I don’t think I’ll ever have the perfect words to describe how the band Half • Alive makes me feel. I don’t think anyone can truly understand how extraordinary and unpredictable a Half • Alive show really is unless they experience it for themselves. Thankfully for Utah fans, a lot of us got to experience that on Monday night, September 13.
The Ogden Twilight Concert Series has been a huge hit for the Northern Utah music scene this summer. Surprisingly this was my first time attending a show in Ogden and I was excited. I had seen quite a few photos and videos of the previous shows at this venue. The energy of the place was beautiful and it sat right in the heart of Ogden’s downtown area.
It was a sold out show and the crowds gathered early to cap off their Saturday night with a bang! Luckily for me, I had my girlfriend and a couple of my friends who were also at this concert. It was the perfect night for the last few summer nights with friends. The venue had a cozy lounge area for sponsors of the event. It was also awesome to see the food trucks placed right inside the venue. It made grabbing a bite really convenient for the fans.
I arrived just right on time to catch RnB artist/singer/songwriter Ant Clemons. This man might be unknown to the casual concertgoers at this venue, but I was extremely excited to see Ant perform live. I grew up in the early 2000s RnB era and Ant Clemons brings that energy and soulful music into today’s current music. Ant is famously known for becoming a guest artist in Kanye West’s 2018 single “All Me.” From that point on, Clemons has been all over the music industry and has worked with Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Snoh Aalegra, Sunday Service Choir and the list goes on. He has solidified his name in the music industry and forever will be a part of many top charting albums.
Ant Clemons opened up his set with dance moves that reminded you of the early days of Usher. The younger crowd couldn’t help but get as close as they could to the barricade. Ant performed with so much charisma and energy. His band was small with a drummer and a guitarist and he mainly sang with his instrumentals. He performed his hit single “Appreciation,” with rapper 2 Chainz and Ty Dolla $ign, which made the crowd groove along with him.
Clemons checked in with the crowd to get a gauge of how they’re feeling and he mentioned how he wanted to do something different. He wanted to make a song in the moment. I was very shocked and curious about how he was gonna execute this. As an artist with his caliber, I knew he had a good plan that still seemed very interactive. He split the crowd in half. One half sang a faster tempo melody and the other half the slower part. When both halves mixed it created this rhythmic melody that lit up Ogden. He sang along with the crowd reaching high falsetto notes.
Clemons proceeded to play all of the top hits he was featured in and dancing to today’s top songs. With songs ranging from SZA, Justin Timberlake, and Kanye West, it was almost shocking to know he was a part of a bunch of songs that we listen to on a daily basis. I personally believe Kanye wouldn’t be the same artist he is now without his features and help from artists like Ant Clemons. Ant finished up his set and you can tell the crowd appreciated and enjoyed his performance. Seeing him definitely made me realize how much work goes behind the scenes in the music industry.
Before the show, I had very little information about Noah Cyrus. The only reason I knew about her is because of my girlfriend that listens to her music. I’m a huge fan of her single with Leon Bridges titled “July”. She resembles the same twang and sound of her sister Miley Cyrus. Her style of music comes with a huge background of Nashville, Tennessee. Lastly, the day before the show, I did my best to listen to her top songs. It was beautiful yet intricate and very descriptive and open about mental health issues. I have shown a lot of appreciation to songwriting in these past couple reviews and I will always show the utmost respect to someone that writes about their life and turns it into art.
I was counting down the days for the Rise Against show. Growing up, Rise Against was one of the few bands that I listened to daily. Going to as many concerts as I have been to all my life I was ashamed to say that I’ve never seen Rise Against perform live! So I was stoked to finally cross it off my bucket list.
Watchhouse August 19, 2021 Red Butte Garden Amphitheater
The timing of this show couldn’t have been any better. It’s a cold brisk night in Salt Lake City. The perfect company for that is some good Folk/Americana music provided by Watchhouse, formerly known as Mandolin Orange.
It was a big night in Vivint Arena. Not only was Country Music legend, Alan Jackson performing, but it was the first time the arena would be hosting a full capacity, sold-out concert in almost two years. The way everything went, you wouldn’t have guessed it had been that long. Concessions, security, and ushers alike were in top form. It was a great feeling, but still a little odd to see so many people together.
The year was 2009. Alternative Brit Band, Keane was at the height of their powers and had just sold out the Palladium in Hollywood. I was there. The memories of how excited I was for that concert still feel fresh. Turned out, unbeknownst to me, a buddy of mine would be attending the concert as well.
I went on and on about Keane and asked him several times how excited he was to see them live. He mentioned to me that he wasn’t going to the show to see Keane at all, that he was only familiar with a few of their hits. As I pulled my jaw from the ground to put it back in place I asked, “Is your date a Keane fan? Why are you going then?”. He said, “Mat Kearney’s opening. I’m going to see him.” Stupidly I asked, “Who’s Mat Kearney?”. My friend replied, “You’ll see.”.
It was a perfect night for a concert and for King & Country did not disappoint. It was another sold-out show at the Sandy Amphitheater. This summer they have had a great run of shows and they’re packing the place.
Sons of Apollo are a supergroup consisting of members of Dream Theater, Guns N Roses, Mr. Big, and Journey. Sons of Apollo will be in Salt Lake City on January 28, 2020 at The Commonwealth Room. I had the opportunity to speak with lead singer Jeff Scott Soto recently leading up to their tour promoting their latest release MMXX. Jeff has been associated with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Queen Extravaganza, and most notably Journey. I’ve been impressed with Jeff’s versatility and ability to continue to work in an industry that is ready to kick you to the street on your first setback. I really enjoyed visiting with him. Here’s our conversation.