By: Local SLC musical artists: Valerie Rose Sterrett and Annie McAllister
Cradling two microphones in her right hand as if she were holding a pair of birds, Chan Marshall, known as Cat Power, pours her powerfully enchanting voice into them, the audience staring into her shadow as if she were casting a spell. The atmosphere was very intimate as the audience swayed and nodded their heads in agreement with her music. You could see her fans feeling it, some smiling with their eyes looking up to her in awe, while others danced freely with eyes closed and arms gliding. The Union is a spacious venue, but it held what felt like a purposefully modest audience in chairs that reached a little more than halfway back into the space. Toward the middle of the concert, she waved for us to leave our chairs and come closer.
I’ve been a fan of Ingrid Michelson for about ten years now. Of course, I knew her big songs, “You and I” and “The Way I Am”. But it wasn’t until July 21, 2010, that I truly got it. Ingrid opened for the British band, Keane at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, California. It says a lot about an artist when they can win over 6,000 people who are at a venue to see someone else. But she did it. She had the entire audience eating out of the palm of her hand by the end of that set. I think she forced Keane to up their game because the audience must have had high expectations after her set. I’ve had the privilege of seeing Ingrid Michealson a few times here in Utah, both at The Complex and In the Venue and she delivered every time. I always look forward to her coming to Utah. But this time I was especially excited because one, she hadn’t been here in about four years, and two I loved her latest album Stranger Songs, and couldn’t wait for her to perform those songs live.
What a night. What a line-up. What a crowd! Not since Warped tour in 2005 have I witnessed such an amalgam of people and music lovers; hardcore fans, old school punkers and die-hard Irish circle mashers. This diverse crowd swamped the bar lines around the dimly lit ambiance of The Union Event Center’s balcony; a tour de force of a show about to take place and I have a front of house pass to the hammering guitar riffs and spitting vocals of Wayne Lozniak, and Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed; the jamming smooth bass lines and pure American gravel that come with the classic rockers in Clutch and last but not to be left “tossed a lily,” the prolific Irish ensemble that is ever pervading, consuming and inclusive: Dropkick Murphys. The energy and palpitation flowing around the throngs of mid-generation butt-rockers was nothing short of soul shaking. If I could flashback to 2010: the last time I witnessed The Dropkick Murphys in concert. What a day of hardcore and death metal enormity that my then developing psyche just could not comprehend. This show had much of the same feeling and overpowering hunger for a sense of comradery and community. Everyone there had been listening to the same punky and essential hardcore ballads for years, letting it combat the inevitable yuppie growing within all of us; here they are, ready to melt faces and transport all of us right back into 1997.
I don’t think there are words that could truly describe how incredible yesterday was, not only for myself but for thousands of Angels & Airwaves/Blink-182/Boxcar Racer/Tom DeLonge fans that attended the AVA show in Salt Lake City. However, SLC fans were treated with a special, intimate acoustic AVA set, earlier that day at Club 50 West, hosted by Utah’s favorite alternative radio station, X96. Space was limited so fans, including myself, lined up hours early to make sure we snagged a spot. I stood in line for about 3 hours. The first 50 people in line also got wristbands that allowed us to get a photo with Mr. Tom DeLonge and the rest of AVA after the acoustic set. I was bursting with excitement I almost couldn’t contain it. Angels and Airwaves and Tom himself have been a major part of my life since my pre-teens. And even to this day, at 23 years old, AVA’s music inspires me, fills me with hope and has gotten me through some of the hardest times in my life. I listen to AVA when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m hurting, and when I’m rocking out with friends in the car. They hold a special place in my heart.
The future is now. Last night I attended a concert that I think could very well start many trends in the electronic/EDM world. Musician, DJ, and music producer Flying Lotus made a stop at the Union Event Center as part of his massive world tour. Bringing elements that I had never seen in a concert before. I wasn’t extremely familiar with his music but knew the second they handed me the 3D goggles when I walked into the venue, that I was in for a treat.
Note from the Editor: When I saw that Jade Bird was coming back to Utah, I knew UCR had to cover her concert again. We’ve been lucky to have covered Jade from the beginning and are so excited where her career is going. I have had the pleasure of reviewing Jade’s previous stops in Utah so for this tour as much as I wanted to cover the show, I thought it might be interesting to get another take on this brilliant up and coming singer-songwriter. Just a few short months ago, I had the opportunity to Interview Aubree Schill of the band Roadie, an up and coming singer-songwriter in her own right. During our interview, we discussed our mutual love for Jade Bird. A lightbulb went off. “What if I had Aubree review Jade when she comes town next?” I felt like getting the perspective of an artist who is a fan as well as on the path Jade herself trod not long ago would be the fresh take on this show I was hoping for. Well, as it turns out that’s just what happened. Here is Aubree’s account of Jade’s most recent visit to Utah. It turned out just as I hoped it would.
One of the first things I read about Jade Bird when I discovered her music was that she had “a voice that can silence the busiest bar.” At that time, I couldn’t have agreed more, but now I think this statement could be updated: “a voice that can silence a crowd of thousands.” She played for her third time ever in Salt Lake City on April 6th in front of the largest crowd I’ve personally seen her at yet. Opening for Hozier at the Union, she braved the crowd of likely around three thousand with her voice and guitar alone. And she owned it.
After seeing Noah Kahan play a sold-out show at The State Room back in October I thought I knew what was in store when I heard that he’d be supporting James Bay at The Union on March 23. Back in October, Noah put on an exceptional show. The crowd was into it, and they left more than satisfied with the evening. So I had a feeling there would be more of the same at this show. If anything, I thought perhaps it might be a bit of a letdown because Noah would be opening. I had no idea things would go like this.
Noah Kahan, a very talented singer-songwriter on the rise, is making his return to Utah this weekend when he supports James Bay on March 23 at The Union. This show comes on the heels of a sold-out show at The State Room. With a new album on the way and a successful lead single just released, Noah is an artist to keep an eye on. I enjoyed talking with Noah about the new album, choosing songs for that album, and what it’s like to headline versus open for someone. He was as interesting and insightful as always. Enjoy!
Noah Kahan: Hey Kevin, good to hear from you again.
Just five dates into her second headlining tour, Maren Morris made her first stop in Utah as a headliner on Tuesday night, bringing her Girl: The World Tour to The Union Events Center in Salt Lake City. Morris had made previous stops in Utah as an opener for Keith Urban and Niall Horan but never as the headlining act. Walking to the venue I could tell from those walking beside me that this was a really big deal for Maren Morris fans.