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.
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.
Conan Gray seems like an artist who is skyrocketing. The truth is Gray has had been around since 2013. He first came on the scene with his well-followed YouTube Channel, then releasing self-penned songs on that channel in 2015 eventually being signed to Republic Records. In late 2018 Gray released his debut EP, Sunset Season which was followed by a tour where he has sold out most cities. Conan Gray finished off his first North American headlining tour to Salt Lake City with a sold out show at Kilby Court.
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 takes on this brilliant up and coming singer songwriter. Then 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.