So I saw The Struts last night. I could easily save us some time and just write, “WOW!” and be done with my review. There is just so much to say about this show so I’ll continue writing. But, WOW you guys, Wow. The Struts played to a fired up sold-out crowd at The Depot on Saturday night. This was just the third time The Struts have played Utah. After seeing this show I instantly regretted not having seen them the other two times.
If you were to ask a group of people, “What band/singer do you wish you could have seen live in concert?” who would they say? I’d imagine Elvis is one most people would mention. I would also think that Freddie Mercury with Queen would be another. For me, I would have loved to have seen Buddy Holly or perhaps Whitney Houston. Speaking of Buddy, I’m excited for the chance to “see him” and Roy Orbison in lifelike hologram form at the “Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream Tour” this October at Eccles Theater. But of all the bands and singers and musicians around I would have to think if you asked someone who they wish they could see in concert it would be The Beatles. Even when they were together and all the band members were alive they didn’t play live nearly as much as people would have liked. Unfortunately, John Lennon and George Harrison have passed. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr still tour on their own, but what would it be like to have seen The Beatles in concert? Well, that’s where RAIN comes in. They put on a show that gives you as close a look as you’re ever going to get.
Being the opening band in a concert can be a pretty different experience. Being the opening act at Red Butte Garden can be a really different experience. Red Butte Garden is a beautiful venue. But it’s different. Many of the tickets for their concerts are sold in a season ticket package. So a lot of the audience just goes to everything on the schedule whether they like the artist or not. These are generally the people who talk the entire evening then leave the show halfway through the headliners set. You’re also allowed to bring food and drinks with you so many people will pack a cooler and wine and dine while the opener is on stage. And as enjoyable as that is, I always feel for the band on stage who is performing and trying to get their music out there while most likely feeling ignored.
Saturday, June 15, 2019, Salt Lake City was blessed with the appearance of the sister, pop- duo Aly & AJ. Fans of all ages anxiously waited outside The Complex hours before doors opened, so they could snag a good spot. The iconic sister duo came back from a 10-year hiatus from music last year, and just released their new EP Sanctuary last month. For a lot of fans, this would be their first time seeing the girls live because of their 10 year break. It was amazing to see young kids to grown adults in line. If you were a Disney Channel kid like I was, then you know just how amazing Aly & AJ are! They were a huge part of my childhood, with their catchy songs and unforgettable music videos that would play during commercial breaks. When I think of them, it takes me back to simpler days in the 2000’s era. They remind me of summer breaks and my pre-teen bedroom, covered in posters from those teen magazines! So I was excited to hear them perform live too!
On Saturday, June 1st, Parachute made their Utah tour stop at The Depot in Downtown Salt Lake City! I personally have loved Parachute since I was 15 years old. I had never seen them before so I was stoked to finally get to see the Charlottesville Virginia based band for the first time in concert. I love their upbeat and fun style of music. I couldn’t wait to see what type of show they would put on.
The Depot has always been one of my favorite venues so I’m always excited when I find out a band is performing there. It was a great fit for this show! As for attendance, I felt like the room was completely packed from front to back. I was surprised when I heard that The Depot wasn’t sold out. I heard the same thing when I coverd Walk Off the Earth. It was so packed in there I don’t know how it wasn’t a sellout!
Parachute performed beautifully throughout the night and brought so much energy. One of my favorite songs from Parachute is “Can’t Help”. I might be biased but to me, that was the best song of the night. They also played other popular songs like “Jennie”, “Something to Believe In”, and “Kiss Me Slowly”. Each and every one of those performances were insanely good! The crowd seemed to be having a good time. There was a good mix of teenagers and adults and it seemed like everyone danced and sang the night away.
My favorite part of the show was hearing how highly lead singer, Will Anderson spoke of Salt Lake City. He mentioned that there was a different energy from any other show. Anderson expressed how he was always so excited to perform in Salt Lake every year because it has been his favorite for many years.
As I mentioned, The Depot was a fantastic venue to host this concert. They do very well with sound and the lighting looks great in there. When the sound and lighting are it makes for a really fun atmosphere to be in. You never want to leave! Unfortunately, once Parachute came out and played “Lonely With Me” for their encore, it was time to go. The Depot will forever be one of my favorite venues to attend.
The first time I ever heard NEEDTOBREATHE was from a YouTube video of them performing one of my favorite Christmas songs “Go Tell it On the Mountain”. I absolutely loved that version and I watched that video dozens of times over the Holiday Season. So when I saw a few months back that they would be playing Utah I knew I wanted to cover their concert. I just had a good feeling that I’d be entertained by their live show. I had never even heard any of their original music. When I googled the band to get a little background I saw a lot coming up about NEEDTOBREATHE being a “Christian Rock” band or articles written about “Are they or aren’t they Christian Rock”. Nothing against Christian Rock but it comes with the stigma that “It’s not really rock”, or it is watered down because of its subject matter. Whether that’s true or not is a debate for another day. I only wondered what type of concert I would be going to. Would it be a more traditional concert like the ones I’m used to going to? Or would it be a concert with a lot of preachin’ both in the music and the spoken word? I did see an article in Rolling Stone where NEEDTOBREATHE stated that they don’t put labels on their music and because it can be limiting. They feared that they had been passed over by people who may have enjoyed their music because of being labeled a Christian Rock band. So I told myself before going that I would be open-minded to whatever I was going to see and make my decision after the concert was over.
The moment I walked into The Commonwealth Room I could feel the energy swirling throughout the venue. The buzz of excitement and anticipation was nearly tangible. The venue was sold out, and the audience was ready for the extremely talented Jenny Lewis to take the stage. The photographers were given their final instructions and we were escorted to the pit in front of the stage. As I walked through the doors to the main room I as big a crowd as I’ve ever seen at The Commonwealth Room. Once into the pit, I enjoyed a brief but entertaining conversation with some of the other photographers and a couple of people resting on the railing in the front row. But then that moment we all wait for when the venue goes black to signal the start of the show. It’s one of the least spoken about moments in a concert, but the drama and excitement it provides creates one of my favorite moments in live music.
In a darkened venue we began to hear a familiar tune. It was Tommy Tune’s 80s gem “867-5309/’ Jenny” playing through the speakers as the band started to walk on stage. I looked to a photographer next to me and we both smiled and stated how perfect that was. Jenny later in the show joked about it suggesting it was silly. But I thought it was pretty clever.
When I first saw that Picture This would be playing Kilby Court on May 11 I thought ‘Great. I’m not familiar with these guys so Kilby Court will be perfect for them.’. Then I rechecked the date and realized that May 11 would be the Kilby Court 20th Anniversary Block Party. Death Cab For Cutie, who had played the all-ages venue way back in 1999 would be headlining the festival along with many bands who started in Utah and have since gained national attention. When I learned this I thought, what a perfect situation for Picture This to get some great attention here in Utah.
Carlie Hanson is a singer-songwriter from La Crosse Wisconson. She is getting ready to release her first EP Junk on June 7th. Her current single “Back in my Arms” was just released in April and is getting a ton of play. I had the opportunity to speak with Carlie the day before her show at The Depot. I really enjoyed chatting with her. Enjoy!
Utah Concert Review: Hi Carlie how are you? Where are you currently?
Carlie Hanson: Hii, Kevin! I’m good, very good. I’m in Denver right now where we’re doing a show tonight.
UCR: Well, we’re excited to have you here in Utah.
CH: We played Salt Lake City one other time and it was one of my most memorable/ favorite concerts ever. Like the crowd was just unreal. Everyone was so hype. We played in like this little garage. I think it was called Kilby Court.