I was 13. I’ve tried to learn how to play the guitar since that time and have had limited success ever since. I’ve always had music in the house.  Always. My mother was a concert pianist and my daddy was a Methodist preacher. I took three years of piano and four years of violin before I ever picked up a guitar.  With my children, The Avett Brothers, and The Avett Daughter, their talent in music came from my mother.  She was the kind of lady that, well I’d be practicing violin and I’d hit a sour note and she’d be three rooms away from me fixing supper and she’d say “That’s a B flat you’re looking for.”. And I’d think “God how can you do that? How can a person be that talented to hear that true a tone?  But she was, and it came through me. We always encouraged music to our children. We encouraged our children to be the best they could be at whatever they would be. I never pushed music though. I think music is important though. People will say “Well why do you think music is important?” And I’ll tell you why. It teaches a person that things fit together.  I don’t care if you’re playing on the level of “Chopsticks” or if you’re playing at the Juilliard School of Music. It’s like Math. You can go 2 + 2 or you can go to calculus. It fits together on every level. And the more you go into it, the more it opens up. And it teaches a person that things in life fit together. And I think it’s important for kids to know this.  They don’t have to be good at music. They don’t have to get on stage. They never have to do that. But it is important that they have a passing knowledge of it. Because this is the way that you realize you can be creative. Now when did I start touring?  

I have always played off and on.  Not necessarily in bands. I have been kicked out of about every band I was ever in.  That’s as it should be. I expect a lot out of other people. I expect a lot out of me.  If I tell you I’m going to be there at seven o’clock, I’ll be there at a quarter till. But I won’t be there at five after.  If you ‘aint there, I don’t know if you’re drunk, dead, in prison or what. But I know you’re not there and my time is important to me.  So for that reason, I don’t do real well with other band members. If you’ve got a five-piece band, you’ve got five egos, you’ve got five directions you want to go in.  And it’s hard to put together a band that will stay together. The reason the Avett boys are still together, they actually love one another. Members of that band know one another, they know their wives and their kids, and they know what each one of them is going through and they support one another.  And that’s something you don’t usually find in bands.

I retired the day I was 62.  We did a couple of things. One we gave our land to the kids.  That day. With the agreement that we could live there as long as we wanted to and I could raise hay and cows, they could have it.  I gave a business I had run for forty years away. Lock stock and barrel gave it to them. Gave it to two guys who had worked for me for about twenty years.  In small business, you don’t have many perks. But these two boys did what we did better than anybody, and they didn’t do anything else very well. So I gave them the machinery, the shop equipment, six months of work and walked away from it.  I didn’t’ need the money. I don’t have any money. I’m living proof that you don’t need a million dollars to retire. I’ve got great faith in the future. If I have to have some money I’ll pick a guitar a little bit and we’ll eat supper. For me, you’re a success if you eat supper and have enough firewood to stay warm. I don’t give a damn about what kind of car you drive or what kind of shoes you wear.  Why would I care about that? I care about having enough fire in the winter time to keep you warm because that will kill you. And if you haven’t got something to eat, that’ll kill you too. But food and firewood are what every war has been fought over.

I went to college to get an education, not to get a job.  I have a masters in Psychology. With an education, I can get a job.  I can go get a job, I don’t care what the economy is like. I know what they’re looking for.  They’re looking for somebody who will show up every day sober and try hard. And show up on time. That’s not asking a lot.  But my generation hasn’t taught this to the younger generation, and that is a fault of ours. But what the hell do I know?  What else?

Oh, I’ve been touring actively for about ten years.   My manager says “How many shows do you want to do?” I told him about four or five a month.  He said, “You know that’s about fifty shows a year? I thought ‘Oh, God. That sounds like a lot!”.  But I do forty to fifty shows a year.

UCR:  With music always being in your home, did you always know that you wanted to perform?  Or was there a specific event or influence you heard that let you know you wanted to do this.

JA:  I don’t know that I ever said ‘I want to do this’.  I don’t know that it was ever my dream to get on stage.  I have a lot of interests and talents in a lot of areas. At one time it was on my bucket list to play in Nashville, just to say I’ve played Nashville.  But that’s been scratched off. The older you get you begin to see that the bucket list is getting empty. It’s not that you’ve gotten them done, sometimes you just scratch them off.  

The perspectives I have I will tell the young people at the concert.  They need to hear this. At this point in my life, it’s time to give it away.  If you want to know how I pick, I’ll be glad to show you. If you want one of my lyric sheets, I’ll be glad to send it to you.  I’ll tell them that some of the songs I’m doing can only be heard live. They’re not for public consumption. I’ll probably only do one more album even though I have about thirty or forty more songs I’ve written. But it’s time for me to get out of the way and let some young people have that time. It’s stacked up against the young singer-songwriters these days.  Amazon and iTunes take the bulk of the money. It used to be that a young singer-songwriter could sell enough CD’s to get gas and food and get to the next gig. It’s not that way anymore. Now the only way you can make money at music is live performance.  And a young singer-songwriter can be the best in the world, but they can’t draw five people because no one has ever heard of them. And for that reason, many of them are dropping out. And it’s a shame. That’s an absolute shame. Because there are some pretty talented kids out there.  I was one of the gospel music judges at Merle Fest and I can tell you that there are some talented singer-songwriters out there.

UCR:  I think it’s great that you’ve been able to have a career outside of music, and then become a touring performer.  I think it gives you a great perspective on things, and now you can share it with an audience and help them in their lives.

JA:  When this gets to be work, I’ll quit.  There will come a time where I’m not able to do this.  And it’s closer now than it’s ever been. However, it ‘aint here today, and it gonna be here tomorrow. I intend to do that show in Provo.  But I think there are still a couple things that need to be said. If I’ve got the opportunity to say it, I will.

But as far as some of my influences.  Scott (Jim’s son, and one half of The Avett Brothers) said in an interview, “Dad gave up a career in music so we could have one.”    That’s not really true. If I had a career in music, I would have got to Nashville about the time some really talented guys would have got there. And I’m not sure how I would have stood up against them.  Because I’m not sure that I was that committed to it. People like Tom T. Hall, that I have talked to, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan, Beethoven, Chuck Berry, these guys influenced me along with many others.  The show tomorrow night will have some of my stuff, and some of other people’s. If I would only do my stuff, which I could do, it would assume that I write the best stuff. And that’s not really true. I write some pretty good stuff, occasionally.  But there are so many really good songs, that if I don’t play them, you’ll never hear them. And it would be a real tragedy for you not to hear a couple of tunes I plan on playing in Provo. I want people either really liking me or really hating me.  Either way is fine.

UCR:  Velour, the venue you’re playing is one of my favorites in all of Utah. Tons of character and charm, and it sounds great in there. And because it’s in sort of a college town, I think you’ll have a number of young artists and fans there to see you.  It sounds like you’ll be giving them a great education on songwriting and more.

JA: I’m really going to make an effort at it.  And I’m going to tell you, just sitting here thinking, as we’re getting ready to head over to visit with the boys (The Avett Brothers), I’m going to put this in the Provo show.  I’m going to tell them what it’s like to be 71.

Jim proceeds to tell me what he’s going to tell everyone at Velour on Wednesday.  It’s a great story, and will give us all a lot of perspective. But I don’t want to spoil it.  So head on over to the show and you’ll be glad to hear it. If you miss the show, or don’t live local, just let me know and I’ll tell you the story after his performance.  

UCR:  Last question for you Jim.  I don’t want to take any time you could be having with your sons.  

JA:  Oh I have all afternoon to see them.  We don’t chase them around. I see maybe 8 or 10 shows a year.  If I want to see them, I’ll see them at the house. They have a job to do, and they’re busy on the road, so I don’t want to interfere with that.  

UCR:  Is the show at Velour a solo show with just you on stage?  Or do you get to play with a band?

JA:  I always do a solo show.  Unless the stage is a big stage.  I do listening rooms, and I do house concerts.  I do not play bars. If it’s got a big screen TV or a pool table, you can get a jukebox. I will not play where people are talking.  If they didn’t come to hear the music, they don’t need me. But I have a guy that plays anything you want. He plays great lead guitar and great bass.  He’ll join me. I have a girl who comes from Pittsburg plays fiddle. She’s killer, man she’s good. I got my daughter, she sings harmony on bigger stages.  However, Provo is a solo stage. This whole tour, I’m doing 10 or 12 shows within 16 days.

