UCR mini-Interview: Midge Ure on “Do They Know it’s Christmas”

By: Kevin Rolfe

Original Album Cover

Thirty-four years ago today, the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Band Aid was released.  Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldof saw a report on the BBC about the famine in Africa and desperately wanted to help.  He recruited Ultravox frontman, Midge Ure, to write a song with him in the hopes of raising $100,000 for famine relief.  They wrote the song in a few days, and then they took to their individual assignments in getting this project off the ground.

 Midge locked himself in the studio, recording, arranging, and producing the track so that it would be ready when the time came to add vocals.  That was Geldof’s job. Bob Geldof went on a mission to form a one-off supergroup by recruiting some of the biggest voices in British music of the day.  He didn’t go through managers or publicists. He went straight to the artists themselves. He recruited the likes of Bono of U2, Boy George of Culture Club, Simon Lebon of Duran Duran, Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet, and George Michael of Wham.  These vocalists along with many others agreed to show up and record this song over a 24 hour period. The song was recorded and released the very next day. It was the fastest selling single in UK chart history selling 1 million copies in the first week and has sold almost 4 million copies in the UK to date and about 13 million worldwide.  The song did not raise $100,000 dollars. However, within a year of its release, the song had raised $8 million. The success of the song drove Geldof and Ure to put together one of the greatest concert festivals of all time, Live Aid. Continue reading “UCR mini-Interview: Midge Ure on “Do They Know it’s Christmas””

Trans Siberian Orchestra November 20, 2018 Vivint Arena Salt Lake City

By Kevin Rolfe

Photo by: Kevin Rolfe

You know when you walk into a venue and there’s a sign taped to every door warning of lasers, flashing lights, and pyrotechnics, that you’re in store for quite an experience. And what an experience it was! Trans-Siberian Orchestra is celebrating their twentieth anniversary, but from the looks of things, there are no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

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UCR Interview- Justin Hambly

Interview By: Kevin Rolfe 

Justin Hambly performing at the Angelus Theater. Photo by: Kevin Rolfe

Note from the interviewer:

Justin is a singer songwriter from Aptos, California.  He has been performing in bands for years, but it’s only within the last decade that he’s taken to writing/ recording his own music and performing solo shows or with his band The Heavy Hand along the west coast.  I’ve known Justin for over twenty years.  These are questions and stories that I have wondered about and am now so happy to have answers to.  I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I had conducting it!

Utah Concert Review:  As long as I’ve known you, you’ve been involved with music, whether it be with your former band Moz Eizley, or your current band The Heavy Hand and of course your solo work as well. I guess I’ve never known where you got started with music.  I know your dad plays a little guitar and is in a band right now. Is that how you got your start?

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The Alarm November 2, 2018 The Commonwealth Room Salt Lake City

By: Kevin Rolfe

Photo By: Kevin Rolfe

If I had to describe Friday night at The Commonwealth Room in three words, I’d have to say, Passionate, Energetic, and Emotional.  The Alarm pulled no punches in their return to Salt Lake City. I was exhausted after the show, and I didn’t even perform! I don’t know how Mike Peters and the gang perform at that high a level night in and night out.

The Alarm opened their set with one of their many hit songs, “Rain in the Summertime”.  It may as well have been the encore the way the crowd was roaring. They didn’t miss a beat with “Beautiful”, a song off of their latest album Equals, followed by “Strength”.  I was impressed at just how well their new song fit with a couple of their classic favorites.  

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Goo Goo Dolls November 1, 2018 The Depot Salt Lake City

By: Justin Hicken w/ contributions by Hannah SpencerPhoto By: Kevin Rolfe

While they easily could have played to a much larger sold-out venue, The Goo Goo Dolls chose to keep things intimate Thursday night November 1st at The Depot in Salt Lake City. The 1,200 person-capacity room was the choice for The Goo Goo Dolls and it was extremely cozy. The Depot was jam packed! Chillier temperatures have hit Utah, and while it was tricky to stay warm in line outside The Depot, things really warmed up once you got inside the venue, and especially when the band took the stage.

