ZZ Top• June 15, 2022• Red Butte Garden Amphitheater
Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe
ZZ Top has been coming to Utah since the 70s. They used to call The Salt Palace home whenever they would come to Salt Lake City. In recent years, Red Butte Garden Amphitheater is the stopping place for the legendary Blues Rock band. ZZ Top helped bring live music back to Red Butte last summer just weeks following the passing of original bassist, Dusty Hill. Less than a year later, ZZ Top made their return with the same lineup, including new bassist and former guitar tech to Hill, Elwood Francis. The moment the band walked on stage, the generally casual garden attendees, jumped to their feet, ready to rock.
Seeing Tash Sultana live is more than just a concert. It’s an all-encompassing experience. Sultana is the only one on stage. But you would never know it by the layers upon layers of music that are coming out of the speakers and into the stands. There was a vibrant energy throughout the audience and it was clear that the people there were expecting a fun night. The line for merch was lengthy but shortened just in time for Tash Sultana to take the stage. I like the way Sandy Amphitheater set up the merch booth. The line forms on the hill so people can actually watch the show from a distance as they wait to buy a shirt.
She & Him• June 14, 2022• Red Butte Garden Amphitheater
Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe
When Red Butte Garden announced the 2022 lineup for their Outdoor Concert Series I was beyond excited to see She & Him as one of the bands. They hadn’t been to Utah in a while and I felt like Red Butte Garden Amphitheater was a perfect setting to see them. When I saw that they would be touring to promote their album Melt Away: A Tribute to Brian Wilson, I knew I had to cover this show. Little did I know how attached to this show I would become.
I was contacted and invited to interview M. Ward (Him) leading up to the show. After chatting with Ward and learning more about the album and the band’s love of the great legendary songwriter from The Beach Boys, I knew it was a show not to be missed. In fact, the actual Brian Wilson was playing over at USANA Amphitheatre on the same night, and I still chose to be in Red Butte Garden for this show. That’s how much I wanted to be there! And the night did not disappoint.
Chicago & Brian Wilson w/ Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin• June 14, 2022• USANA Amphitheatre
Reviewed by Josilyn Wakkuri Lybbert
Chicago, with Brian Wilson, played a packed USANA Amphitheater on June 14, 2022! Fans of all ages gathered to see and hear some iconic hits primarily from the 60s, 70s, and 80s! Anticipation was apparent as people waited in line to go through security. While I was in line, I heard various conversations taking place ranging from how many times some of the concertgoers had seen Chicago live before, to those like myself who were so excited to hear some of the classic Beach Boys songs performed by Brian Wilson!
Charlie and The Chocolate Factory• June 14, 2022 •Eccles Theater
Reviewed by Alisha Gregson
When I was offered a chance to attend and review Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on June 14th, at the Eccles Theater, I knew it was an opportunity I could not turn down. I have adored Dahl’s fantastic stories for as long as I can remember. His collection of classic children’s books was an influential and memorable part of my childhood. Just as they were for so many others. I have always hoped they would have a similar impact on my children. It just so happens that we are currently in the middle of what we have been calling our “Roald Dahl Summer”. We have been reading through his magical collection and intend to read all his classics before summer is over. Having just recently read Charlie and The Chocolate Factory to them, I was elated to have the opportunity to see the musical.
Fork Fest• June 11, 2022• Art Dye Park, American Fork
Reviewed and Photographed by Molly McCoy
Fork Fest is one of the summer music festivals I most look forward to. I love this festival because it highlights all of the amazing local artists that Utah has to offer and this summer’s lineup was no exception. Returning for its fourth year, Fork Fest was the perfect combination of music, art, and good family fun.
311 w/ Teenage Wrist• June 2, 2022• Sandy Amphitheater
Reviewed by Brittany DeMott Photographed by Kevin Rolfe
It’s the summer and this is the summer of love and unity. 311 is on the last leg of their Spring 2022 tour and made a stop in Sandy Utah at Sandy Amphitheater. Now, this is a new location for 311 from what we are used to. They usually perform at USANA Amphitheater. I’ve been to many 311 concerts in the past and know they have an amazing turnout at each show. I couldn’t imagine seeing a smaller venue holding all these people. However, this venue being smaller made for a more intimate night. You could tell that the attendees at this show were definitely at the level of “An Excitable One”. The name 311 gave the fan base that’s been there since the beginning. The excitable ones helped get their music outside of Omaha, Nebraska – a grassroots movement- and even named their next albumGrassroots.
As I got into the venue I looked to the left and saw the merch table with a line that was probably about 311 miles long, not really, but it was long. 311 has tour shirts that look like sports jerseys and say the name of your city and state and the date that they performed. It was cool to see the multiple years worn by all different types of people.
Teenage Wrist, a band that brought me back to my youth. Their name is inspired by the song “Teenage Wristband” by The Twilight Singers – formed by Greg Dulli. When I heard them perform, it reminded me of the music I would load onto my pink iPod mini in high school and blast at full volume (not realizing the hearing loss I’d start experiencing as I got older). Teenage Wrist came out to perform and the crowd was there for it. They seemed to have taken kindly to this band, as did I, and really got into it. I’d imagine if they weren’t fans before, they are now. I immediately looked them up on Spotify and pulled the lyrics up and it is Brittany approved. Check them out!