UCR:  Thank you so much, Jim.  I think people are in store for a great show.  Playing Velour, and with the type of show you’re describing seems to be an ideal match.  

JA:  There are some times where I walk on stage and get in the chair and I’ll think, “My shows have been really good.  I’ve had some really good shows lately”. But you have one every once in a while that is a bad show. It makes up the averages.  (Laughing) I sure as hell hope that the show in Provo isn’t making up the average! But we’re hoping that the show in Provo will be a good show.  

I could have listened to him all day.  He sang me part of a Hank Williams song and told me a couple great jokes.  He seems to love what he’s doing, and I think he has high hopes for the show at Velour.   I highly recommend being in attendance.  

You can get most of Jim Avett’s music wherever music is sold.  You can get all of his music on his website.  www.jimavett.com

You can purchase tickets here, or at the door! I really hope to see you there!

Jade Bird September 12, 2018 Kilby Court Salt Lake City, Utah

By: Kevin Rolfe

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.

The thing about Kilby Court is once you get to the area of the venue it’s great.  Walking down the street feels a little murdery. But the venue itself has a ton of charm and character.  The kind you’d want in a venue that features local and up and coming artists.  I love the courtyard, and the big window that people will look through to see the show when the room is all filled up.  You’d expect a venue that looks the way Kilby Court does to not have very good sound, but I thought the sound for Jade’s show was excellent.  The stage is almost ground level, and Jade herself is not tall, so if you’re in the back you really have to find ways to catch glimpses of her. But that’s part of the charm. Right? 

Jade walked on stage alone to start the show.  Now the ovation she received compared to the last time I saw her was extremely different.  When I saw her last year, there was polite applause, but they were more dismissive. At Kilby Court, the audience was there to see her, and they let her know.  She seemed surprised and grateful for the applause. She joked about coming to the stage awkwardly, and how she felt she should be more natural at that by now. Her self-deprecating humor would be a source of entertainment for the entire night.  She picked up her signature, and sure to be iconic one day, white acoustic guitar, and performed “What am I here for?”. One of my favorite things is hearing the commotion of a crowd becoming instantly silenced by the sounds of a beautiful song. People were so intent in their listening, taking in every single word.  

Her backing band joined Jade on stage to perform a couple more songs from her EP Something American then she performed some new songs that will be released on her forthcoming debut album.  She asked the audience if it was ok if she played these new songs. It was funny that she thought people would reject hearing new material from her. The crowd, of course, shouted in the affirmative, and then similarly applauded their approval of the new songs when they were completed.

She excused her band, which consisted of a guitarist/ keyboardist, drummer, and bassist.  She then played a few more songs just with her even venturing over to the keyboard herself for one number.  The song initially was set to a synth sound, and she was looking for the piano setting. She joked that if felt like sound check right with all the adjustments she was making.  She stated before she played “If I Die” that things were going to get really dark. Then she told people the song title and the audience laughed. She smiled and said, “See I told you!”.   

Jade has an amazing mix of style in her music.  The prominent style would probably be considered a country influence.  I’d say more of like an outlaw country sound. There’s a taste of Johnny Cash in her songs.  But it’s not all country. It’s hard to even define her music as that. She has some songs that give off an indie rock vibe.  There are times where I can hear the 90’s alt-rock band The Sundays in her voice and styling. There are other times where she’s Joplin-esque in her vocals.  And then, of course, there is the singer-songwriter sound that is prevalent whenever she performs alone with her white guitar.

Jade brought down the house with her latest single “Uh Huh”.  Her range and the power of her voice in that song is impressive!  She covered the Bangles hit “Walk Like an Egyptian” which was another crowd pleaser.  I must say, I didn’t see that song coming.

I think the biggest hit of the night was her performance of “Lottery”, probably her biggest song to date.  People were singing along, and when it was over she received her biggest ovation of that night to that point.  She closed out the set with “Going Gone”, thank the audience, and left the stage.

Jade returned for an encore and sang the beautiful title track to her EP “Something American”. She followed with a cover of the Hank Snow hit, that in more recent years has been made enormous by Johnny Cash “I’ve Been Everywhere”.  I can’t believe she can remember all the words to that song. There are so many, and they go by so fast! But she sang it perfectly and the crowd loved it.  She left the stage stating that we were their best crowd so far.  Who knows if she says that everywhere, but I’ll take it.  It was a really good crowd.  She walked away smiling just as she had been for the entire concert.  

Back in November 2017, when Jade left the stage it was clear that she had won over an audience that was originally indifferent towards her.  Last night at Kilby Court the audience was hers from the beginning. But they left the show even bigger fans of hers. Jade Bird is going places people.  And that place is straight up! There is no doubt that we’ll see her again here in Utah. I imagine the venues will get larger and larger as her fanbase is sure to continually grow.  And I’ll be honored to be one of those people saying “Oh, I remember when I saw her at Kilby Court!”.

 

Collective Soul September 12, 2018 Days of ’47 Arena Salt Lake City

By: Justin Hicken

Collective Soul has developed a strong relationship with their fans in Utah.  Last night’s performance at the Days of ‘47 Arena on the Utah State Fairgrounds was the third straight summer they have toured through the state.  Bands usually don’t come back that often if they aren’t well received here, and Collective Soul is very well received in Utah.

Before we discuss the show, there one nit that needs to be picked. I had a ticket that was supposed to be waiting for me at the box office.  The photo pass was there, but no ticket. They knew they I was supposed to get one, and they told me that they just needed to print it out. This isn’t about me and having to wait for a ticket.  Things happen like this often enough that it was not a big deal. And before I say anything else, I have to give it to all of those in the box office who did everything they could to sort through what was ultimately a mess of miscommunication.  There was a Groupon promotion for this concert. Generally, with Groupon, there are no seat assignments. And with a venue like USANA Amphitheater, it’s easy because these tickets will usually we in the general admission lawn where no assigned seats are required.  But for the Days of “47 Arena, there are actual seats so people were showing up with their Groupons now needing a ticket with an assigned seat. The line at the box office grew and grew as fans were waiting to get in. The problem was, from what I was told at least, the box office had no idea about this so they were scrambling to get tickets with seat numbers printed so that people could get into the venue on time.  Despite their valiant efforts, I’d say there were still 500-1000 fans trickling in after the second song. I got in just in time to get photos for the last song. (Usually, with a photo pass you take pictures during the first three songs.) Everyone got in, and things worked out. I would just suggest for the sake of the overwhelmed people in the box office the promoters and the venue could have communicated a little better.  Ok, on with the show!

I had never been to a concert at the Days of “47 Arena.  I must say it is quite the upgrade from the old amphitheater that was set up on the fairgrounds.  People were seated on the floor of the arena, which is more like a small stadium, but smaller because it’s used for rodeo, and then, of course, the majority of fans were in the stands other than behind the stage.  The sound was excellent in there.  

The third song of the night was Collective Soul’s smash hit “Shine”.  The crowd, of course, love it, and with people finally in the venue momentum was building.  Lead singer Ed Roland then invited everybody to “Scoot up and get close”. The aisles of the floor were then flooded by eager fans.  Luckily I was already up there so I had a great spot for the rest of the show!

Ed and the rest of the band really interacted with the crowd.  They were always waving, or tossing picks to fans. About four or five songs in Ed pointed to somebody in the crowd and all of a sudden one of Collective Souls’ vinyl records was being passed up to the stage.  Ed took the record, signed it, and then passed it around to the rest of the band so they could all sign it one by one. Ed gave his guitar pick to a girl in the front row. He gave another pick to a man with special needs in a wheelchair and signed something for him as well.  There is no doubt that Collective Soul appreciates and love their fans.

In the middle of the set Collective Soul played two new songs that will be released on an upcoming album.  Ed mentioned that the second of those songs was very therapeutic for him and carried sort of a gospel message.  He said something about swimming out of the sea of doubt to the shore of hope and climbing the mountain of faith.  

The band sounded great.  When Utah Concert Review interviewed bassist Will Turpin, he mentioned that there was just something special with these guys on stage.  That after all these years they still love playing together, and are legitimate friends. That was very clear from their performance. They seemed like they were having a great time, and the fans, who were a mix of all ages, in turn, were really into the show.   Ed told the crowd that he loved seeing the “peace sign”. He was giving it out all night and the crowd gave it right back to him.

They closed their set with an extended version of “Run”.  The song ended with the crowd singing the lyric “I’ve got a long way to run” as the music faded and the set ended.  It was a perfect ending to a really fun show. You can hear a version like the one we heard on Collective Soul’s live album that was released last year.

