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.
It’s hard to believe, but Salt Lake City’s most iconic all-ages concert venue turns twenty. To celebrate, local concert presenters Sartain and Saunders closed off 700 South, (the street that Kilby Court is connected to) and threw a block party. S & S threw a wide net and brought in artists who have graced the Kilby Court stage over the past two decades. Bands like Ritt Momney and The Backseat Lovers who are up and comers in Utah and are on their way to larger success. Then there’s a band like Picture This, who played Kilby Court for the first time at this event. They’re a band from Ireland who have sold out stadiums and arenas in their native country. But it seems it like it’s necessary for any band that wants to get noticed in Utah, they must play Kilby Court. An artist like singer-songwriter Joshua James who has made his mark in Utah and been able to branch out to surrounding states with great success. Then there’s the band The National Parks. These guys have just exploded here in Utah and their success just keeps growing and growing. That brings us to the headliners of this festival, Death Cab for Cutie. A band that played Kilby Court way back in 1999. And it goes without saying that they’ve had remarkable success for the past twenty years.
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.
This was the first Sabroso Festival in Utah. The show is usually based in California so I was excited to see that they were touring the Fest and bringing it to Utah. I’d say it was a huge success. There were a lot of people at the fairgrounds. The food and drink lines were never short. I was hoping to get a taste of the tacos, but I really didn’t want to miss any of the bands or the lucha libre wrestling. So I stayed away from the lines. The food must have been really good because one taco cart actually ran out of meat! The crowd seemed to really enjoy the festival. Here’s hoping that Sabroso Festival in Utah is a continuing tradition. Here are some photos of the bands and the festival with a brief rundown on everything that went on.
When I got the invite to review Flora Cash I did a little research about the band to get myself familiar with them leading up to the show. I became fascinated with their history and origin. Female vocalist Shpresa Lleshaj hails from Sweden. Male vocalist and guitarist Cole Randall is from Minnesota. Shpresa discovered some of Cole’s tracks on SoundCloud. She began commenting on the tracks and they started sharing their music back and forth. They then started conversing over Facebook Messenger, then they’d talk on the phone, which was followed by lengthy Skype collaborations. They finally met in Minneapolis. They than headed to Sweden to begin their career as a band. This ultimately led to their marriage and the band Flora Cash was born. Flora Cash is currently supporting lovelytheband on their current Finding it Hard to Smile U.S. tour. The tour stopped at the Depot in downtown Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 23.
The Faim is an emerging pop-rock group from Australia who got their start with renowned producer John Feldmann (blink-182, Good Charlotte), who was so impressed with their early demos that he invited them out to LA to record with him. There they enlisted the help of several notable co-writers. Since their launch last February, The Faim have been on the rise, to say the least. They released their critically acclaimed debut EP, toured exhaustively worldwide, supporting PVRIS, Against The Current, and Sleeping With Sirens, and played festival staples including Reading & Leeds, Slam Dunk, and more. The guys also recently collaborated with Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low and wrapped their first ever headline tour of Australia and Europe, with the majority of shows completely selling out.
The Faim will be supporting Andy Black of Black Veil Brideson Tuesday, April 16 at The Depot. I had the opportunity to speak with Stephen Beerkens, Bassist and Keyboardist for the band. I really enjoyed our conversation. Enjoy!
Utah Concert Review: Hi Stephen. We’re excited to have you come play Utah. Have you toured the States before?
Stephen Beerkens: We have. We were lucky enough to tour with another Aussie band called Hands Like Houses in November and December of last year which was epic. It was our very first US tour so, yeah, it was awesome touring with a great group. Not only a great band but a great group of people as well.