Kilby Court Block Party 3• May 13 & 14, 2022• Library Square
Reviewed and Photographed by Jacob Moniz
Kilby Block Party!
Sartain & Saunders kicked off the summer with a bang! On the weekend of May 13th, they put on their third annual Kilby Block Party. They really stepped up the festival a ton from the previous years. They completely filled up the Salt Lake City public library grounds. Having artists like Mac Demarco, Phoebe Bridgers, Steve Lacy, Clairo, and countless other great artists playing all within 2 days. I was super excited that they provided local artists the opportunity to play the festival as well. The way the lineup schedule was laid out this year, allowed fans to be able to see any and every artist they wanted to. At maximum, there were 2 stages out of the 4 running at the same time. But each set was staggered so you could still attend both without stress.
Starting off the weekend I raced over to the festival to catch one of my personal favorite local bands, “Worlds Worst”. I got there about halfway through their set. While I was getting to the entrance I could hear the crowd screaming their song “Balloons”. As I entered I could see the huge crowd they had gathered. It’s surreal to see an artist you’re close with play to a ton of people and see the reaction of people who are new to their music. It’s crazy to see people from all over discover the Utah music scene and what it has to offer. I was super stoked to see Worlds Worst on this lineup because they definitely deserve to be seen. If you haven’t heard of them before, definitely check them out and you won’t regret it.
Blue Rain Boots
I also had the opportunity to document the day for my close friends in Blue Rain Boots. They played last year’s Kilby Block party on the 2nd main stage. They had the same opportunity this year. But with how massive the festival was it was very exciting to see the growth from the band year to year. The nerves really started to kick in once doors opened and fans started to crowd the barricade.
At first, I thought it was just the crowd who were going to wait for the whole festival to see Steve Lacy. But as the band started playing everyone in the front was singing along to the music. Even with them being the first band on and having the sun beat down on them it had to have been one of the best BRB shows I’ve seen. The energy and excitement they had while playing pulled a great crowd and made for an awesome set.
Car Seat Headrest
Back to the first day one of my favorite sets was from Car Seat Headrest. Even though it was my first time listening to them I fell in love with their sound and performance. Fans swarmed the North stage about 20 minutes before they started and the crowd filled passed the sound board. The great thing about KBP was everyone in the local music scene was there.
I had tons of friends I made through photographing the scene there at the festival. So on my way to the photo pit, I saw just about everyone waiting for them to take stage. They all told me I’m not ready for them to play.
As soon as the crowd spotted lead singer Will Toledo everyone went wild! They opened with “Fill In The Blank”, filling the street with a massive wall of sound. Quite possibly my favorite part was seeing the people who made their way to the barricade screaming their favorite lyrics. The energy the crowd gave back to CSH was incredible to capture.
Since her last time being in SLC was in 2019 plenty of fans from not only Utah but all over the place started filling the crowd as soon as Car Seat Headrest was over. They wanted to make sure to save their spot to see Clairo just about an hour later. Most people at the barricade stayed for over 5 hours just to see her play! As her set time approached fans from the front to the back almost filling the entire street started a chant saying her name. “Clairo! Clairo! Clairo!” echoed through the crowd. Then there was a brief moment of silence until her band started taking their spots on stage.
Every ounce of silence was quickly replaced with almost the loudest cheering I’ve ever heard. It only amplified once she walked on stage! As she was walking to her piano she had the biggest smile on her face. She went on to play an hour set consisting of some of her hits like “Sofia” “Pretty Girl” and “Bags”.
Kilby Block Party was technically one of Mac Demarco’s first shows in SLC. I believe this was a great warm welcome to the great beehive state. With his set being the end of the night the entire street filled all the way to the other stage. The crowd spilled into the library grounds. The sun had finally set and the weather was starting to cool down. Surprisingly with a full day of back to back performances the crowd had more energy than before. A couple of fans even crowd surfed before he got on stage. Mac had been in town since Tuesday just hanging around SLC. He had actually been rehearsing in a friend of mine’s studio for the week! It was great hearing the stories of my buddies meeting one of their idols.
Starting off slow opening with “On the Level” the crowd was grooving to the slower guitar riffs and as the song ended Mac shouted “Now we’re going!” and played a chaotic riff leading into his hit “Salad Days”. His crowd interaction was incredible, he was so stoked to play SLC, and seeing the energy that the crowd had in reaction to him was amazing. During his set, he mentioned after the set he’s going to go out on the town after the rock show! He ended up going to the after party which completely packed the Urban Lounge for Choir Boys after party set.
Day 2 was absolutely incredible. I was there all day from doors to close and plenty of great local bands had the opportunity to play. Doors had opened 2 hours earlier than the day before and it was awesome to see the number of people who showed up to give the local openers a shot. A few of my favorite smaller/earlier sets were Blue Rain Boots, Casio Ghost, The Rubies, Future Ex-Boyfriend Soccer Mommy, Animal Collective, and Alvvays. I thought the schedule was a perfect fit opening for the main acts.
One of my favorite sets of both days had to have been Steve Lacys, even though I haven’t really listened to his music prior. Each fan I had the opportunity to speak to made me even more excited to see his set. People had been telling me about how great it was going to be since doors had opened. High anticipation had set in as soon as I entered the photo pit while the crowd let out another massive “Steve! Steve! Steve!” chant. Finally once his band started to take stage the crowd let out a huge collective scream and the drummer played a quick rhythm to get the crowd excited.
Moments after Steve took the stage with a huge smile on his face, waving to fans as he walked out. He then joined the rest of the band in a funky groove. My favorite part about his set is how active he was with his fans. He would walk on the speakers set in front of the stage and wave and smile out at the crowd and the people in the front would go absolutely nuts.
Phoebe Bridgers had fans crying in excitement even before she and her band had even taken the stage. Some people in the front had been waiting at the barricade since the doors had opened so they could secure their front row spot. After the house music had shut off and a brief moment of silence, the drum pattern from “Down with the Sickness” by Disturbed started playing and fans went wild. Fog filled the stage, and moments after the band took their places. Each band member in the iconic Phoebe Bridgers skeleton onesies. Cheers filled the crowd that lined all the way to the other side of the festival. Phoebe then emerged from behind the mountain-themed drum set stage and the cheers got even louder.
After letting the Disturbed song play for a little longer she opened with her hit “Motion Sickness”. It was beautiful hearing that volume of people singing back to her! After the song had ended Phoebe told the crowd “Damn! You guys are going to make me cry!” whilst tearing up. She then continued to play songs like “Kyoto”, “Garden Song” and multiple other hits. Towards the end of the show, the crowd collectively asked her to play “Georgia” and she had told the crowd she hadn’t practiced it at all but with their help, she would sing it. She continued to play the song flawlessly and then ended off the night with “I Know the End” finishing the 3rd Annual Kilby Block Party off with a sweet finale.