Josh Groban Preservation Hall Jazz Band & Eleri Ward• July 27, 2022• Vivint Arena
Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe
Utah loves Josh Groban. He could easily do a concert in Utah every year and it would be well attended. In some ways, it feels like a homecoming concert when Groban stops here on his tours. I’m sure that is in part, due to him recording his Awake concert film right here in Salt Lake City at the very same venue where we saw him on July 27, 2022. To my knowledge, he has no ties to this state. It just feels like there is a real connection between Utah and Josh. Groban’s stop on his Harmony Tour was no exception. The lineup was stacked with talent from newcomer Eleri Ward to the really fun Preservation Hall Jazz Band to Josh Groban. The night never lacked for beautiful moments of music.
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.
Tomberlin w/ Jana Horn• June 4, 2022• Urban Lounge
Reviewed and Photographed by Mallorie Lerman
Salt Lake City was packed full of events this past weekend as the city celebrated the Pride Festival and the beginning of pride month! I was so glad to have a friend suggest some parking to me since I had never been to this venue before. Fortunately, I was able to park on the street by some houses and walk about five minutes to Urban Lounge. Having never listened to either artist before, this entire show was a new experience for me from start to finish.
Freddie Gibbs w/ Redveil & MIKE• April 27, 2022• The Complex
Reviewed and Photographed by Tomo Crestani
With an exciting new album in the works, legendary rapper Freddie Gibbs visited The Complex in Salt Lake City. Having sold out weeks before the show, there were many people outside the box office who had been scammed with fake tickets. The venue handled it very well in helping those fans find a way to attend the show or get their money back. That was basically the only negative thing I saw happen at the show. (Which is obviously not the artist’s or venue’s fault.) Although not featured in the previous 2 shows, Freddie brought along a second opener for this show. The two openers featured in Salt Lake were Redveil and MIKE. Having had the opportunity to listen to all three artists before the show, I was excited to see how they performed each song.
The Flaming Lips w/ The Particle Kid• April 26, 2022• The Union
Reviewed and Photographed by Alisha Gregson
On Tuesday, April 26th, Psychedelic Rock band The Flaming Lips brought their colorful show to The Union Event Center in Salt Lake City. I was familiar with a couple of their songs. In preparation for the night I checked out a few videos from their past concerts. With the research I did, I knew that this concert would be one of a kind.
I arrived at 7:00 just as the doors were about to open. Outside stood a line of excited fans ready to be entertained. I was however surprised to see that the crowd for the night was much smaller than I expected. The band often plays to a sold-out audience, including their previous sold-out shows at the Ogden Twilight Concert Series. My guess is that many local fans may have actually traveled to Denver to catch their show the night before. Denver is known for having a bigger psychedelic scene. Or possibly fans are expecting them to return to Ogden Twilight, which is unfortunately not the case this year.
On April 20th, IDLES visited The Complex for a show in between Coachella sets and rocked the house! Upon arrival, I noticed the crowd was very chill compared to other events. They seemed to be there just for a good time. Not a lot of hurry to get to the front of the crowd or save spots. Although it was a big room, The Complex began to fill up very quickly.
Journey Freedom Tour w/ TOTO•March 24, 2022•Vivint Arena
Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe
Preceding their album of the same name, Journey’s Freedom Tour is underway. It should come as no surprise that Vivint Arena in downtown Salt Lake City was packed for the rock n roll hall of famers. I can’t think of a Journey concert whether it be out at USANA Amphitheatre or here at Vivint Arena that wasn’t overflowing with fans. Journey is one of the most beloved bands in Utah. People of all ages have taken to their music, and their concerts show it. With every song, I could hear the echo of the crowd’s collective voice singing along. These guys have been doing it for years. They’re true professionals. I can’t imagine playing to an engaged audience like the one on Thursday, March 24 could ever get old.
Petty Theft- San Fransisco Tribute to Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers January 15, 2022 OP Rockwell
Reviewed by Kevin Rolfe
I only had the opportunity to see Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers live one time. It was on the 40th Anniversary tour. A tour that would turn out to be Petty’s last. I was fortunate to see the tour at the beautiful Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. When Tom Petty died I was grateful to have seen him but like so many, I was sad that we would no longer get to see him perform his amazing songs again.
When I saw some years back that Petty Theft was coming to Utah, I was intrigued but wary of another band playing Petty’s music. Sometimes I can get a little snobby with music and I imagine I thought that Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers music was untouchable and should never be performed by a tribute band. I’ve learned that whenever I get snobby my narrow-minded view is usually wrong. When I saw that Petty Theft would not only be coming back to Utah but that they would be playing two dates (one in Salt Lake and one in Park City), I realized I must be missing something. I decided I needed to see these guys for myself.
A great kick-off to the month, Wolf Alice stopped in Salt Lake on the tour of their newest album, Blue Weekend. Before being offered the chance to photograph them a coworker had brought up the band to me in a discussion. I had never heard of Wolf Alice before but during this discussion, there was nothing but good things spoken about the band. After hearing all that I was excited to hear them live. A couple of hours before doors opened, I was streaming their top few songs to get an idea of the type of sound and vibe that was going to be heard from the night. I was immediately intrigued by the alternative rock sound of it all. I was curious how they were going to be live.