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UCR Interview- Mike Peters of The Alarm

Interview by: Kevin Rolfe

Photo By: Stuart Ling

If you were to write a screenplay using only actual events from the life of Mike Peters, a Hollywood exec would turn it down and say that it was too unbelievable.  The man has had an amazing career with his band The Alarm, fought through the challenges of an aging band in a youth driven music industry, and most importantly, overcome cancer three times.  Mike has co-founded the Love Hope Strength Foundation, the worlds leading rock and roll cancer foundation. They host bone marrow screening drives at concerts across the world hoping to “Save Lives, once concert at a time!”.  Along with Jules, his wife/ bandmate and fellow cancer survivor, Mike joins forces with Robin Wilson of Gin Blossoms, and Billy Duffy of The Cult to climb to some of the highest peaks in the world to perform the world’s highest concerts on land.  They are now taking their treks to the great canyons of the world. This past week they took part in Love Hope Strength Foundation’s Rock The Canyons fundraising event where they hiked through Sedona’s Red Rock State Park, along the famous Bright Angel Trail and the South Kaibab Trail then continuing to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.  I was able to catch up with Mike just after this event. We speak about his adventure in Southern Utah, and he shares many career spanning stories. Enjoy!

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Noah Kahan October 23, 2018 The State Room Salt Lake City

By: Kevin Rolfe

Photo By: Kevin Rolfe

The last time Noah Kahan was in Utah he opened for George Ezra.   Just five months later, Noah played his own headlining, sold out show at The State Room. Things are really starting to happen for Noah and you could feel it in the crowd, and in his performance on Tuesday night.

The room went dark, and above the stage “Noah Kahan” appeared in neon lights.  The audience roared and got louder still when Noah appeared from backstage. It seemed difficult for Noah to hide how much he enjoyed the applause.  He might not have been trying. Can’t say I blame him.  I would be smiling ear to ear if a sold out venue was cheering for me like that.

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UCR Interview- Noah Kahan

Interview By: Kevin Rolfe

Photo By: Alaina Mullin

Noah Kahan is an up and coming singer songwriter.  He actually might be past the “up and coming stage” since his show here in Utah is a sellout.  I had the chance to speak with Noah leading up to his show at The State Room.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed speaking with Noah.  

UCR: Where are you currently?

Noah Kahan: Today we are out in Canada in Toronto.

UCR: Nice! How’s the tour going so far?

NK: It’s been amazing. Not really like any other tour I’ve done since I’m headlining the states and a lot of the shows have been sold out. It’s been super surreal and really really rewarding.

UCR: I bet! The show here in Salt Lake City, at The State Room, is sold out. Now, I’ll never know what that feels like. Many people reading this interview will never know what it feels like to have a sold out show. It’s something I’d say most music fans can only fantasize about, but you’re actually having that experience. What does it feel like?

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Jimmy Buffett October 17, 2018 Vivint Arena Salt Lake City

By: Kevin Rolfe 

What would you say is the best way to stay warm as the temperatures here in Utah begin to drop?  Bundle up? Throw a log into the fireplace? Hot cocoa? Those are all great ideas.  I submit that the best way to get warm on a cool fall night is to see Jimmy Buffett in concert.  

Buffett made his much-anticipated return to Salt Lake City and he made Vivint Smart Home Arena feel like a tropical paradise. ( Was going to say he turned Vivint Arena into Margaritaville, but seriously, how many times has that line been used when discussing his concerts?)  Jimmy Buffett had been away from Utah for 27 years. The guy knows when to make his stops in Utah. He came to what was then the Delta Center when it was brand new and then returns to what is now Vivint Smart Home Arena after it’s completely renovated.

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Jessie J October 8, 2018 The Depot Salt Lake City

By: Kevin Rolfe

Photo By: Kevin Rolfe

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.

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