Kilby Court Block Party 2021
Reviewed by Jacob Moniz
Salt Lake City’s beloved venue Kilby Court celebrated its 22nd anniversary by throwing its second annual Kilby Block Party this past weekend. With such a wide variety of artists playing the event, you could say I was extremely excited to spend the day in SLC listening to live performances. Concert presenters Sartain and Saunders closed off 700 south, placing the main stage right on the entrance to Kilby Court, and down the road facing it was the Spyhop stage.
Each band was conveniently placed in staggered time slots so fans could enjoy a handful of their favorite bands without having to make too many choices. On the main road, they had tables and chairs for those who wanted to grab a quick bite at the provided food trucks, and next to the road they had VIP seating under umbrellas for those who wanted to get a break from the sun looking for a more relaxed experience.
Throughout the event the staff had scattered multiple TV screens showing the history of what bands had played at Kilby throughout the years. I found it super interesting to see bands that I listen to frequently now had a show or two at Kilby just a few years prior. It was super cool to see different successful artists and picture them playing a super intimate show at the amazing Kilby Court.
I personally was there to photograph and support one of my favorite local artists Anaïs Chantal. I had previously met Anaïs and her band at a show she had opened for at Kilby, and I was super excited when I got the news that she wanted me to photograph her set for this year’s block party. I’m so glad I stumbled upon her and her music, and her set was the perfect way to start the festival.
The next set I watched was Krooked Kings. I remember seeing a good chunk of the crowd walking towards the Kilby stage. I checked the schedule and I wasn’t familiar with the band so I followed the crowd to see what the hype was about and I was definitely thankful I did. As I approached the entrance people were flooding out into the courtyard area with the benches, this was the first time I’ve ever seen Kilby that full. The band went on to play an incredible set and put on a super fun show. Especially being a first time listener, I was glad I got to capture the moments they had on stage.
Dad Bod was one of the bands on the lineup I was very excited to see. I’ve seen them live a couple of times and every time they never fail to put on a great show. Fans including myself packed the Kilby stage before their show with anticipation for them to start playing. Once they took the stage and were done with their soundcheck they got right into their first song, then going on to play once again a perfect set.
The thing I love about the Kilby stage is that every show there is super intimate because of the size of the venue. It’s a lot easier for the artists to be in touch with their audience. It’s truly a unique experience being that close to an artist you enjoy listening to as they play. I believe it makes you appreciate the art they’ve created in a more personal way.
One of my favorite performances on the main stage was the band, Flor. This was my first time seeing them live and they put on a great show. Each band member had incredible stage presence, despite being directly in the sun throughout their entire set. Even on top of being beaten down by the sun the band kept their energy high and got the crowd on their feet the whole time. It was awesome to see that volume of people in a crowd again outdoors, fans covered the street from the stage to the soundboard excited to hear them play. During their performance, the guitarist said his pedals were messed up so he took a brief moment to check which ones were which and went on to say “I guess I’ll be guessing” which made for some good laughs in the crowd.
IDKHOW was another band that I surprisingly hadn’t heard of until I was getting ready to go to the block party, so I listened to a couple of their songs before the festival and that got me excited to see them live. The group put on a fun and energy packed set. It was a trip being in the pit seeing all the fans on the front row shouting every lyric back to them. “The first show I ever played was down that road for some family and coworkers” Lead singer Dallon Weekes said while pointing down toward the Kilby stage, “It’s so good to be back being able to play in front of you all.”
Built to Spill
Built to Spill was also another amazing performance on the main stage. The band had an insane crowd that stretched some distance behind the soundboard. I personally really liked their sound a lot, because it was super relaxing but at the same time, I could rock out to it. As I was in the pit the crowd was going crazy as the Lead Singer/Guitarist Doug Martsch played his melodies on the guitar. The entire band had a super good stage presence but Melaine Radford the bass player was particularly cool to watch.
Young the Giant
Fans filled the entire street stretching far behind the soundboard while Young the Giant was preparing to take the stage. There’s no feeling like the anticipation you get waiting for one of your favorite artists to start playing. I saw some fans that had been there since the beginning of the festival just so they could secure a barricade spot for YTG. Once they took the stage, echoes of fans’ voices bounced between the buildings lining the street. “13 years ago we played our first shows here and I’m super happy to be back with y’all, I want to give a massive thank you to the team with Kilby for making this happen!” Lead singer Sameer Gadhia exclaimed after the first couple songs.
The band continued on to play an amazing set. Songs including some of their hits like “Cough Syrup” “Mind Over Matter” and “Something to Believe in”. They even played a short cover of “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac transitioning from their song “Repeat”. During the end of their song “Firelight” he instructed the crowd to raise their flashlights/lighters. It was an amazing sight to see. As they got closer to the end a wave of lights grew from the crowd. Before you knew it the entire street was filled with light from the crowd.
Once the band played their last song and exited the stage the crowd went crazy chanting “Encore! Encore! Encore!” It wasn’t even a full 10 minutes before the band ran back on stage. “Salt Lake City, you always know how to turn up! I love you all!” Sameer said sending the night off just perfectly.
Young the Giant Setlist:
Something To Believe In
Heat Of The Summer
Mind Over Matter