Ben Folds entered my radar in a real way at a Tori Amos concert. He’d just embarked on his solo career and she gave him a leg up by letting him open for her Lottapianos tour. He has grown as an artist since then and seems to have taken a cue from her refusal to draw harsh lines between the rock and classical music worlds. Ben was backed by the Utah Symphony Orchestra (along with a choir) which plumped out and embellished his melodies as well as faithfully performed pieces from his sonically ambitious So There album, written with an orchestral arrangement in mind. My one disappointment was that they did not perform Ben’s “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra” which topped Billboard Classical and Classical Crossover charts.
I remember the week following P!nk’s concert in May of 2018 I had a strong feeling that I had missed something special. People were going on and on about how amazing the show was. So when it was announced shortly after the May concert that P!nk would be returning to Vivint Smart Home Arena in April of 2019 I knew I couldn’t miss this tour stop. The only problem was having to wait for pretty much a year for her to come back. But years seem to fly by and before I knew it, P!nk made her much anticipated return to Utah.
After seeing Noah Kahan play a sold-out show at The State Room back in October I thought I knew what was in store when I heard that he’d be supporting James Bay at The Union on March 23. Back in October, Noah put on an exceptional show. The crowd was into it, and they left more than satisfied with the evening. So I had a feeling there would be more of the same at this show. If anything, I thought perhaps it might be a bit of a letdown because Noah would be opening. I had no idea things would go like this.
Exactly one year to the date of their last visit to Utah, KOLARS made their triumphant return to Salt Lake City. The band performs yearly at the Treefort Festival in Boise, Idaho, so it makes perfect sense to stop and do a show here in town on their trek up north. Last year they played Kilby Court on a rainy Thursday night. Both Lauren and Rob remembered our interview in their dressing room before the show as the rain pounded the roof of the tiny room. This year KOLARS set up shop in The Urban Lounge.
Noah Kahan, a very talented singer-songwriter on the rise, is making his return to Utah this weekend when he supports James Bay on March 23 at The Union. This show comes on the heels of a sold-out show at The State Room. With a new album on the way and a successful lead single just released, Noah is an artist to keep an eye on. I enjoyed talking with Noah about the new album, choosing songs for that album, and what it’s like to headline versus open for someone. He was as interesting and insightful as always. Enjoy!
Noah Kahan: Hey Kevin, good to hear from you again.
Just five dates into her second headlining tour, Maren Morris made her first stop in Utah as a headliner on Tuesday night, bringing her Girl: The World Tour to The Union Events Center in Salt Lake City. Morris had made previous stops in Utah as an opener for Keith Urban and Niall Horan but never as the headlining act. Walking to the venue I could tell from those walking beside me that this was a really big deal for Maren Morris fans.
The Young Dubliners and Salt Lake City have had a love affair that started from the early stages of the band. Lead vocalist, Keith Roberts, mentioned a number of times how much he loved playing Utah, and how good Salt Lake City has been to the band. He even mentioned playing two sets one night at the long gone, Zephyr Club downtown. The band plays Utah pretty much every year, sometimes twice if there is a festival involved. Still they pack in a warm and friendly crowd no matter the venue. It was obvious the moment I walked through the doors that the audience was excited to be there and hear some Celtic Rock.
Friday night’s venue was The Commonwealth Room. This venue has existed just over a year, and it’s becoming one of my favorite concert spots in Utah. It holds less than a thousand people so there isn’t a bad spot in the room. The sound is great. And so far they have pulled in great talent, which seems to bring in the best and most appreciative audiences.
Usually, when you see a band you like in concert multiple times, you know what you’re going to get. After a while there is only so much a band can do to keep the show fresh and new for their fans. We as fans will generally accept that because we’re there to hear the songs we love live, so even if we’ve heard them play the songs the exact same way for years, we’re cool with it because we’re happy a band we like has stopped in our city again. That’s not to say the song, or show has become dull. I’m only saying that you eventually figure out what a band is going to do. For example, there are a number of bands that I like, that I’ve seen multiple times, and when they start testing the effect on their guitar, I know what the song is before it even starts. Or if they play a fancy intro, I can make out what song it is already. Sometimes part of the fun of a live show is guessing what the song is before it starts. But try not to be a song predictor too often. It might get old to your friends or those around you. Anyway, the reason I’m rambling about all this is because I just saw Muse in concert. And they put on one of the best live shows out there today. If not the best!
Los Angeles based artist Party Nails’ debut album, Past Lives and Paychecks was released in 2018. Her most recent single entitled ‘I Go To You’ is a stunning and intimate love song, featuring relatable honest lyricism, raw acoustic guitar and layered soft vocals which ride gently atop the organic instrumentation. Her previous single ‘So Broke’ features the singer’s distinct sound of glittery synth-pop and went viral on Spotify.
We caught up with Party Nails when she was here in Utah supporting Eve 6 on their 20th anniversary tour. She had some wonderful insight on someone who is getting their opportunity to do what they love. Enjoy!
Utah Concert Review: So are you originally from Los Angeles?
Party Nails: I’m from New York. Like 40 minutes south of Albany. So not too far north but definitely really rural and small.
Utah Concert Review: Did music bring you to L.A.?
Party Nails: Yeah. I lived in New York City for like four years before I moved to L.A. I just had this thought that I should probably move to L.A. so I did. But that’s the short version of the story.
Utah Concert Review: So what happened where you started to feel like things were happening for you with music?