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.
The first time I ever heard NEEDTOBREATHE was from a YouTube video of them performing one of my favorite Christmas songs “Go Tell it On the Mountain”. I absolutely loved that version and I watched that video dozens of times over the Holiday Season. So when I saw a few months back that they would be playing Utah I knew I wanted to cover their concert. I just had a good feeling that I’d be entertained by their live show. I had never even heard any of their original music. When I googled the band to get a little background I saw a lot coming up about NEEDTOBREATHE being a “Christian Rock” band or articles written about “Are they or aren’t they Christian Rock”. Nothing against Christian Rock but it comes with the stigma that “It’s not really rock”, or it is watered down because of its subject matter. Whether that’s true or not is a debate for another day. I only wondered what type of concert I would be going to. Would it be a more traditional concert like the ones I’m used to going to? Or would it be a concert with a lot of preachin’ both in the music and the spoken word? I did see an article in Rolling Stone where NEEDTOBREATHE stated that they don’t put labels on their music and because it can be limiting. They feared that they had been passed over by people who may have enjoyed their music because of being labeled a Christian Rock band. So I told myself before going that I would be open-minded to whatever I was going to see and make my decision after the concert was over.
The moment I walked into The Commonwealth Room I could feel the energy swirling throughout the venue. The buzz of excitement and anticipation was nearly tangible. The venue was sold out, and the audience was ready for the extremely talented Jenny Lewis to take the stage. The photographers were given their final instructions and we were escorted to the pit in front of the stage. As I walked through the doors to the main room I as big a crowd as I’ve ever seen at The Commonwealth Room. Once into the pit, I enjoyed a brief but entertaining conversation with some of the other photographers and a couple of people resting on the railing in the front row. But then that moment we all wait for when the venue goes black to signal the start of the show. It’s one of the least spoken about moments in a concert, but the drama and excitement it provides creates one of my favorite moments in live music.
In a darkened venue we began to hear a familiar tune. It was Tommy Tune’s 80s gem “867-5309/’ Jenny” playing through the speakers as the band started to walk on stage. I looked to a photographer next to me and we both smiled and stated how perfect that was. Jenny later in the show joked about it suggesting it was silly. But I thought it was pretty clever.
When people think of Colin Hay, I’d imagine the first thing they think of is his band Men at Work. Understandably so. While Men at Work only released three albums and the original lineup was only together for seven years, the band left a lasting mark on the music world, particularly in the 80’s music scene. And who can think of Australia without their mega-hit, “Down Under” popping in their head? That being said, I have always been told just how great Hay’s solo work is, and that if he comes through town I should absolutely see him. So I did just that. I was fortunate to finally see Colin Hay on May 15, 2019, at The Commonwealth Room in Salt Lake City.
It’s hard to believe, but Salt Lake City’s most iconic all-ages concert venue turns twenty. To celebrate, local concert presenters Sartain and Saunders closed off 700 South, (the street that Kilby Court is connected to) and threw a block party. S & S threw a wide net and brought in artists who have graced the Kilby Court stage over the past two decades. Bands like Ritt Momney and The Backseat Lovers who are up and comers in Utah and are on their way to larger success. Then there’s a band like Picture This, who played Kilby Court for the first time at this event. They’re a band from Ireland who have sold out stadiums and arenas in their native country. But it seems it like it’s necessary for any band that wants to get noticed in Utah, they must play Kilby Court. An artist like singer-songwriter Joshua James who has made his mark in Utah and been able to branch out to surrounding states with great success. Then there’s the band The National Parks. These guys have just exploded here in Utah and their success just keeps growing and growing. That brings us to the headliners of this festival, Death Cab for Cutie. A band that played Kilby Court way back in 1999. And it goes without saying that they’ve had remarkable success for the past twenty years.
Walk Off the Earth kicked off the U.S. leg of their world tour on Tuesday night and Salt Lake City was lucky enough to host it. The Depot was filled from the barriers all the way to the back of the venue with people of all ages anxiously waiting for Walk off the Earth to come out. Their set began with a video of them accidentally being in Tampa instead of Salt Lake City and the race to get there on time. After the video ended, the room went dark and everyone screamed with excitement.
When I first saw that Picture This would be playing Kilby Court on May 11 I thought ‘Great. I’m not familiar with these guys so Kilby Court will be perfect for them.’. Then I rechecked the date and realized that May 11 would be the Kilby Court 20th Anniversary Block Party. Death Cab For Cutie, who had played the all-ages venue way back in 1999 would be headlining the festival along with many bands who started in Utah and have since gained national attention. When I learned this I thought, what a perfect situation for Picture This to get some great attention here in Utah.
Carlie Hanson is a singer-songwriter from La Crosse Wisconson. She is getting ready to release her first EP Junk on June 7th. Her current single “Back in my Arms” was just released in April and is getting a ton of play. I had the opportunity to speak with Carlie the day before her show at The Depot. I really enjoyed chatting with her. Enjoy!
Utah Concert Review: Hi Carlie how are you? Where are you currently?
Carlie Hanson: Hii, Kevin! I’m good, very good. I’m in Denver right now where we’re doing a show tonight.
UCR: Well, we’re excited to have you here in Utah.
CH: We played Salt Lake City one other time and it was one of my most memorable/ favorite concerts ever. Like the crowd was just unreal. Everyone was so hype. We played in like this little garage. I think it was called Kilby Court.
This was the first Sabroso Festival in Utah. The show is usually based in California so I was excited to see that they were touring the Fest and bringing it to Utah. I’d say it was a huge success. There were a lot of people at the fairgrounds. The food and drink lines were never short. I was hoping to get a taste of the tacos, but I really didn’t want to miss any of the bands or the lucha libre wrestling. So I stayed away from the lines. The food must have been really good because one taco cart actually ran out of meat! The crowd seemed to really enjoy the festival. Here’s hoping that Sabroso Festival in Utah is a continuing tradition. Here are some photos of the bands and the festival with a brief rundown on everything that went on.