When I sat down after the show to write this review, I honestly didn’t know where to start or how to put into words the way that this performance made me feel. How do you begin to describe an experience so uniquely itself that there’s nothing to compare it to? How do you help someone who wasn’t there understand just how much this experience moved you or inspired you? I’ll try my best, but if nothing else, what I will say is that if you ever get the chance to see Tash Sultana live – take it. I promise it will be an experience you’ll never forget.
Modest Mouse came out hard and fast with the somewhat-psychedelic “Poison the Well,” a new number that stays true to the band’s belovedly bleak outlook. Next was “Satellite Skin,” exploring the futility of existence, followed by “3rd Planet” (listening to The Moon and Antarctica is as good as time travel for me).
Do you ever hear your friends or peers mention a band or solo artist with such reverence and admiration that you start to wonder, even though you feel like you love music more than anyone ever, “How have I not heard of this person/band”? That was me some years ago with Jason Isbell. His name would come up in social circles or I’d be at a concert waiting for a band to come on and I’d hear people mention how they’d seen Jason Isbell live and how any fan of live music needs to see him. When people had asked me, “Have you been to a Jason Isbell concert?” and I’d say that I hadn’t the look of shame and embarrassment for me meant only one thing, I’d better see Jason Isbell live or lose all credibility.
Approaching Red Butte Garden Amphitheater, I could hear opening act, Los Coast, blaring across the parking lot. The Austin, TX band describes their sound as “punchy psychedelic-pop- soul.” The little bit of their set I caught felt both edgy and danceable. Audience members were rocking out by the side of the stage.
This was not your usual night at Red Butte Amphitheater. I’m sure many of the subscription holders were there. But overall it felt like a much different crowd. A special audience turned out for “An Evening With Gov’t Mule”. The Southern Rock band celebrated a night of career-spanning music. And they brought their loyal fans with them. People were barefoot, tie-dyed and ready to jam.
The day of Amos Lee’s show at Red Butte Garden Outdoor Concert Series was typical of Salt Lake City at the end of summer. The searing desert sun thoroughly baked the concrete urban sprawl and was beginning to set as I caught a ride with a pedicab from the end of the venue parking lot to the entrance gates. The quick trip made light of my late arrival and I met my first friend of the night. (Thanks Carlos!)
Almost three years to the day, Lord Huron made their triumphant return to Salt Lake City on August 14 at Red Butte Garden Amphitheater. I can’t think of a better pairing than one of my favorite Utah venues with this great American Indie band. When you’re set up in just the right spot, you can see the sun setting over the Salt Lake Valley. It’s a beautiful venue with gorgeous views. Having a soundtrack like Lord Huron mixed in makes for a perfect evening. This was Lord Huron’s first time playing Red Butte Garden and I think they made their mark on the summer concert series.
On Wednesday night, a unique combination of Americana, folk, and country music filled the air in the foothills of Salt Lake City. I walked into Red Butte Garden Amphitheater at quarter to 7:00 pm and already the place was full. People had claimed their space with chairs and blankets and were enjoying the surprisingly cool weather. One thing that I love about this outdoor venue is the atmosphere. There’s always been such a positive vibe – people sitting around enjoying each other’s company over a beer and some laughs. Thursday night was no different. Everyone was there to have a good time.
When I saw that Berlin, OMD, and the B-52’s were going to tour together to celebrate the B-52’s 40th anniversary I was really excited. I also thought this was such a random collection of great bands from the 80s. Being from the same decade is really where their similarities stop. But maybe that was enough because the show at Red Butte Garden Amphitheater totally worked! It was one of my favorite concerts of the whole summer.
Southern Gothic is one of my favorite literary genres. I’d argue that certain musicians fit into this genre as well, Shakey Graves among them. Never mind his playfully macabre alias, the themes of his songs touch on death and decay, murder, alcoholism, drug abuse, execution by electric chair, and the way ex-lovers haunt one another. All this, though, is presented with good humor and a (wholesomely) wicked Texas grin, side-by-side with themes of shirking the predictable life and embracing the shiftless, devil-may-care habits of a tramp. Shakey’s musical style is tricky to pin down. Clearly influenced by bluegrass, hobo folk, blues, rock, and country, it might be safest to simply say, “Americana.”