SLC Twilight: Lord Huron

Lord Huron• w/ Allie Crow Buckley• & Little Moon• June 2, 2023• Gallivan Center

Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe

Photo Credit: Kevin Rolfe

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year.  Well, a year and a few days.  On Memorial Day 2022, Lord Huron played a sold-out show at the Sandy Amphitheater.  If you remember it wasn’t your typical Memorial Day.  It was cold and windy.  It was snowing in Park City and the threat of rain in the valley was real.  The skies fortunately cleared and despite the cold, the concert went off without a hitch. Mostly without a hitch. 

Lord Huron founder and frontman, Ben Schneider had played in Boise the night prior and I believe caught a cold that caused him to start to lose his voice. He powered through and from what I remember he only had to cut the show by one song.  Following our show here in Utah, Lord Huron was set to play a string of sold-out gigs in Colorado at Red Rocks Amphitheater.  I’m sure his vocal condition was scary, but from what I heard he did just fine in Colorado. 

When SLC Twilight announced their 2023 lineup, the first one on the list being Lord Huron I was excited that they were coming back.  Despite my concerns over the location of the concert, I knew that more people would get to see Lord Huron as the Gallivan Center can fit more than Sandy Amp. It was a night packed with really talented musicians.

SLC Twilight

SLC Twilight Concert Series entered its 36th year. That’s an impressive run.  I’ve seen a number of series come and go in that time and this one has held strong.  Year in and year out SLC Twilight cultivates an impressive lineup. This season would be no different.  Some of my favorite bands are in the lineup this year.  Bands, like Trampled By Turtles, Death Cab For Cutie, and The Head and The Heart, are bands I look forward to seeing every chance I get.  It was like this year’s series was created specifically for me! 

As I walked up to the Gallivan Center I saw a large line that was wrapped around the block.  It moved at a steady pace and one by one Lord Huron fans got through that line only to jump into the extremely long merch line.  But I get it, there was some really cool gear people needed to get their hands on.  They were smart to get in the merch line quickly because, by the time I made my way over there, there were quite a few items that had sold out.  Eventually, all the lines, whether they were to enter the venue, to buy merch, or to buy drinks disappeared and they joined forces to create the ocean of people in the massive general admission area of the venue.

Little Moon

Photo Credit: Kevin Rolfe

The night opened with Emma Hardyman, better known as Little Moon taking the stage.  Little Moon is having a major moment right now.  I feel like Little Moon has been on the rise in the Utah music scene for a while. But now things are on another level.  Little Moon is the winner of NPR’s 2023 Tiny Desk Contest.  A national contest with over 6,000 entries.  So Little Moon no longer just belongs to Utah.  The country now knows about her and the talented band.  

Hardyman was joined by Bridget Jackson on the harp and Grace Johnson on keyboard.  The show started out with a few sound issues, namely we couldn’t hear the harp for the first song.  But everyone seemed to take it in stride and as the set went along everything sounded great.

The audience was really supportive of Little Moon.  Every time she would hit one of her signature high notes the crowd would cheer.  The higher the note, the louder the cheer.  Her voice is so versatile.  There are times I hear, Joni Mitchell or Joan Baez, and other times I’m hearing Kiri Te Kanawa.  If you don’t know those voices, I’ll just say they are all three quite different from each other.  Yet, Emma’s voice at times reminds me of all three. While at the same time sounding completely original.  I’m not sure how she does it, but she totally does. 

I personally have Little Moon to thank for one time pointing out a virus on my website. I got a message one day some years back that there was some let’s just say “suspicious content” being advertised.  Products that don’t exactly go with live music reviews and photos.  Whatever the virus was it was everywhere throughout  I was able to catch and eliminate it before the site was completely taken over.  So I’ll be forever grateful.  And judging by the latest momentum the band has, I’ll be able to brag about that one time I was helped by the legendary Little Moon!

Allie Crow Buckley

Next up was Allie Crow Buckley.  The folk singer-songwriter took the stage to a now totally packed Gallivan Center. Buckley has a hauntingly beautiful voice.  One of the reasons I sometimes get a little uneasy at Twilight concerts is due to a lot of people just moving around and talking and not really engaged with the show.  They’re there for an event, not so much a concert.  But there was this cool moment, keep in mind, I’m in the photo pit to start out, where I just stopped and looked out into the crowd.  Allie Crow Buckley’s voice stilled the crowd.  Everyone looked, and took a moment to take in what they were hearing.  It was as if the siren song from the stage put the busybody crowd in a trance.  It was really cool.  I haven’t seen that too often. 

 Allie Crow Buckley’s new album Utopian Fantasy has just been released.  I listened to it after the concert and it’s really good.  There are elements of the great late 60s Los Angeles music scene mixed with modern silky synth-pop sounds.  My favorites are “Cowboy in London” and “Greatest Hits”.  Buckley’s sound doesn’t really sound that similar to Lord Huron.  But I get why she’s on this tour.  There is an interesting fluidity between their styles.  I thought she was a very unique and interesting artist.  Utah has another chance to catch her this year.  She’ll be back in Utah on October 21 at The Union.

Lord Huron

Photo Credit: Kevin Rolfe

As we waited for the crew to get Lord Huron set up, I could see some concern on the faces of some of the fans. Being the high-caliber investigative journalist that I am (Ok not really, but I was curious), I thought I’d try to get a sense of the reason for those worried faces.  The first guy I talked to wasn’t worried about a thing.  That was just his face.  So that was awkward.  But as I chit-chatted with Lord Huron fans, I came to find out that their concern was for the lack of time left in the night. 

I guess the Gallivan Center has a very strict 10 PM curfew.  I suspect the reason for that is the Gallivan Center is neighbors with a hotel and I’m sure if the show goes much longer there will be complaints.  We were well past 8 o’clock.  Which meant, no two-hour show. Which I didn’t really expect so my nerves were still sound. 