As the show ended, Ed mentioned that he sometimes comes to Utah to go skiing with his kids.  He said that if anybody ever runs into him, please don’t hesitate to say hi. He called it an “Open Door Policy”.  He said he could send the kids off to ski and he would join you for a good book and a drink in the lounge. So don’t be surprised if you see people heading down the slopes with a Collective Soul beanie in search of Ed Roland this winter.

These are a bunch of really cool guys, who put on a really great show.  They were so easy going and friendly and just seemed to be lovers of life.  I think these Atlanta boys shared a little southern hospitality with Salt Lake City.  No doubt they’ll be invited back soon.

 

UCR Interview- Will Turpin of Collective Soul

By Kevin Rolfe

Photo By: Joseph Guay

Collective Soul has joined up with 3 Doors Down on the “Rock & Roll Express Tour”, which makes its stop here in Utah on September 12, at the Days of ’47 Arena.  Which is on the Utah State Fairgrounds.  I had the opportunity to visit with Will Turpin about Collective Soul’s upcoming show here in Utah.  We also discussed his solo album Serengeti Drivers, U2, and Paul McCartney.  Enjoy!  

Utah Concert Review: Hi Will!  I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me today.  Collective Soul and 3 Doors Down seem like a great pairing of bands for a tour.  What are some things bands can expect from this show?

Will Turpin:  Nice to speak with you today.  People are going to hear the songs that they know.  Some of this songs have become big hits. So they’ve kind of become the soundtrack to people’s lives in a way.  You’re going to get to see two different bands. So you’re going to see the different styles between us. I can really only speak to Collective Soul.  We have this thing, even 24 years later where we throw a lot of energy out there. It’s a tangible back and forth thing where the crowd gives us energy as well.  People can expect some great rock songs, and hopefully some great rock performances.

UCR:  I think that’s something comes across on your live album. You’ve been around for almost 25 years and this live album is a new release.  Sometimes I’ll hear a live album and I’ll think, ‘maybe I won’t go see them live.’, but with your album, it made me more excited to see the show in person.  

WT:  If we didn’t think that was still there, I don’t know how often we’d want to play live.  There’s definitely still something there where you can feel it. There’s a little magic there.  We definitely have the energy.

UCR:  Do you still get that anxiety before you take the stage, or have you done it so much that you’re just excited to be out there, but the nervousness has gone?  

WT:  There are instances of performing live where I’ll get a little anxiety.  Like performing on live TV you get a little anxiety. But when you’re on stage where you have fans there that have paid to come see you, you know they want to see us play, there’s really no nerves necessarily.  It’s really more of a ‘let’s go get it, let’s have fun’.

UCR:  If memory serves, Collective Soul has been to Utah for three summers in a row now.  And from what I’ve heard all the shows have been well received. Is there something about Utah and your fans here that keep you coming back so often?  

WT:  We definitely love the crowds there in Utah.  It’s always been a strong market for us. I’ve got to say we’ve been lucky.  We don’t necessarily have a weak market, but Utah has always been a very special place for us.  I don’t know, it seems like the crowds there are always extra special. Like I said before, it’s a two-way street.  I feel like we’re bringing it too, but we’ve always had great shows in Utah. That’s definitely something that’s real with us and that we recognize.  

Photo By: Joseph Guay

UCR:  You recently released a solo album.  It looks like you recorded with about 15 different musicians, some of which have spent time in Collective Soul in the past.  What are some of the benefits of recording a solo album as opposed to an album with the band?

WT:  First off I sit down and I start these songs with just me.  The inspiration starts from a different spot than a Collective Soul album.  With Collective Soul, it’s a rock band and I’m playing bass. The benefit of doing a solo album, you get to create and find yourself, and find your creative side outside of the setting that Collective Soul is, and it’s not that Collective Soul has ever been stifling in any way.  But as a band, we think it’s good for us to explore our art and whatever we’re feeling outside of Collective Soul. It’s not like with Collective Soul we’ve kept ourselves in a box. We cross a number of genres. It re-energizes you to be able to go create and finish these songs outside of the Collective Soul umbrella.  And in my mind, you might be able to hear some relevance to Collective Soul in a couple songs, but I don’t think they’re Collective Soul songs. And it’s not like I want them to be.  Like I said, it’s just a good thing to be able to go create outside of Collective Soul. It just makes us stronger when we get back together. We’re like “Woah Dude, we still have some magic when we’re together.”.  You can feel it, man, when we create together I still have those hairs that stand up on my skin. It’s a beautiful thing.

Photo By: Joseph Guay

UCR:  We touched on this a little, but next year Collective Soul will be celebrating 25 years as a band.  You have the benefit of playing a setlist that is filled with songs that have charted and some that have even reached #1.  I’m sure that took a lot of work. I’m curious with a band like yours, that has achieved so much success, what part of your career do you enjoy the most?  Is it the excitement of when you’re in the middle of making all of that happen? Or is it now where you have more control over your career, your touring, and I’m guessing your money?  What is better, the peak or the climb?

WT:  They are very different.  With us during the climb, during the beginning up until 2001 when we were with Atlantic Records, we were so busy and so focused on what we were going to do next, just so focused on taking steps forward to get to where we are now, it was hard to enjoy what was happening.  I mean, we were enjoying the moment, but we wanted to be that band that had a real catalog. We wanted to be that band that had more than one hit. So we were always going forward, forward, forward. So yeah, now there are different benefits being successful 24 years later.  We get to pick our schedule a little more, and we have a lot of fun. Me and Dean (Roland, rhythm guitar) grew up together so there’s a genuine friendship and a genuine love there. We don’t take it for granted, and we’re really appreciative. We appreciate the fans. We thank the fans every night, and we really mean it.  So yeah, it’s great to be in this spot all these years later. I think I’d have to say I like this spot better.

UCR:  Do you remember the first concert you ever attended?  

WT:  I think the first concert I had ever gone to was U2 Joshua Tree tour.  My dad was a musician so he played some big festivals here and there, but my first real concert I went to was that tour.  

UCR:  Did you happen to go to the Joshua Tree 30th anniversary tour?

WT:  No, Dean and Ed (Roland, lead vocalist) got to go.  I saw some video of it though. Those guys, they just can’t do any wrong.  It’s just so amazing man.

UCR: They really can’t.  I mean how after all these years can U2 still be thinking of all these new and innovative ways to do a concert?  It’s nuts!

WT:  How? Seriously, How? And it’s still as amazing as ever!  It’s original, but still themselves. And still just four guys on stage.  

UCR:  Do you remember the first time you performed live?

WT:  It would have to have been in a talent show in like third grade.  I put Ace Frehley makeup on and I played drums to Steve Martin’s “King Tut”.  It was a comedy record I liked in third grade for some reason in third grade. I had KISS’ guitarist makeup on, and I was playing drums.

UCR:  That’s quite the combining of worlds there.  

WT:  Yeah! (laughing)  I combined them all together.  I don’t know why or what I was doing.

UCR:  Do you have a show you’ve attended that you thought “This is the best concert I’ve ever seen.”?

WT:   Paul McCartney is clearly my main inspiration and main idol.  I got to see him live 4 or 5 years ago and I can’t really mess with that.  Whenever he’s singing and playing that’s pretty much the best for me.

UCR:  I saw him here in Utah around the same time and it’s almost like a religious experience.

WT:  Oh, it was definitely a religious experience for me.  I didn’t realize how emotional I’d be. Just walking him on stage, I got very emotional.  And I’m a professional! This is what I do, and I got, woah, I was like a kid fan again. It was weird.  

UCR:  I love hearing that.  That’s exactly how I was.  For me when he walked out it was this weird feeling of “That’s really him!”.  And then he brings out his iconic Hofner Bass…

WT:  Oh Man, I mean, I was happy, but I was tearing up!  I was 43 years old and I was like “What the hell is going on here?”.

UCR:  Last question.  You’ve played so many shows that it might be impossible to pin down just one.  So I’ll ask, what was your favorite tour you’ve been on?

WT:  The best tour was the ‘95 tour with Van Halen.  It was Sammy Hagar’s last record with the band. They just treated us like little brothers.  I was 24 years old on that tour. The fact that Sammy Hagar, and Michael Anthony, and Eddie Van Halen are still friends of ours, it just means the world to me.  So that’s what I’ll always reference as my favorite tour. And as far as shows, I’d say both Woodstock’s ‘94 and ‘99.

UCR:  That must have been nuts.  Just an ocean of people out there.  

