The National Parks• 8th Wonder Tour• March 17, 2023• The Union
Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe
What a night! Not only was it the opening show for The National Parks tour. And not only was it a hometown show for the Utah-based band. But it was also the album release show for their new album 8th Wonder. I think the excitement of having one of Utah’s favorite bands performing their tour opener and debuting many of the 8th Wonder songs mixed in with other favorites had this crowd buzzing from the opening of The Union doors. Support acts, Andrea von Kampen (Who will be joining TNP for the Spring leg of the 8th Wonder Tour), and Lantern By Sea only fueled the crowd’s fire with impressive performances. Following the openers, everyone was more than ready for The National Parks.
I only had the opportunity to see Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers live one time. It was on the 40th Anniversary tour. A tour that would turn out to be Petty’s last. I was fortunate to see the tour at the beautiful Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. When Tom Petty died I was grateful to have seen him but like so many, I was sad that we would no longer get to see him perform his amazing songs again.
When I saw some years back that Petty Theft was coming to Utah, I was intrigued but wary of another band playing Petty’s music. Sometimes I can get a little snobby with music and I imagine I thought that Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers music was untouchable and should never be performed by a tribute band. I’ve learned that whenever I get snobby my narrow-minded view is usually wrong. When I saw that Petty Theft would not only be coming back to Utah but that they would be playing two dates (one in Salt Lake and one in Park City), I realized I must be missing something. I decided I needed to see these guys for myself.
A great kick-off to the month, Wolf Alice stopped in Salt Lake on the tour of their newest album, Blue Weekend. Before being offered the chance to photograph them a coworker had brought up the band to me in a discussion. I had never heard of Wolf Alice before but during this discussion, there was nothing but good things spoken about the band. After hearing all that I was excited to hear them live. A couple of hours before doors opened, I was streaming their top few songs to get an idea of the type of sound and vibe that was going to be heard from the night. I was immediately intrigued by the alternative rock sound of it all. I was curious how they were going to be live.
The Superbloom Music Festival finally debuted at Sand Hallow’s Rock Bowl this past weekend! The National Parks’ dream was to “curate a festival experience and create a special event to celebrate the release of our new album Wildflower”. But due to the unfortunate circumstances of the pandemic in 2020, the festival was canceled. Since then, restrictions have lessened and Superbloom was ready to party at the absolutely beautiful OC Tanner Amphitheater right outside of Zion National Park. Utah’s flash foods, unfortunately, had different plans and a major flash flood hit the OC Tanner Amphitheater and sustained major damages. Thankfully Superbloom was determined to have their dreams come true and they were able to find the music fest a beautiful new home at the Rock Bowl at Sand Hollow Resort in Hurricane, Utah!
I’m almost at a loss for words when it comes to explaining how absolutely INCREDIBLE Dayglow was Tuesday night in Salt Lake City! The energy, the music, and frontman Sloan Struble’s dancing were all magnificent! The entire production from sound to lights to the atmosphere that was created was brilliant. Let me tell you all about it!
I don’t think I’ll ever have the perfect words to describe how the band Half • Alive makes me feel. I don’t think anyone can truly understand how extraordinary and unpredictable a Half • Alive show really is unless they experience it for themselves. Thankfully for Utah fans, a lot of us got to experience that on Monday night, September 13.
The Ogden Twilight Concert Series has been a huge hit for the Northern Utah music scene this summer. Surprisingly this was my first time attending a show in Ogden and I was excited. I had seen quite a few photos and videos of the previous shows at this venue. The energy of the place was beautiful and it sat right in the heart of Ogden’s downtown area.
It was a sold out show and the crowds gathered early to cap off their Saturday night with a bang! Luckily for me, I had my girlfriend and a couple of my friends who were also at this concert. It was the perfect night for the last few summer nights with friends. The venue had a cozy lounge area for sponsors of the event. It was also awesome to see the food trucks placed right inside the venue. It made grabbing a bite really convenient for the fans.
I arrived just right on time to catch RnB artist/singer/songwriter Ant Clemons. This man might be unknown to the casual concertgoers at this venue, but I was extremely excited to see Ant perform live. I grew up in the early 2000s RnB era and Ant Clemons brings that energy and soulful music into today’s current music. Ant is famously known for becoming a guest artist in Kanye West’s 2018 single “All Me.” From that point on, Clemons has been all over the music industry and has worked with Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Snoh Aalegra, Sunday Service Choir and the list goes on. He has solidified his name in the music industry and forever will be a part of many top charting albums.
Ant Clemons opened up his set with dance moves that reminded you of the early days of Usher. The younger crowd couldn’t help but get as close as they could to the barricade. Ant performed with so much charisma and energy. His band was small with a drummer and a guitarist and he mainly sang with his instrumentals. He performed his hit single “Appreciation,” with rapper 2 Chainz and Ty Dolla $ign, which made the crowd groove along with him.
Clemons checked in with the crowd to get a gauge of how they’re feeling and he mentioned how he wanted to do something different. He wanted to make a song in the moment. I was very shocked and curious about how he was gonna execute this. As an artist with his caliber, I knew he had a good plan that still seemed very interactive. He split the crowd in half. One half sang a faster tempo melody and the other half the slower part. When both halves mixed it created this rhythmic melody that lit up Ogden. He sang along with the crowd reaching high falsetto notes.
Clemons proceeded to play all of the top hits he was featured in and dancing to today’s top songs. With songs ranging from SZA, Justin Timberlake, and Kanye West, it was almost shocking to know he was a part of a bunch of songs that we listen to on a daily basis. I personally believe Kanye wouldn’t be the same artist he is now without his features and help from artists like Ant Clemons. Ant finished up his set and you can tell the crowd appreciated and enjoyed his performance. Seeing him definitely made me realize how much work goes behind the scenes in the music industry.
Before the show, I had very little information about Noah Cyrus. The only reason I knew about her is because of my girlfriend that listens to her music. I’m a huge fan of her single with Leon Bridges titled “July”. She resembles the same twang and sound of her sister Miley Cyrus. Her style of music comes with a huge background of Nashville, Tennessee. Lastly, the day before the show, I did my best to listen to her top songs. It was beautiful yet intricate and very descriptive and open about mental health issues. I have shown a lot of appreciation to songwriting in these past couple reviews and I will always show the utmost respect to someone that writes about their life and turns it into art.
I was counting down the days for the Rise Against show. Growing up, Rise Against was one of the few bands that I listened to daily. Going to as many concerts as I have been to all my life I was ashamed to say that I’ve never seen Rise Against perform live! So I was stoked to finally cross it off my bucket list.
Watchhouse August 19, 2021 Red Butte Garden Amphitheater
The timing of this show couldn’t have been any better. It’s a cold brisk night in Salt Lake City. The perfect company for that is some good Folk/Americana music provided by Watchhouse, formerly known as Mandolin Orange.
It was a big night in Vivint Arena. Not only was Country Music legend, Alan Jackson performing, but it was the first time the arena would be hosting a full capacity, sold-out concert in almost two years. The way everything went, you wouldn’t have guessed it had been that long. Concessions, security, and ushers alike were in top form. It was a great feeling, but still a little odd to see so many people together.