Without delay, 311 came out on stage and started off with “Come Original”. I think there is no better song to open with this song as it gets you hyped up immediately. When this song started you had people rushing back in to not miss the show. Fans were dancing and singing as they come into the crowd. Strangers technically, but family here. What really stood out the most in the crowd was the amount of smiles that I could see. I don’t know what it is about younger fans but they always make me want to cry because they are so unbelievably stoked to be at this concert. Shout out to all the cool parents who take their children to shows. Because there’s nothing better than going to school the next day and showing off your new shirt and bragging that you got to go to a concert.
I was sitting about 6 rows back from the stage but it felt like I was in the front because of the size of the venue. The stage is only about three and a half feet tall so it really feels like they’re on the same level as you and there aren’t huge gaps between the seats on the stage. “3. 11. 3 3 11.” chants would come from the crowd, a common occurrence at a 311 show. During their songs, I noticed the lighting design on stage. Lighting is such an important part of how we feel and so it is necessary that the lights fit the vibe of the song. It’s incredible what a few lights can do to a show. My favorite lights were the purple ones as they were incredibly vibrant and fit perfectly with the feeling of the evening.
The sound at Sandy Amphitheater is probably one of the best in the valley. The sound techs that work with the tour did a fantastic job making sure the sound was clear and loud enough to feel. I always rate the sound based on how much bass I can feel throughout my body. I give this one a solid 10/10. Not overpowering so it wouldn’t ruin the music, but not weak, either. I could understand the words and had my earplugs in. Sidebar: please wear your earplugs! I never did and now my television has to be up full blast. My parents call me “grandpa” and I use subtitles for everything. Anyway, I digress.
As I watched the show, I noticed how 311 interacts with the crew. You can tell this is more than a work relationship. You can see that this crew and 311 are actually an entire family. I have recognized a few of the crew members that have been with them for years and you just don’t see retention like that these days. An extremely special “Thank you” goes to the entire tour crew. Without you all, this show wouldn’t be half of what you have made it into. We appreciate the band but we also appreciate the crew who brings the band to us! Thank you on behalf of the fans!
The stage sits on a hill and is south-facing. This means the performers are not blinded by the sunset, yet we get to enjoy a sunset and a show. A 2 for 1! And what better song to play at sunset than their cover of The Cure’s “Lovesong”. Throughout the show we got to witness guitar solos by Nick Hexum and Tim Mahoney, P-Nut’s bass solo, and the incredible and notable drum solo by Chad Sexton. We know when we get the drum solo that this will lead to an all-band drum sesh, known as “Applied Science”. Each time I see this set I’ve noticed they incorporate more instruments and visuals to it.
I overheard someone saying “That means they have 3 songs left!” That someone was right on, they must come here often. They ended the show with “Creatures (For A While)” and said their goodbyes to the fans. If you’re new here, they aren’t done. They’ll be back in just a moment so don’t leave! The band returned to the stage and the screams intensifed. They play the last two songs, “Omaha Stylee” and the hit “Down”. “Down” was their first #1 single to hit the Billboard Alternative Song Chart and is dedicated specifically to those old-school fans, The Excitable Ones. Everyone gave it all that they had to rock out to this. There was headbanging, dancing, jumping, the whole enchilada. This ending was the perfect beginning to a “Never Ending Summer”. Thank you, 311!
Rex Orange Country• June 11, 2022• The Great Saltair
Midway through his Who Cares? Tour, British star Rex Orange County stopped in Utah, this time in Magna at The Great Saltair. Although he has visited Salt Lake in previous years, the turnout for this concert was more than he could have imagined. This was also my first time being to a show with no opening artist. Rex decided to come on the tour solo. Capitalizing on his popularity was not a bad idea in my opinion.
Hours before sunset, Daybreak residents started setting out blankets and lawn chairs at their neighborhood’s own SoDa Row concert venue. Friday, June 10th was the first night of the LiveDaybreak Summer Concert series. The summer concerts are exclusively for Daybreak residents and are just one of the many perks of living in their exciting community. LiveDaybreak decided to start their concert series strong, and on Friday night Southern California rock band, Lit performed a high-energy show to an excited audience of neighbors, families, and friends.
She & Him’s seventh studio album is a loving, LP-length tribute to one of the greatest living American songwriters and singers, Brian Wilson. Melt Away: A Tribute to Brian Wilson finds Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward diving deep into the legendary artist’s extensive songbook, offering fascinating and delectable new spins on time-honored classics and overlooked gems alike. These fourteen covers are infused with the familiar magic that She & Him fans know and love, opening a new window into Wilson’s iconic catalog. Wilson even features on a song with Zooey and M. Ward for the album, “Do It Again.” The band have enjoyed a friendship, and mutual appreciation, with Wilson over the years and She & Him was previously a guest vocalist on his 2015 album, No Pier Pressure. Recently, the band released “Darlin’”, the lead track and video from Melt Away.
She & Him will be stopping by Red Butte Garden Amphitheater on Tuesday, June 14. Utah Concert Review had the opportunity to visit with M. Ward ahead of their Salt Lake City tour stop. Kevin and Ward discussed Melt Away, what goes into creating a good cover song, and much much more. Enjoy!