WT: It really was.  You could not see the end of humanity.  You just couldn’t see it. Especially the first one.  They estimated around 400,000 people out there.

UCR:  What a sight that must have been.  Thanks again for taking the time. It was a pleasure!  

WT:  Cheers man!  We’ll talk again later buddy!  

Collective Soul will be here in Utah with 3 Doors Down on September 12.  Tickets are still available.  Click here for tickets!  

Also, check out Will’s solo album Serengeti Drivers. Available wherever you get your music!  

Midge Ure & Paul Young September 5, 2018 The Commonwealth Room Salt Lake City

I have been wanting to see a show at The Commonwealth Room ever since it opened in May of this year.  When I saw that Midge Ure was going to be playing there I was excited to know that I’d be seeing one of my favorite artists play this new venue.  Of course, I thought I would have attended at least a couple shows at The Commonwealth Room by the time Midge arrived, but for one reason or another, Midge’s “Soundtrack of Your Life” tour with Paul Young would be my first venture in the venue brought to us by the folks from The State Room.  

I was totally impressed with The Commonwealth Room.  It’s laid out similarly to The State Room in downtown Salt Lake City, but I’d say it’s more long, where The State Room is wide.  The sound in there is great, and there isn’t a bad view of the stage in the house. When the show was over we were kind of rushed to leave by security.  That was a little disappointing because my understanding is Midge usually comes out to the merch table after the show. I felt like that was what most the people still hanging out were waiting for.  But they were friendly in their escorting us out of the venue. So that’s nice. It would have been nice to have met Midge after the show though. 

When I spoke with Midge a week ago, he mentioned that the flip of a coin would determine whether he or Paul would go on first.  The coin landed on Midge and he opened the night. There was no opening act so he went on right after 8 o’clock. I must admit, Midge was who I was there to see, so I was hoping he would get to close the show.  Nevertheless, there he was on stage first. The benefit of that coin flip was I wouldn’t have to wait to see him. Once he was out there, I was worried about who was on first or last, I was just excited to be seeing him again.

Midge Ure

Midge opened with one of my favorite Ultravox songs “Passing Strangers”.  It was immediately obvious that this wasn’t only a favorite of mine, but a favorite of the entire audience.  The truth is, this was a very pro Midge Ure crowd. It almost didn’t matter what he said or played, the audience was behind him.  He even jokingly chastised a fan who was on their phone in the front row. He asked “Are you checking your Facebook? Is it that boring?”.  He said it all with a smile on his face, and the audience laughed and cheered. He mentioned, “They don’t realize that it illuminates their face like the sun.”.  I think it really did annoy him, but he pulled it off in a humorous way so that it didn’t create an awkward moment and ruin the positive energy of the show. But here’s a tip folks, maybe if you’re in the front row of a concert, don’t check your social media accounts.  Artists don’t seem to mind having their pictures taken, or even being videoed. But it has to be difficult not to take it personally when someone is looking at their email, or Instagram when they’re working their hardest to entertain you on stage. So please keep that in mind.  

Ure played a condensed set due to the double headlining nature of this tour.  I thought he did a great job mixing in his solo hits like “Dear God” and “If I Was”, with Visage hits like “Fade to Grey”.  Of course, the majority of his hour on stage was spent performing Ultravox classics like “Hymn”, “All Stood Still”, and the audience favorite “Vienna”. The crowd sang along and applauded each one of these songs.  These singles were never huge hits in America. So I think those in attendance delighted in the opportunity to hear these songs live. It took them back to a time when they really had to mine these gems from record shops and college radio.  Midge sounded fantastic and he was a pleasure to hear.

Midge also mentioned how talented the musicians he had hired to play for him and Paul Young on this tour.  They come from the Berklee School of Music in Massachusetts. And he was absolutely right, they were fantastic.  Not only with Midge, but with Paul as well. The three-piece consisted of bass, drums, and keyboards. The songs they were playing were most certainly older than them, but they played them with the proper styling and purpose that you’d hope to hear from a band playing music from a specific era of music.  I was really impressed with each one of them.

Midge’s set seemed so short.  It ran for eleven songs and for only one hour which felt like twenty minutes.  When he walked off stage, I looked around and many of the people around me stated the same sentiment to their friends.  “That’s it?” The song suspiciously missing from his set was “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes”. I think this left fans disappointed. I’ve noticed on other setlists on this tour the song was performed.  Curious why he didn’t play it. But I think fans being disappointed is sort of a compliment. “Leave them wanting more!” they say. And the crowd most certainly wanted more Midge Ure.

Midge Ure Setlist
Passing Strangers
Dear God
If I Was
Become
New Europeans
Fade to Grey
I Remember (Death in the Afternoon)
Fragile
Vienna
All Stood Still
Hymn

Paul Young

 

Paul walked on to the stage with the same backing band as Midge, but he brought with him his lead guitarist, Jamie Moses.  The song “Some People” began. The crowd clapped along to the beat, and then cheered when Paul made his appearance onto the stage. I thought Paul looked great.  He seemed happy to be in a great mood, joking with the audience and at times I noticed him joking around with the band mid-song.  

I thought there were times where Paul sounded great.  His voice has aged but he generally knows just the right area in a song to place his voice so that it still sounds good.  I always respect the professionalism of an artist that can adjust their voice to a song when they can no longer sing it like they did when they were younger.  Singers like Bono or even Midge come to mind. They find a new way to interpret a song so that it has the same impact, we’re just taken there in a different way.  So it was with Paul. The soulful raspiness of his voice brought the house down many times.

I thoroughly enjoyed guitarist Jamie Moses.  For one, he’s extremely talented. His playing gave Paul’s set a real soulful and bluesy feel.  The way Jamie and Paul engaged with each other was fun.  Jaime really added to the music and blended perfectly with the three other guys in the band.  It was a great move for Paul to bring him on tour.

I would say the only unfortunate thing was that after Midge’s set, a good number of people left.  So I’d say the audience for Paul was only about half of what it was for the beginning of the night.  That didn’t seem to bother Young because he still sang his heart out, and danced as if the place was at capacity.  Another admirable quality of a true professional. And those who stayed were delivered a good time.

Paul Young spanned his career catalog to the enjoyment of the crowd.  Songs like “Love of the Common People” which was featured on the Sixteen Candles soundtrack, and “Get ‘em Up, Joe” were well liked.  He received especially strong ovations when he sang “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” and of course, his biggest hit,  “Everytime You Go Away”.  On the latter song, the audience sang along, and as I looked around people were signing it to each other with smiles on our faces.

Those that stuck around for the entire night were treated to an encore that included both Paul Young and Midge Ure on the stage together.  They covered the Thin Lizzy song “Boys are Back in Town”. Which was particularly exciting because Midge actually spent time as a member of Thin Lizzy in the late 70’s and early 80’s.  It was the most rocking song of the night so it seemed to give the band and Jamie a chance to really go for it. It was fun. Jamie and Midge would go back and forth with guitar riffs. I think this was a real pleasant surprise to the audience and they loved it.  

This was a really fun night and a ride back to the 80’s.  I think the general sentiment from the attendees was “More Midge”.  It was who they were there to see. I think they were surprised how much they enjoyed Paul Young, but at least for Utah, I think they would have preferred Paul open, and Midge give them a full set.  

I did enjoy Paul Young. He hadn’t played Utah in over twenty years so it was great to have him back.   They seemed to enjoy touring together. And the fact that they played together in the encore was a solid indicator of that. You don’t always see that with bands. Many times an artist or band that has already played will head out on the road or go back to the hotel when they’re done.  So it was cool to see these guys actually perform together.  I do want a full set from Midge, but tonight was not that show.  I still enjoyed it very much. I guess he’ll just have to come see us again soon.  

Smashing Pumpkins September 4, 2018 Vivint Arena

How do I go about discussing the Smashing Pumpkins Shiny and Oh So Bright tour, featuring a reunited line up of Billy Corgan, James Iha, and Jimmy Chamberlin?  How do I begin to comb over the 32 song setlist with all but 4 or 5 songs being from their first five albums? I should probably just share the setlist and let you imagine what this evening was like.  Nevertheless, I shall make my attempts to review what was a lengthy, and epic night from one of the greatest alt-rock bands of all time. Is that how you would classify them? Alt-rock? Or nineties rock?  How about 90’s alt- rock? That feels like a solid compromise.

