By: Alex Wardell
I love springtime, the new beginnings, the fresh smell in the air and let’s not forget the wonderful memories to which we must cling; the future and creating memories may be postponed longer than we may like. However, I refuse to let this period of unrest damper our ability to reminisce and enjoy recent events and anticipate greater things to come. Maybe, my taking, much, much too long in finishing this review for once, is a good thing. Giving us this opportunity to remember a better moment. Today’s review comes from way too long ago, when I had the opportunity to enjoy four groups of performers and songwriters from our very own city and surrounding communities. I was invited to cover this show at the Beehive by some of our local performers. I was excited about this show. More than most. If anything, platforms like this one are ideal for local musicians to be recognized. At the risk of sensationalizing my reviews any more than I do, I have to come out and say this concert was hands down my favorite of the year, so far.
Four groups were playing inside this most intimate venue on 666 South in Salt Lake City. I had never been to The Beehive before and I must say I was intrigued as to how the show was going to take shape. The front of the venue is a bar/ restaurant and the stage was a covered, possibly out of commission rigged and lit platform in the back. The concrete floor and lack of a place to sit did nothing but increase my excitement and anticipation for the night ahead, a night, for which I was completely unprepared. I was not familiar with any of these bands before that night. I had listened to a bit to Savage Daughters after talking with them a bit, yet today, I still find myself scouring the internet for more of their deeper cut tracks, new releases, and live performance videos.
The line-up went: Breakfast In Silence from Boise, Idaho, Sonnets from Salt Lake, Sun Blood Stories from Boise, and Savage Daughters from Salt Lake City. All at once, the soundcheck was upon us and musicians began setting up six feet in front of me in the thinly populated space. It was more than interesting to observe the milieu of fans gathering around the performers; all different colors of hair, wardrobes, etc.; all passionate and as diverse and intriguing within any event I can recall.
Breakfast In Silence begins performing, facing away from the crowd, which seemed very strange and off-putting at first but since has become a style of performing which is apparently not uncommon. The emotion with which Ashleigh performs and the power brought to the table by Russ Wood and Val Brown makes up a trio with the ability to transport you to an emotionally tumultuous time and uses Alsheigh’s voice to somehow guide your past self away from the edge. A wonderful way to open up this show. I was so glad and jealous of Boise for sharing this group as well as keeping them for itself.
Sonnets, Sonnets, Sonnets, Sonnets….this is where my attempt in not using sensationalized language and writing will fail and gladly. There were a few points in the night when I was caught off guard and found my own eyes briefly watering at the edges. Sonnets was one of them. Again, beginning the set facing away from the audience the power and attitude behind this group of performers is nothing but organic, incredible. Their gothic and ambient hardcore sound resonated with me in a way that reminded me of my first hardcore show. It was again transporting and dynamic. Kale Morse’s vocals are unique and moving, the melodic introductions in some songs, drew the crowd in and then completely blew our minds as we were nodding along. In a sense, their tone really can align with current events in the world: all of us living in a state of complacency then shocked into a torrent of uncertainty and raw fear. Chuck Pak and Ryan Tuttle are accomplished composers and multi-talented forces of attitude as they worked the pedals in a harmonic procession, softly parading the structure of each track, then hammering riffs as quickly as I could follow. Their high energy and seemingly out of control stage presence was incredible. I had no idea how Tommy could flail and dive so fervently and keep time as he threw himself all over the floor and back again. These groups have a live sound that most bands would kill for and practice relentlessly to achieve. I have been listening to all of their discographies on repeat ever since this show. Well produced as they are, very well produced; it seems that their recorded songs only make me hungry for another live show.
Sun Blood Stories is definite proof of that. This regularly three-piece group from Boise, Idaho is electric, to say the least. Amber Pollard, a dynamo with her haunting vocals and amazing skills on the bass synth lay the groundwork for an ethereal musical experience. She is joined in this eerie precession by Ben Kirby with complicated and truthful guitar composition that I find an amazing feat to be played live. Jon Fust is the wizard that transitions the set from mood to mood with crashing cymbals, tentative reprieves, and unsettling changes. A long set of intricate battles within oneself as well as the skies to which we call home, Sun Blood Stories has much more in store for us and I am listening.
I had hardly noticed how long I had been there standing with my jaw dropped to the concrete floor while I listened to Savage Daughters. This trio, which I learned had only reunited for this particular show; Victoria Lopez(Vocals and Bass), Alex Lopez(Lead Vocals and Guitar) and Summer Sigritz(Drums and Vocals). Each one being, seemingly the integral part of the band without separation. Their first show of the year, after releasing their most recent album ‘Burn’ summer of 2019. The album is perceptive, unique and powerfully moving. The feeling within each track is insurmountably coated by each member’s personal experience and depth. It is this feeling that is magnified one thousand percent by their live performance. Each song was kind of unrecognizable from the album in a way that could only be described as profound.
I am so much more than grateful, indebted even to these musicians for their talent and their burning want to share their passions with the world. To me, each one of these performers are anomalies and posts in the concrete that is the music industry today. Each group is so strong I believe their style will be emulated for the next ten years to come and they will only adapt and evolve to create the next great style. I am literally shaking in anticipation for the next album, the next concert, the next gathering of these great minds and talents. I am listening intently. Please keep it coming.