It’s always good to see a jam-packed USANA Amphitheater. It means that summer has arrived and good times concerts have moved to our great outdoor venues. I don’t know if I’ve seen USANA this packed since Def Leppard played here last. There was a buzz in the air as Goo Goo Dolls and Train fans made their way through the turnstiles.
I’ve been a David Gray fan for a long time. I’ve seen him in Los Angeles, in London and many times here in Salt Lake City. I do whatever I can to be sure to see him whenever he tours. There was even one time when David Gray was coming to Kingsbury Hall and I wasn’t going to be able to attend. I was forced to summon the assistance of the concert gods and David ended up needing to reschedule that concert for a date that I could attend. And that concert was so good! When I saw that DG was bringing his Gold in a Brass Age Tour to Salt Lake I was thrilled. But when I noticed that the concert would be taking place at the Eccles Theater I couldn’t think of a better combination. And I was not wrong.
Saturday, June 15, 2019, Salt Lake City was blessed with the appearance of the sister, pop- duo Aly & AJ. Fans of all ages anxiously waited outside The Complex hours before doors opened, so they could snag a good spot. The iconic sister duo came back from a 10-year hiatus from music last year, and just released their new EP Sanctuary last month. For a lot of fans, this would be their first time seeing the girls live because of their 10 year break. It was amazing to see young kids to grown adults in line. If you were a Disney Channel kid like I was, then you know just how amazing Aly & AJ are! They were a huge part of my childhood, with their catchy songs and unforgettable music videos that would play during commercial breaks. When I think of them, it takes me back to simpler days in the 2000’s era. They remind me of summer breaks and my pre-teen bedroom, covered in posters from those teen magazines! So I was excited to hear them perform live too!
The day LANY comes to town should be an official holiday in Utah because it’s a day that every teen and young adult looks forward to. This last Tuesday, LANY made a stop at The Great Saltair in Magna. Fans had been anxiously waiting outside of the venue since as early as Sunday morning in hopes to be squished against the barrier to be as close as possible to their favorite band. Many fans made new friends with each other as they waited for hours on end in line.
Back in 2010 Corey Fox, owner of Velour Live Music Gallery and singer-songwriter, Joshua James put together the first Fork Fest. It’s an event that is still talked about to this day. Now in 2019, the Harrington Center for the Arts got involved and brought back this amazing festival that spotlights the best local talent in Utah.
This event could easily, and perhaps should be called Velour Fest because these bands have all graced the stage at one point or another of the iconic Utah County venue and champion for musicians in the area. There were 28 bands on the lineup, each of them at varying stages of their musical career. I’ve seen local music all over this great nation of ours. I’m continually in awe of the talent pool here in Utah. If you heard that any one of these bands were signed (whatever that means nowadays) and were heading on a nationwide headlining tour you wouldn’t be surprised. There is not only an embarrassment of riches when it comes to music talent here in Utah, but there is real professionalism in their approach to their music. Many of them started at an open mic night or a battle of the bands. But when they stepped on to one of the three Fork Fest stages they looked like seasoned veterans.
If you had told me thirty years ago that I would be covering a New Kids on the Block concert I would never have believed you. For starters, I don’t think thirty years younger me would have known that I’d be covering concerts at all. He also probably thought there was no way he’d ever be caught going to an NKOTB show. What boy in his early teens is going to like a group that is taking all the attention away from him and his other guy friends. Now if you told me thirty years ago that I would be going to a New Kids on the Block concert and liking it, well I would have just called you a liar. But I went to the NKOTB Mixtape Tour at Vivint Arena and left extremely entertained! There is something to be said about putting on a quality show. The New Kids invited some artists from their hay day to join them on the tour. Salt-N-Pepa, Naughty By Nature, Tiffany and Debbie Gibson filled out the Mixtape Tour lineup. The combination of these 80s superstars filled the evening with nostalgia and a really good time.
BILLIE. FREAKING. EILISH. WOW! On Tuesday, June 4 Billie brought the most amazing and well put on show I have ever attended to The Great Saltair. As early as 6 am on Tuesday, fans arrived dressed head to toe in Billie’s merch and sat in line all day hoping to get a good enough spot to see this talented 17-year-old perform. The freeway exit to the Saltair was completely backed up due to the number of people anxiously arriving to attend this show. The Great Saltair is all the way out in Magna and there is only one exit to the venue and one parking lot so it was pretty crazy getting all of the cars in.
On Saturday, June 1st, Parachute made their Utah tour stop at The Depot in Downtown Salt Lake City! I personally have loved Parachute since I was 15 years old. I had never seen them before so I was stoked to finally get to see the Charlottesville Virginia based band for the first time in concert. I love their upbeat and fun style of music. I couldn’t wait to see what type of show they would put on.
The Depot has always been one of my favorite venues so I’m always excited when I find out a band is performing there. It was a great fit for this show! As for attendance, I felt like the room was completely packed from front to back. I was surprised when I heard that The Depot wasn’t sold out. I heard the same thing when I coverd Walk Off the Earth. It was so packed in there I don’t know how it wasn’t a sellout!
Parachute performed beautifully throughout the night and brought so much energy. One of my favorite songs from Parachute is “Can’t Help”. I might be biased but to me, that was the best song of the night. They also played other popular songs like “Jennie”, “Something to Believe In”, and “Kiss Me Slowly”. Each and every one of those performances were insanely good! The crowd seemed to be having a good time. There was a good mix of teenagers and adults and it seemed like everyone danced and sang the night away.
My favorite part of the show was hearing how highly lead singer, Will Anderson spoke of Salt Lake City. He mentioned that there was a different energy from any other show. Anderson expressed how he was always so excited to perform in Salt Lake every year because it has been his favorite for many years.
As I mentioned, The Depot was a fantastic venue to host this concert. They do very well with sound and the lighting looks great in there. When the sound and lighting are it makes for a really fun atmosphere to be in. You never want to leave! Unfortunately, once Parachute came out and played “Lonely With Me” for their encore, it was time to go. The Depot will forever be one of my favorite venues to attend.
I feel like I’ve been circling around The Hollering Pines for a few years. The first time I saw Marie Bradshaw, Kiki Jane Sieger, Dylan Schorer, Daniel Young and M. Horton Smith perform was at The State Room for a Bruce Springsteen tribute show where a variety of local artists performed Born in the USA in its entirety. A few nights later I saw many of these artists perform with Americana super group The Lower Lights at their annual Christmas concert. It was only after that show I realized that these five members were their own band. I quickly jumped onboard the Hollering Pines train and don’t plan on getting off any time soon.
This Friday (June 7) The Hollering Pines will be releasing their third album, Moments in Between. Concurrently they will be performing an album release show at Commonwealth Studios.
I had the opportunity to visit with Hollering Pines drummer, Daniel Young leading up to the show and album release. Hope you enjoy our conversation!
Memphis McCool is a band located right here in Utah. They’ve been assembled for just a year and already they’re playing festivals, and art shows. They’ll be at Park Silly Market this Sunday, June 2. I had the opportunity to speak with John McCool about the band and his experience in music. I really enjoyed our conversation. Hope you do too! Here it is…
Utah Concert Review: So first things first, what’s your role in the band?
John McCool: All right, my name is John and I am the lead guitar player and the songwriter. But I kind of define myself as the primary song generator.
UCR: Nice. And how did you guys all come together as a band?