So before we even begin to discuss Smashing Pumpkins, let’s have a conversation about Metric.  I had no idea they were the support band for Smashing Pumpkins until I was told the set times by the venue.  So for me, it was a happy surprise. I enjoy Metric. I think I’ve officially been to too many concerts though.  I know I’ve seen them live before, but I can’t remember when! Anyway, I thought they did a great job opening the night.  Their driving beats and lead singer Emily Haines clear vocals got the crowd going, as they trickled into Vivint Smart Home Arena.  I notice quite a few fans scattered throughout the arena pumping their fists in the air along with Emily during their closing song “Help I’m Alive”.  They received a very respectable ovation as they left the stage.

The main thing that surprised me about the show was the attendance. This show did not sell well.  The entire upper bowl was draped and covered. I was blown away. This band with this lineup seemed like a sure fire sell out.  I’m sure the absence of the lone original member not on this tour, D’Arcy Wretzky kept a few people away because it wasn’t a complete reunion tour.  But there’s no way that kept an entire upper bowl’s worth of people away. Did it?

I read an article in Forbes that gives some suggestions of why the tour didn’t sell well. I’ve heard outside of Chicago and Los Angeles, most of the tour hasn’t sold as well as anticipated. A few of the reasons being it’s at the end of the summer tour where some of Smashing Pumpkins contemporaries have come through town and the concert market was saturated and fans that would typically attend this show had already spent their concert budget on other tours.  The absence of Wretzky is mentioned, as well as the ever-polarizing frontman Billy Corgan. It’s an interesting read. Check it out. After you finish this review!!!

Despite the lower than expected attendance, those who were there seemed quite excited to see this show.  And as soon as the lights lowered, the roar of the crowd began. In the large digital screen that would move and separate throughout the evening, images of the band’s first five albums  Gish, Siamese Dream, Pisces Iscariot, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, and Adore would appear. Each album being cheered by the audience. Then at first in silhouette form, frontman and principal songwriter Billy Corgan appeared.  

He began playing his acoustic guitar.  It was immediately obvious that he was playing “Disarm”.  I saw some people look at each other and say “This is going to be a good night!”.  It really was a great way to start the show.

Following “Disarm”, the rest of the band stepped onto the stage to thunderous applause. The roar was due to getting to see James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin on stage in Smashing Pumpkins again.  I must admit it was really cool to see them together. They followed with a blistering run of great songs in “Rocket”, “Siva”, and “Rhinoceros”.  Just one great song after another.

The first surprise of the evening was a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”.  Can’t say I saw that coming. But, it fit. They gave it their own style and it sounded awesome and odd and like a Smashing Pumpkins song.  Corgan was draped with a hooded cloak and walked onto a platform at the back of the stage looking out into a landscape of the universe.

The show went on for an hour before finally, James Iha addressed the crowd.  He was the first band member to speak up to this point. He was brief but said that they were glad to be in Salt Lake City and that they were just ⅓ of the way through the show.  And that it was going to be taken up a notch. I get it, Smashing Pumpkins aren’t a band that’s going to tell a bunch of stories and say things like “Hello Salt Lake City!”, or start a clap along, but a full hour before hearing from anyone seemed strange.  At least to me. They sort of just put their heads down and plowed into the setlist.

Another surprise following a couple songs, the stage went dark while the band switched guitars and moved throughout the stage, and a Mark Magrath of Sugar Ray fame appeared on the digital screen.  He was dressed as a 20’s era carnival showman. He introduced “Blew Away” and “1979”. I had no idea he was friends with the band. Maybe he isn’t and he just filmed the part. But it was an entertaining way to introduce the songs.

I have always found it so fascinating that Smashing Pumpkins covered Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”.  On paper, it doesn’t seem like a song they’d do or a song that would work for them. But it really does. Somehow Billy Corgan’s voice fits the song perfectly, and their arrangement is original.  I felt the same thing when I heard them playing it live. How did they ever decide to do this song? But I’m glad they did. It was an obvious highlight.

While the show was full of great songs from each album, which you will see from the setlist, I can’t help but talk about the songs they covered.  Like “Stairway to Heaven” for instance. I can’t have you look through the setlist without discussing that Smashing Pumpkins covered Led Zeppelin!  Billy Corgan began the song on keys, and at first, I thought he was just playing the intro and would then lead into one of their songs. But sure enough, they did the whole song.  And again, I was surprised they did it but impressed with how well it worked for them.

Finally, let me just comment on the band itself.  James Iha was a joy to watch, He has such a unique style of playing, and while he doesn’t posterize or move around the stage like many lead guitarists, he brings a strong stage presence to the band, and to the presentation.  

 

Jimmy Chamberlin was really fun for me to watch.  My seat was in a place where I was pretty much to the side and just above him. Drummers amazing me in general.  I don’t know how they do all that they do. But hearing him play in person was a real thrill.

Billy Corgan is such an interesting and odd frontman.  He said “Thank you kindly” a couple of times, and I think “Come on Salt Lake City!”. And that was about it when it came to speaking with the audience.  However, he seemed to communicate in other ways. The way he looked to the audience or pointed to certain people seemed to be his way of connecting with the crowd.  He adds such a dramatic element to the entire evening. He demands the attention of everyone’s eyes. He is an imposing presence, to say the least.

While often in the background, guitarist Jeff Schroeder who has been in Smashing Pumpkins since 2007 most certainly makes his presence felt with his playing.  And Katie Cole, sometimes hidden in the shadows on stage added beautiful backing vocals and keys. Now if you’re not going to have D’Arcy, then I suppose the next best thing is to bring on a bass player with a great pedigree in alternative music.  Jack Bates is the son of Peter Hook who was the bassist of Joy Division and New Order. While Jack comes from alternative royalty, he doesn’t rest on his lineage. He’s an exceptional bassist in his own right.

The night ended with another interesting cover of “Baby Mine”.  Yep, that “Baby Mine” from the 1941 Disney classic “Dumbo”. Again, it’s impossible for me to say how or why, but it worked.  Perhaps not as the closer of the entire show, but as a Smashing Pumpkins cover, yes. It had a darkness but a tenderness that only Smashing Pumpkins can pull off.  

I think the reason I decided to discuss their covers in this review is that it shows the strength and originality of this band.  Their original songs are theirs, but to make the songs of others feel like a Smashing Pumpkins song takes talent.   Their own songs were going to be great live, and they were. No one would expect any less. When Corgan stepped to the mic and said “The World is a Vampire” to start “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” the place went nuts!  And it was performed perfectly. And it was as great to hear live as I had hoped. But with these covers, it reminded me of just how unique and talented this band really is. It was good to see them back together.

 Setlist
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
Disarm
Rocket
Siva
Rhinoceros
Space Oddity
Drown
Zero
The Everlasting Gaze
Stand Inside Your Love
Thirty-Three
Eye
Soma
Blew Away
For Martha
To Sheila
Mayonaise
Porcelina of the Vast Oceans
Landslide
Tonight, Tonight
Stairway to Heaven
Cherub Rock
1979
Ava Adore
Try, Try, Try
The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning
Hummer
Bullet With Butterfly Wings
Muzzle

Encore
Solara
Baby Mine

UCR Interview: Interview 2 with Midge Ure of Ultravox

Interviewed By: Kevin Rolfe

Midge Ure of Ultravox and Visage fame returns to Salt Lake City Wednesday, September 5 at The Commonwealth Room with another great vocalist from the 80’s Paul Young.  I had the opportunity to speak with Midge this last week for the second time.  As you’ll see from the interview below, he was a pleasure to speak with.  

Utah Concert Review: Hi Midge, I’m looking at your tour schedule. It looks like you’re next stop on the tour is the Bay Area.  

Midge Ure:  Yeah we’re heading towards there. We have two nights off from Portland.  So we’re in a little town called Eureka, in California. Which we figured out was named because of the gold rush 150 years ago.  So we’re moving on from here on the way towards San Francisco. So we’re stopping off again tonight, which gives me a chance to let my very sad voice recover a bit before we do the show in San Francisco.  

UCR:  That’s a beautiful part of the country that most people don’t get to go through.  So I’m glad you’ve been able to experience that.

MU:  Oh, stunning!  I don’t know why I’ve never done that drive before.  We deviated off the I-5 which I think we’ve taken for most of our journey and went to the northern part of the 101, which of course meets with the Pacific Coast Highway.  It was just outstanding. So we drove through the Redwood Forest and the national state park. It was glorious. Sometimes touring has its benefits!

UCR: Definitely!  I think those Redwoods are something you have to see in person to really understand just how massive they are.  