But then 8:30 rolls around and I can see these people getting anxious, and not the “We’re so excited. We can hardly wait!” anxious. They could see the set getting shorter and shorter and they did not love that.  Now I’m getting worried!  Fortunately, someone had the good sense to bring some beach balls. I think the volleying around of the purple and white balls gave the restless crowd something else to think about. At least for a moment. Until someone hit one of the beach balls on stage causing the thousands in attendance to collectively boo. Just then, around 8:40, Lord Huron took the stage, and all at once the crowd around me almost blew my hat off with their collective exhale.

Lord Huron started their set with a banger.  Both Little Moon and Allie Crow Buckley had performed more subdued sets.  So this was the first chance this large crowd had to move their bodies.  They took advantage of the moment.  Again, I took a brief moment from the photo pit to look at this crowd.  Smiles.  A sea of smiles.  What must that be like to have thousands of smiling faces looking at you? Things were so good at that moment. All felt right in the world!  Their set was off to a great start.  Knowing the band had just played two Red Rocks shows before this Utah show, I, because of last year, wanted to hear Ben’s voice right away.  I’m happy to report it was in excellent shape.  He sounded fantastic.  

Ben Schnieder made a little Twilight joke saying that when he came out he expected it to be dark.  Insinuating that he was a vampire he mentioned that he felt like there was enough cloud cover to prevent him from burning up. Schnieder went on to mention how much he enjoyed playing Utah.  He loved being in downtown Salt Lake City.  He shared that he had great memories of playing The State Room and Kilby Court in the early days.  The audience roared at the mention of these two staple venues. I couldn’t help but imagine being in either of those places and seeing Lord Huron.  Whoever was there is very fortunate.  

Ben gets a lot of the attention, and rightfully so.  But I would be negligent if I didn’t mention the rest of the band.  Miguel Briseño was the man in black, stoically playing the bass.  He struck a number of poses in a statuesque style and yet his fingers were working and moving to give us those amazing basslines.  Mark Barry seemed to be having a blast back there on the drum kit.  He was all smiles as he finished out this amazing rhythm section. 

Tom Renaud was rocking a blue suit while totally killing it on the guitar.  When the band came out I was right in front of him and I was so impressed with what he was doing.  This band is incredible.  As much as I love Lord Huron’s albums, my opinion is they are that much better live.  There is an added emotional element to the live show that totally enhances every song.

Touring musicians are huge factors in the sound and live experience as well.  Guitarist Brandon Walters might be tucked away in the back, but he fills out the sound.  And who can forget “Misty Boyce with the beautiful voice”? Ben Schnieder said that line last year and because of that, I’ll never forget her name.  It’s always a huge highlight when she comes downstage and duets with Ben Schneider.  

A big moment in the show is when Ben disappears off stage and reappears with a skull mask on.  It’s a pretty great moment to see a skull’s mouth moving and singing “The World Ender” and “Ancient Names Part II”. The crowd loved it.  I think he could have worn it for the rest of the night and they would have gone crazy for it. Schneider just takes on a totally different persona.

The setlist was pretty evenly split between the albums, Strange Trails, Vida Noir, and Long Lost.  Seeing as it’s Lord Huron’s most commercially successful album, whenever a song from Strange Trails would start, there would be a little extra excitement from the crowd. I think my favorite song of the night was “Fool For Love”.  The song ended the main set and the crowd was dancing.  I just love the way they incorporate the Bo Diddly beat in such a modern way into the song.

Lord Huron returned and Ben Schneider told us that they had time for two more songs.  There was no way they weren’t going to play  “The Night We Met”.  The Gallivan Center crowd sang every word.   They were even given the opportunity to finish the song.  The night came to a close with “Not Dead Yet” off of Long Lost.  I love the groove of that song.  It’s a great way to end a concert.  I definitely wasn’t ready for the night to end.  But knowing this was the final song, I wanted to be sure to take in every last moment.  Ben and the rest of the band sounded good all night.  They looked like they were having as good a time as we were.

The problem with having modern technology at our fingertips is we’re able to see what happened in other cities.  After the show people were sharing with me that this was the shortest set Lord Huron had played all week.  Didn’t love hearing that.  In writing this review I looked up the other setlists and saw that in the shows leading up to ours and the shows following the setlists were anywhere from 25-27 songs long.  Our setlist had 15 songs.  15 amazing songs.  I’m sure people who didn’t know this had a great time and no complaints.  I’m sure the curfew played into it.  But ten songs less is quite the difference. 

I know we pay much less because this is part of a series.  And for that I am grateful.  I’m just trying to draw some conclusions as to why the set was only 75 minutes. Was it because there were more bands playing than what is normally on their bill? Or is it like when you get the lunch menu at Chilis?  You order the same thing that’s on the dinner menu, but you get half the sandwich? I’m only bringing this up because I know how much people, including myself, love Lord Huron. 

 I didn’t leave the show disappointed.  I had a great time. They were excellent and SLC Twilight does a great job hosting these concerts.  So while I would have loved a few more songs, it was great to hear so many devoted fans singing out some of our favorites.  We were fortunate to get them on what is only a 9 date tour. So besides a few summer festivals, we’re one of the lucky cities to get a tour stop this summer. My hope is Lord Huron comes back really soon. Utah can’t get enough of them.


Meet Me in the Woods
Mine Forever
Dead Man’s Hand
Ends of the Earth
Ancient Names (Part I)
Wait by the River
Secret of Life
When the Night is Over
Love Me Like You Used To
The World Ender
Ancient Names (Part II)
I Lied
Fool For Love


The Night We Met
Not Dead Yet

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