Enter a dystopian timeline à la Rod Serling, and at the exact geographic midpoint between the Chihuahuan Desert and the Pacific Northwest, there is sure to be a dimly-lit bar where Roselit Bone is always the main act. This according to the Portland-based group’s first two albums, which transmit surf-rock rhythms accented by brassy conjunto that seem to transcend notions of time and geography.
While the Pacific Northwest does not seem a likely region to produce sonic epics that could reverberate across red-rock canyons and bounce off mesas, Roselit Bone proved the contrary at Rye Diner & Drinks, where the seven-piece band (normally eight, missing their pedal steel accompaniment) played the second-to-last-stop on their tour during an early evening show. As the sun set, frontwoman Charlotte McCaslin guaranteed that after the attendees finished their meals and it got a little darker, the band would “get weirder.”
Norah Jones gave us the smoky torch songs of the new millennium. Though often understated, her work has the polished precision of a trained musician. It’s no surprise that she has a degree in jazz piano; hers is not a sloppy talent. Her music wafts through Soul, Folk, and even dips into Blues and Country, but it always returns to her roots in Jazz. Three songs in, I could feel the audience’s collective blood pressure lowering. Dreamy lyrics about missed rendezvous and wandering off into the moonlight coupled with seamless vamping melted, then evaporated, my spine. So long as Norah and her crew were playing, there were no cares in the world.
Last time I went to the Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake City, I was dressed for a gala. That is the kind of event you might expect at the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater. That’s why I was surprised to find out Jim James and the Claypool Lennon Delirium were kicking off their summer tour there.
When I arrived at the venue on June 21st, the setting summer sun was beating down on the polished six-story grand lobby through the glass window front.
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.
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.
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.
When I got the invite to review Flora Cash I did a little research about the band to get myself familiar with them leading up to the show. I became fascinated with their history and origin. Female vocalist Shpresa Lleshaj hails from Sweden. Male vocalist and guitarist Cole Randall is from Minnesota. Shpresa discovered some of Cole’s tracks on SoundCloud. She began commenting on the tracks and they started sharing their music back and forth. They then started conversing over Facebook Messenger, then they’d talk on the phone, which was followed by lengthy Skype collaborations. They finally met in Minneapolis. They than headed to Sweden to begin their career as a band. This ultimately led to their marriage and the band Flora Cash was born. Flora Cash is currently supporting lovelytheband on their current Finding it Hard to Smile U.S. tour. The tour stopped at the Depot in downtown Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 23.
Conan Gray seems like an artist who is skyrocketing. The truth is Gray has had been around since 2013. He first came on the scene with his well-followed YouTube Channel, then releasing self-penned songs on that channel in 2015 eventually being signed to Republic Records. In late 2018 Gray released his debut EP, Sunset Season which was followed by a tour where he has sold out most cities. Conan Gray finished off his first North American headlining tour to Salt Lake City with a sold out show at Kilby Court.
Ben Folds entered my radar in a real way at a Tori Amos concert. He’d just embarked on his solo career and she gave him a leg up by letting him open for her Lottapianos tour. He has grown as an artist since then and seems to have taken a cue from her refusal to draw harsh lines between the rock and classical music worlds. Ben was backed by the Utah Symphony Orchestra (along with a choir) which plumped out and embellished his melodies as well as faithfully performed pieces from his sonically ambitious So There album, written with an orchestral arrangement in mind. My one disappointment was that they did not perform Ben’s “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra” which topped Billboard Classical and Classical Crossover charts.
After seeing Noah Kahan play a sold-out show at The State Room back in October I thought I knew what was in store when I heard that he’d be supporting James Bay at The Union on March 23. Back in October, Noah put on an exceptional show. The crowd was into it, and they left more than satisfied with the evening. So I had a feeling there would be more of the same at this show. If anything, I thought perhaps it might be a bit of a letdown because Noah would be opening. I had no idea things would go like this.