MU:  Paul Young and I had a photo taken of us at the base of one of them with our arms outstretched, and we didn’t quite make it the width of the tree.  We posted it and someone said we looked like hobbits. I think that’s pretty close!

(We share a laugh)  I looked up the picture on Twitter, and he’s right, they look hobbit-esque next to this enormous redwood!

UCR: So how are things going with Paul?  I was excited to see that you guys paired up for a tour.  How did that come about, and how is it all going so far?

MU:  Well, we’ve known each other for a long time.  And we’ve worked together live a couple of times with the Nelson Mandela concert, and Live Aid, but we’ve never actually toured together.  So Paul up until last year hadn’t toured America for twenty five years. A bit like myself, prior to me coming back and touring here again.  We had just kind of lost all contact. Paul did the Retro Futura tour last year, a multi-act bill, and absolutely loved it. And when he was talking to me about it I said, ‘Well why don’t we team up and tour like how I do America?”.  I pick up some American musicians, I have had some great connections here. We go out and do this kind of like it was in the old days. There’s no crew, there’s no sound guys, there’s no lighting rigs. None of that stuff like we have everywhere else.  You go out and you do it on a grassroots level. And it’s been an absolute ball I have to say. Because Paul and I got on really well, and Paul’s guitar player who he’s brought over from the UK, I know him as well. And I’m working with the three American musicians we have.  It’s just been absolutely brilliant. It’s been fantastic.

UCR:  Utah Concert Review spoke with you about 18 months ago, and I recall you mentioning then that you were touring with a couple of American musicians.  Are these the same guys? Or do you have a totally new lineup?

MU:  One of them is the same musician.  The guy who was playing bass and keys for me, he’s doing bass duties.  It’s funny, he played perfectly good bass for me when I toured here 18 months ago.  But when I hear him play Paul’s stuff, which is all really tricky bass parts, I mean really tricky, I mean it’s Pino Palladino sliding fretless bass things, and he’s got it absolutely nailed!  He’s fantastic. So he’s really gone up in my estimation. I mean, he’s far too good for me. So he knew a couple of friends who also went to Berklee School of Music and they’re all just phenomenal.  If I can tell you, the drummer plays better guitar than I do. It’s frightening. They’re sickeningly talented!

UCR:  So in general terms.  I don’t want to give away any surprises, but what can your Utah fans expect from this tour?  Do you and Paul Young play separate sets? Or do you intertwine your songs?  And do we get to see you play together?

MU:  It’s two separate sets.  Depending on which way the coin falls, either Paul goes on first or I go on first.  And then we realize, of course, even when we arrived here to start rehearsing with the band, it wasn’t until we were in the middle of rehearsals that the idea came up, ‘Hold on a second.  We’re both doing independent sets. Surely people will be expecting us to come on together to do something. So, we do. At the end of the evening, we come on and we do a track. Neither of our particular songs, but a track that’s connected with us.  It’s great fun. It’s a great way to leave the evening.

UCR:  I’m very much looking forward to that.  So in thinking about this co-headlining tour, I wondered, had you ever done a co-headlining tour when you were with Ultravox that would you enjoyed, or was at least memorable?  

MU: Ultravox was such a complicated band.  We never coheadlined with anyone. We never did any festivals as such.  In the early days, the equipment was so archaic. It was so incredibly basic.  It would take us up to five hours to do a sound check. So we couldn’t open up for someone.  We couldn’t do festivals where it’s a very quick turnaround. We refused to use backing tapes like many of the bands did back them because it was so much easier to have sequences on bass or synthesizers all recorded.  But we refused to do it. So this is a whole new thing for me, doing a double package, or a multi-act bill. I mean, the last time Ultravox played about five years ago we did some shows with Simple Minds. And that was a great compatible bill.  It was a Simple Minds show, and we were the special guests. That just proved to be a huge, hot ticket.

UCR:  I love that you mentioned the word “Compatible”.  I feel like there are so many package shows, or many of these shows billed as “80’s” tours where the bands are not at all compatible.   

MU: I think sometimes when you get packages put together by promoters, they have a very different idea of what will appeal to people.  So they find acts that come from the era but not necessarily from the same genre. And it just falls on the ground. Nobody wants to see this mishmash of artists just because they happened to be around in the same decade. You end up staring at the sky for an hour until a band you do like comes on.  It doesn’t work. No one ever said, “I like an entire decade of music”. Things change radically over a ten year period. But when you do something like Ultravox and Simple Minds, or myself and Paul there’s a reason for it. It works. It’s compatible music.

UCR:  So as you mentioned, this is a kind of bare-bones tour.  No crew, no manager, etc. Are you also responsible for what venue you’re playing in a particular city?  If so, how do you decide?

MU:  It’s the one thing we don’t do. I can do many things, but I can’t book the venues.  I wouldn’t know how to go about it.

UCR:  It seems like it would be impossible for you to personally know the best venue to play in each city.  

MU:  Absolutely.  You have to be advised on that.  And sometimes the agent gets it absolutely right and targets it just to the right size venue. And sometimes they get it completely wrong where you find yourself playing the equivalent of an airplane hangar.  You know some huge vacuous place that you’re never going to fill. But you have to trust them, that they know their job. They don’t come and tell me how to play my songs, and I don’t tell them where to book the venues.  But I can say, ‘I want to play in this city, or that city’ and they will make that happen.

UCR:  I have to say that you will enjoy the venue here in Salt Lake City.  It’s called The Commonwealth Room. It’s practically brand new. Maybe six months old.  In fact, your show was one of the first announced when they opened their doors. The sound is fantastic, and I think the size will be perfect for your show.  Everyone there is great. I really think you’re gonna like it.

MU:  Oh great!  I’m looking forward to it.  

UCR:  I wanted to talk to you about your album Orchestrated.  I have to tell you that I love the album. I think the orchestrations and arrangements in your songs are excellent.  I’ve seen other artists who have attempted to orchestrate their music and the idea is great, but if it’s not done right it just doesn’t work.  Your album works. Was it your idea? Or were you approached with the idea?

MU:  Thank you!  I think it’s one of those things when you do perform stuff that I’ve written or stuff that I’ve done with Ultravox with an orchestra it really suits it.  The melodies and the grandiose elements, the cinematic elements that were always in Ultravox and my music are just enhanced when you do it with an orchestra.  And it can be a very powerful thing when it’s done properly. I was extremely lucky that when this idea came to fruition, which mainly came from other people who had seen clips of me performing with the orchestra scene saying “For God’s sake, you’ve got to do something with this.”.  And it was one of those ideas in the back of my mind that I’ve toyed with for years but never really thought anything of it. I never really wanted to pursue it. And then when I started taking it seriously and looking at who my sidekick would be because I do not read or write notation.  I don’t write music. So I could not orchestrate if you put a gun to my head. I wouldn’t know where to start. So I started looking for someone who would be sympathetic to the music. And I went through a few who were probably very good orchestrators but just did everything that I didn’t want.  They just threw some strings on and did the same kind of arrangement, and had brass playing instead of synthesizers, and there just wasn’t any soul in it. So by chance, I met a guy called Ty Unwin who writes film music for television series and things, who happens to be a massive Ultravox fan. Who knew everything I had ever done.  He was as passionate about the project as I was. I met him at Howard Jones’ house a few Christmases ago at a party. And I just got a feeling. I didn’t know he was an Ultravox fan at the time. I just knew he did film music. So I got in touch with him a couple months later and said ‘If we were to try to do something together, how do you think it would work?’. And he said “Look, I’ll choose one of your songs, and I’ll do an arrangement for you.  if you don’t like it great, and we’ll walk our separate ways.” He chose I think it was “The Voice” he did initially. And when I heard what he had done with it I just knew he had got it absolutely right. He put this heart and soul and passion into it. So we spent the next year, to eighteen months doing the arrangements and choosing the songs. Because all of them could make the transition to that type of arrangement. So between us, we chose all the songs.  He was suggesting things I had forgotten. He knew more of my stuff than I did! It was just a marriage made in heaven really. I was so happy with the final outcome because my big worry, which you will no doubt agree, was that I was going to ruin the memory of the original recordings for people. I wanted to enhance the music. I didn’t want to detract from it. I didn’t want people going “Oh, God that’s dreadful. I much prefer the original version.” I wanted to take the songs and take them slightly somewhere else.  Make them bigger, or more intimate, or sadder, or happier or whatever it was. Just do something different. And that’s what took the time.

