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.
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 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.
Walk Off the Earth kicked off the U.S. leg of their world tour on Tuesday night and Salt Lake City was lucky enough to host it. The Depot was filled from the barriers all the way to the back of the venue with people of all ages anxiously waiting for Walk off the Earth to come out. Their set began with a video of them accidentally being in Tampa instead of Salt Lake City and the race to get there on time. After the video ended, the room went dark and everyone screamed with excitement.
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.
Picture This has been the biggest selling Irish act in both 2017 and 2018, and the nation’s hottest musical export in decades, Picture This arrived as a phenomenon with their self-titled 2017 full-length debut, Picture This. Certified triple-platinum in Ireland, it held the #1 spot Overall in the country for four weeks, while topping the Streaming Chart for seven weeks. Moreover, it remained in the Top 5 since release. Just over two years since their formation, they’ve impressively sold over 400K tickets, concluding 2017 with a sold-out UK and Ireland tour highlighted by gigs at O2 Shepherd’s Bush London, SSE Arena Belfast, and a two-night stand at 3Arena in Dublin. This summer marked their first stadium tour in Ireland, which capped off with a 35,000-person stadium show selling out over 3 months prior. During late 2018, they teamed up with super producer Jayson Dezuzio to record the 2019 follow-up, MDRN LV. Picture This will be taking part in Kilby Court’s 20th Anniversary Block Party on Saturday, May 11. They will be performing in the Kilby Court Stage at 7:15. I had the opportunity to interview lead vocalist, Ryan Hennessy, and drummer, Jimmy Rainsford. Here’s our conversation. Enjoy!
Utah Concert Review: I know you’ve played some shows here in the United States, but is this your first full tour throughout the states?
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.