The Backstreet Boys bought their DNA World Tour to a sold-out Vivint Smart Home Arena on Wednesday, August 7. Twenty six years after starting as a group they’re still selling out venues. You’ve got to admit, that’s pretty impressive. Now I don’t know if I’m the best person to be writing a review about a Backstreet Boys concert or not. First of all, I’m a guy. And judging by the ratio of guys to girls inside Vivint Arena, this review might be best written by a woman. I also can’t say I have ever owned a Backstreet Boys album or would call myself a regular listener to their music. But if you were in your teens or twenties in the nineties or early two thousands, which I was, the Backstreet Boys were unavoidable. My friends and I talk about how lame they were while secretly and sometimes no so secretly singing along to “Larger Than Life”. How many of you know the words to “I Want it That Way:? All of you? It’s impossible to not know the words to that song! They were huge, and their fans still love them. So while I may not be the best person to be writing this review I was the one covering this show. I was there on August 7 and I have to say I was amazed at what I saw.
By: Kaden Severn w/ contributions by Efrain Cuessy
If anyone has ever doubted hip-hop fans of Salt Lake City for not being true supporters of the genre, they were dreadfully wrong. For example, last night at the Vince Staples concert at the Gallivan Center. Wednesday night was another installment in the Twilight Concert Series featuring one of rap’s rising superstars Vince Staples, best known for his smash hits like: “Norf Norf”, “Big Fish”, and “Oops.” The Twilight concert has been bringing out some absolute killer acts and Vince Staples was a perfect act to introduce Hip-Hop to the mix.
The Alarm is back on tour promoting their new album Sigma. Sigma is a sequel to last year’s critically acclaimed Equals. The Alarm return to Utah on August 8 at The Complex with Jay Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel. I had the opportunity to speak with The Alarm’s frontman, Mike Peters a couple of weeks ago. I enjoyed our conversation so much! Mike has had a challenging life and a very interesting career. Enjoy!
Utah Concert Review: So before we begin, I was watching some videos on YouTube the other day and I went down this rabbit hole as you do. I’m a huge fan of The Killers, and I’m sure you know where I’m going with this, but I saw them performing at Cardiff Castle in Wales (Peters home country) and they began singing “Rain in the Summertime”. I was so excited! But then I heard that you might have been there. Is that true? Were you there?!
It doesn’t seem fair that one band can have so many talented musicians, so many talented vocalists, and so many talented songwriters that create so many great songs. There are bands out there that are barely able to squeeze out maybe one solid hit (which is more than I could ever do). Then there’s The Head and the Heart who have what seems like an endless supply of really great songs.
Fresh off two sold-out concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado, The Head and the Heart met up with us here in Utah for their third show in as many days. Those Red Rock shows were streamed online. I took a peek at the first show and I knew we were in for a great night I was really excited to hear a lot of songs from the new album Living Mirage. I have really enjoyed that album. When UCR saw them at Park City Live back in March, The Head and the Heart played some songs from Living Mirage which was still a couple of months away from being released. I loved those songs and was excited to see how many more songs they’d perform on this tour.
Tuesday, July 23 brought some heat that I hadn’t felt since moving to Utah. That didn’t stop people from coming out to the historic Kilby Court! The venue famous for being the debut spot for artists in the Salt Lake area brought out a small, but enthusiastic crowd to experience the chilled out vibes and beautiful vocals from three up and coming female artists.
This was my first time attending a concert at Kilby Court and was fascinated to learn of its rich history of being one of the first places that many artists play at before becoming superstars. I was excited to hear some great music from some artists I hadn’t yet heard of but have the potential to blow up like many artists who have played here before them!
Shawn Mendes is as big a pop star as there is right now. It’s virtually impossible to not know who he is. He has the type of fame that gets him featured on everything from Saturday Night Live to TMZ. He’s everywhere! But on July 16th Salt Lake City had Shawn to themselves at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
The arena was packed! I didn’t hear if it was a sellout or not, but if it wasn’t there couldn’t have been many seats left. I walked in just as Mendes took the stage and the audience filled with mostly teen to preteen girls was deafening! The roar subsided (slightly), and I could make out that the first song was “Lost in Japan”. I looked around at the frenzy to get a sense of the crowd and who was there. Next to many of these rabid teenage fans were what seemed to be their parents. I would see a group of about four to five girls and there would be a couple of moms with them. Every so often I’d see a dad in the mix. God bless them.
Nearing the end of a 32 show North American tour, Ocean Alley brought their Australian reggae fusion to the infamous Kilby Court. I was never that into reggae music until I heard of Ocean Alley. Bringing in sweet, relaxing vibes from the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia, Ocean Alley sold out Kilby Court and delivered one of the coolest shows I have ever experienced. From hits such as “Confidence” and “Yellow Mellow”, lead singer Baden Donegal lead the crowd on a journey that had every person feeling positive energy. My journey started off with going to a venue like none other: the one and only, Kilby Court.
Remember that one song that you always heard in the Honda Civic commercial? The dynamic duo of Empire Of The Sun, known for their hit single “Walking On A Dream”, took over the Gallivan Plaza for their third show in the Toyota Salt City Sounds series. The atmosphere they brought was different than any other performance I have ever seen. Lead singer,Luke Steele,brought his Australian energy on stage to create a show like none other. Seeing their art from their unique album cover come to life put the cherry on top of the whole show. Empire Of The Sun brought the audience into an environment like none other, (and I mean it when I say like none other!) From the opening acts like FORD. and Whethan, to an encore performance and guitar being thrown across stage, Salt City Sounds shows us that they can truly create a festival-like atmosphere in a smaller venue.
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.
I’ve been a David Gray fan for a long time. I’ve seen him in Los Angeles, in London and many times here in Salt Lake City. I do whatever I can to be sure to see him whenever he tours. There was even one time when David Gray was coming to Kingsbury Hall and I wasn’t going to be able to attend. I was forced to summon the assistance of the concert gods and David ended up needing to reschedule that concert for a date that I could attend. And that concert was so good! When I saw that DG was bringing his Gold in a Brass Age Tour to Salt Lake I was thrilled. But when I noticed that the concert would be taking place at the Eccles Theater I couldn’t think of a better combination. And I was not wrong.