UCR:  I think because you had that concern, you were able to enhance those songs in the right way.  I suppose the positive of having a great new album like this is how great the response has been.  But also perhaps the burden is there is an immediate clamor for a follow-up.  So I have to ask, is there talk of an Orchestrated 2?

MU:  I’ve got no idea to tell you the truth.  It’s still all very new to me. It’s an odd thing having an album of orchestrated music because you don’t really have an awful lot of outlets to play it.  Radio won’t play it because the arrangements are too long. You don’t just go in with a razor blade and start chopping up the arrangement trying to get them on the radio.  It just doesn’t work. It’s a piece of music from start to finish. So you’re kind of limited in how you promote it to let people know it’s out there. So I’m still in the process of thinking this is still just a fresh idea.  So we haven’t started working on anything else yet. As I’ve said, there’s a wealth of material. Besides with all the great response we got, there’s a lot of people saying “Why didn’t you do “Visions in Blue”? Why didn’t you do “One Small Day”?”  And they just kept throwing songs at me. I was like ‘You’re right’ but couldn’t keep doing it. You have to get something done and put it out and a bit of a breather before you do part 2. So it’s a possibility. But so is going in and doing a completely electronic album.  I’ve got no idea where I’m going. I never have had. I go in and I follow whatever feels right to me at that moment in time. So I cannot commit to doing a part 2 straight away but it was received so well that it would be a bit of a sin to not follow it up and do something else.  

UCR:  Final question.  Something that I’ve been very interested in with artists that have been around for a while.  And you’ve been a recording artist for 40 plus years now. So you’ve seen peaks and valleys in your career, but now things are stable.  You can book a tour and people will always show up. So what do you prefer, the peak, or the climb? Did you like the challenge of trying to become a successful artist, or do you prefer now, to where you’ve had the mainstream success, but now you have the stability of what your career produced?  

MU:  You’ve got to, on a purely human level, you’ve got to look back on the moment where things started to happen for you.  Everything changes. Except you. Hopefully. Everything around you changes. People attitudes towards you change. All of a sudden there’s a little bit of respect.  All of a sudden whenever you open your mouth, people want to hear what you have to say. And that can be a heady mix for any young person. I was in a sticky, smelly, carpeted rehearsal room when all of a sudden my manager walks in with a bottle of champagne saying you’ve got two top 40 singles and two top 40 albums all on the same day.  And that’s a wonderful feeling to think ‘Wow, I’ve I’ve done something kind of worthy’. But it’s a bit like a party. It’s over and done with very very quickly. And you’ve got to think ‘Ok, that was great. That peak was just wonderful. And that’s elevated me to allow me to do other things that could be more interesting. That could have longevity.’  Because as you say there are dips and peaks, but that success would give me a road that I can follow with that behind me. That little bit of success behind me has given me this ability to go forward and explore and do the things that I want to do. My first taste of commercial success was with a record that I didn’t write and I wasn’t allowed to play on.  And I vowed there and then that I would never, ever, ever allow myself to be put in that situation again. And I’ve never done it. I’ve followed my own weird, strange, wonderful, exciting path. And the fact, as you say, I have 40 plus years as a professional musician in this industry, I am just grateful that I wake up and I’m still allowed to do it. And that you only get by being stoic or being fastidious, or being stupid.  By sticking to your guns and doing what you think is interesting. As opposed to like, DJs coming in and remixing your music because that happens to be the current fad.

UCR:  Thank you so much Midge.  I could talk to you all day.  But I want you to rest that voice.  Can’t wait for September 5!

MU:  Thank you very much!  It was great talking to you again.  See you then!

Midge was so generous with his time!  We spoke about many other things, including the possibility of doing a concert with a live orchestra.  He hinted that something is in the works, but was not at liberty to say what just yet.  So keep your eyes peeled for that.  

Midge’s latest album Orchestrated is available everywhere! 

Mide Ure will be performing with Paul Young at The Commonwealth Room on Wednesday, September 5th.  To purchase tickets click here.  See you there!  

 

Dierks Bentley w/ Brothers Osborne August 29, 2018 USANA Amphitheater

Photo By: Matt Wolf

Dierks Bentley brought his Mountain High Tour to USANA Amphitheater this past Wednesday with The Brothers Osborne and LANCO.  There was some shuffling of dates to make this show happen. I believe the concert was originally supposed to take place in July, then it was rescheduled for August 30, and finally, August 29 was the date they settled in on.  Dierks mentioned later in the show that he changed the date because the University of Utah was playing their football opener against Weber State on August 30th and didn’t want to conflict with that. I’m not sure if that was the real reason, or in jest, but the crowd sure loved it regardless.  

Brothers Osborne

I showed up as The Brothers Osborne took the stage.   I hadn’t heard too much from them so I was happy to get the chance to hear their music.  I was immediately impressed with lead guitarist John Osborne. The guy shreds. He had some amazing solos and brought a real rock sensibility to the already heart thumping country music.  T.J. Osborne was solid on vocals. He has this rich low baritone bordering on bass voice that had many men trying to sing in that range, and many women melting at the sound of his pipes. He did a great job of getting the crowd going by walking to both ends of the enormous USANA Amphitheater stage so he could reach the whole audience.  He called out to the lawn and they roared back with gratitude for being recognized.

Photo By: Matt Wolf

The exciting but sometimes difficult thing about being a support act is that it’s your job to warm up the crowd.  But it’s also your job to warm up the crowd.   It’s not always an easy task.  I noticed people here and there getting up and dancing, but the majority of the front half of the venue was seated.  T.J. commented that this was a show where people should be up and dancing, and encouraged the seated audience to do so going forward. Unfortunately, he said that right before they went into a slow song.  The timing wasn’t great for that comment, however, once that song was over, the band finished their set with some big time upbeat country songs. The audience rose to their feet and remained there for the rest of the Brothers Osborne’s set.  They finished with “It Ain’t My Fault” and the crowd was singing and clapping along as if it was the last song of the entire evening.

Photo By: Matt Wolf

While the crew was setting up for Dierks Bentley, there was a DJ set up on the back of the seated area facing the lawn section.  I believe his name was DJ AYDAMN. He played songs like “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey and “Back in Black” by AC/DC. But when he played country songs, the crowd really got into it.  He played “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks and the place went nuts. I looked out into the lawn and people were dancing and singing as if they were actually at a Garth Brooks concert.  I have to admit, I didn’t expect to see that. It was pretty cool. If there was any doubt after Brothers Osborne, then the DJ assured me that the crowd was more than warmed up for Dierks.

Dierks Bentley

Photo By: Matt Wolf

The lights went out, and the entire audience stood right up.  They were clearly chomping at the bit for Dierks Bentley to come out.  He then appeared on a riser behind the drummer holding an acoustic guitar.  The crowd was so loud that I couldn’t make out what the song was for about twenty seconds.  Finally, I could hear that he was playing the title track off of his latest album The Mountain.  He then broke into “I Hold On”. It was a great start to a really good night.  Dierks ran out through the crowd, right by me actually.  Try not to get too jealous when I tell you that as he ran by me he gave me a high five.  Dierks sounded great, the crowd was really into it, and that combo will always make for a perfect concert.  

Photo By: Matt Wolf

If you’ve never been to a country concert, I recommend checking it out.  It’s just a totally different experience than other shows I’ve been to. There is this unique sense of being there for a good time, letting loose, and just enjoying the music.  Now you might be saying, “Isn’t that ever concert ever?”. And I get that you might think that. But there is just something different when it’s country music. Now I’m not even a die-hard country fan, I just totally appreciate the atmosphere at these shows.  Give it a try. You may not be converted to country music, but you’ll really enjoy the country music concert experience!

Now since this is the Mountain High Tour, Dierks mentioned how happy he was to be back in the Mountains.  The Arizona native talked about how much he enjoyed loved the west and returning to the region.  He said that this is the closest he’s been to his home state on this tour so he was treating it like a hometown show.

Photo By: Matt Wolf

I was disappointed to have missed seeing LANCO. People had been telling me that they are a great live band so it was unfortunate that I was unable to catch their set.  Because of this, you can imagine my excitement when I saw LANCO lead singer Brandon Lancaster walk out to do a song with Dierks. Dierks asked Brandon what song they were singing, suggesting that they do something from 90’s country music.  So Lancaster looked to Dierks band and said “Grundy”. Dierks looked over to the band, told them what key the song was in, and just like that they broke out into John Michael Montgomery’s 1995 hit “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)”. It appeared as if every fan in attendance knew all the words to this country gem.  Dierks and Brandon looked like they were having a blast on stage. My guess is they’ve done this song or others like it on other parts of the tour, but the fun they seemed to be having looked genuine, as was the excitement of the crowd to see them together.

Photo By: Matt Wolf

The most poignant and touching moment of the concert was when Dierks dedicated his song “Riser” to Draper Fire Chief Matt Burchett who passed away in the line of duty while fighting one of the huge fires in California.  Dierks stated that “He didn’t get out, but because of him others are (out of the fire). Some family and friends of Chief Burchett were in attendance, and I’m sure it was a special moment for them as it was for us in the audience who weren’t privileged to know him.  

On a lighter note, Dierks made his way to the platform where DJ ADAYMN had been earlier in the night.  He brought his acoustic and sang a couple songs. He also invited a man on to the platform to shotgun a beer with him.  Dierks said that he was the reigning champ and wanted to see if the man could beat him. In surprising fashion, the man in the Dallas Cowboys hat won and the lawn went crazy for him.  Dierks then returned to the main stage to finish the remainder of his set. He closed out the main set with “Sideways” changing one of the lyrics to say “Hey I like your sign”, referring to some twins who had a bright pink sign saying “Twins Love Dierks”.  That had to have made their night. And it was an impressive improvised lyric change.  He then left and the crowd roared for his return.

Photo By: Matt Wolf

When Dierks came back, he was in pilots gear, standing on a platform that would take him into the air as if he was in an airplane cockpit.  He then sang, “Drunk On a Plane”. I’m not a fan of one song encores, but with the production value that went into this song, It made sense to end with this and close the show.  The audience could have listened to another hour. But isn’t that usually the case when we’re seeing bands we like?

Photo By: Matt Wolf

Dierks Bentley and Utah seem like the perfect match.  I can’t imagine anyone having a bad time at this show.  I found myself just picking a spot in the general admission pit, and seeing what was happening with the different people my eyes fell on.  People were always smiling, always singing, and high fiving when they heard a song they liked. What more can you ask for?!

Photo By: Matt Wolf

 

Stone Temple Pilots, Bush, The Cult, Bones August 20, 2018 USANA Amphitheater


By: Tiffany Mull

I’m always fascinated by the crowd drawn to particular artists. There are definite patterns and traits, a continuity that falls in line with the artist’s style. Looking around the Stone Temple Pilots/Bush/The Cult/Bones audience, I see an abnormal amount of men in billed hats (the metal/biker kind, not sports). There is also an abnormal amount of facial hair. These aren’t hipster beards, though. These are I’ve-never-had-to-go-to-an-auto-mechanic-for-anything-in-my-life beards. There is a higher number of women in tank tops with big, Amy Winehouse hair (okay, maybe not quite that big) and heavy eye makeup than you would see on a normal day. Everyone looks like they lift.

 

All the Clever Ones are Lonely

Bones (UK), the opener, was the most engaging act of the evening. Not to slight later performances, Bones was simply exceptional. I was pleased to see these two as clear inheritors and evangelists of the riot grrrl movement (as someone who remembers how important bands like Sleater-Kinney were to my angsty adolescence).

Their recorded music has a heavier, industrial feel thanks to electronic drum and bass (see “Pretty Waste”). The live performance was straightforward, hard rock. Their presence was conversational; they made friends with the audience between songs. Rosie’s lyrics, charged with themes of self-acceptance, were emphasized by Carmen’s well-tempered, aggressive guitar that rigidly enforced tempo.

The video for “Beautiful is Boring” mockingly inverts the way sexes are portrayed in male-centric rock media and the lyrics are just the message young girls need to hear. The live performance of “Beautiful is Boring” featured a hooking, synchronized stomp. The touring drummer was on point the entire show.

“This doesn’t mean we’re afraid of Americans. It’s a cover. You all seem really nice,” Rosie clarified before delivering a high-octane take on the Bowie classic (yes, harder and heavier than the original, go buy it already). She tinkered with her own accent, alternating between “I’m afraid I can’t,” and “I’m afraid I cawhn’t,” playfully amping up and dialing back her Britishness.

They executed a vengeful, blues-infused “Girls Can’t Play Guitars,” written after a bloke from their ‘hood in Camden, London told them it was impossible for girls to play the instrument well. Rosie’s scratchy vocals are a fitting vehicle for righteous anger. You had to smile whenever Carmen’s soaring guitar solos rendered Rosie’s lyric, “Girls can’t play guitars, it’s biologically impossible,” sarcastic.

 

She Sells Sanctuary

Everyone stood when the graying, grizzled masculinity of The Cult took the stage, hammering out “Wild Flower.” Dressed in black, sporting jackets, sunglasses, and even a bandana, they looked like gothic truckers. The band made thematic use of the enormous screen behind them, displaying a blurred, kaleidoscopic image of a flower for their first piece, followed by slowed close-ups of raindrops when the tempo picked up with “Rain.” “Lil’ Devil” was accompanied, unsurprisingly, by a fast-forwarded, go-pro view from a motorcycle. The long instrumentals on “Sweet Soul Sister” were Billy Duffy’s and Grant Fitzpatrick’s playground, the music oozing from their guitars as naturally as sweat, accompanied by the sparse, atmospheric keyboarding of Damon Fox.

Ian Astbury stood on the stage like lead, one leg pulsing to the beat, occasionally strutting to the drums and back. He chanted the band’s faux-mysticism through “Elemental Light,” “She Sells Sanctuary,” and other numbers, eliciting a trance-like state aided by John Tempesta’s tireless drumming. Ian praised a spastic, whirling, gray-bearded man immediately to my right, saying, “Thank you, brother, I appreciate your energy, representing The Cult flow.”

 

Mickey Mouse Has Grown Up a Cow

Bush made a loud entrance with “Machinehead” followed by “This is War.” Gavin Rossdale’s explosive energy lasted through the entire set. He bolted, bounced, and leaped across the stage. He was never not jumping; his calves must be rocks. “I don’t care if it’s a Monday night,” he said, “It’s a weekend for me. I’m on tour. Every night is the f***ing weekend,” before starting in on “Everything Zen” accompanied by female silhouettes on the big screen (who eventually murdered each other with chainsaws). “The Sound of Winter” came with a video of girls in miniskirts and nylons swimming underwater. A drum-heavy, grunge-rock cover of “Come Together” (The Beatles) worked surprisingly well. Robin Goodridge, Chris Traynor, and Corey Britz all gave solid performances.

Gavin asked the audience to take out their cell phones and light each other up so he could see our faces. We obeyed. He asked the venue to shine lights on the audience. They obeyed. “That’s beautiful,” he said, “we’re stratospheric, floating on a cloud, different people with different beliefs getting along together, coexisting.” This heightened the effect when all lights went out, replaced by a single white light on Gavin, his burnt voice modulating “Glycerine” alone on stage accompanied only by his own guitar. The band dramatically joined in for the last third of the song. These three-and-a-half minutes were the only time Gavin stood still.

Bush closed with “Comedown,” allowing the audience to carry one of the choruses: fandom proven.

 

It’s Just Burning, Itching Memory

Jeff Gutt, a new addition to Stone Temple Pilots, confidently stepped into the shoes of a rock god. His voice is more sonorous than Scott Weiland’s while maintaining the aggression necessary to the band’s sound. The band entered with ultimate swagger, slaying “Wicked Garden.”

 

Jeff’s presence was fluid and feline. He prowled across the stage, taut muscles crouching, swaying, and sashaying. His movements somehow flirted with the notion of effeminacy without abandoning virile manliness. Example: during the second number, Jeff stretched his lower body on the floor, using one arm to support his arched torso in a Little-Mermaid-on-the-rocks pose while simultaneously emitting a masculine howl into the mic in his other hand. The effect was alluring—for everyone.

 

Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo, and Eric Kretz were in full control of their instruments. The inevitable headbangers made themselves known during “Down” and again during “Dead and Bloated.” Jeff gradually stripped, first shedding his leather jacket, later flicking his sunglasses into the crowd, eventually unbuttoning, and then losing his shirt. He ran deep into the audience during “Roll Me Under,” squirming through people who—I’m sure—did not expect to be up close, much less delivering backslaps.

The band closed with the late Scott Weiland’s “Sex Type Thing,” an unsettling evocation/condemnation of toxic masculinity in the form of date rape. It’s always sounded a little too celebratory for my ears. Monday’s performance was no exception.