By: Local SLC musical artists: Valerie Rose Sterrett and Annie McAllister
Cradling two microphones in her right hand as if she were holding a pair of birds, Chan Marshall, known as Cat Power, pours her powerfully enchanting voice into them, the audience staring into her shadow as if she were casting a spell. The atmosphere was very intimate as the audience swayed and nodded their heads in agreement with her music. You could see her fans feeling it, some smiling with their eyes looking up to her in awe, while others danced freely with eyes closed and arms gliding. The Union is a spacious venue, but it held what felt like a purposefully modest audience in chairs that reached a little more than halfway back into the space. Toward the middle of the concert, she waved for us to leave our chairs and come closer.
Last week was interesting to say the least, given the opportunity of approaching these last couple performances without knowing too much about the artists was a bit nerve wracking at first, yet a refreshing challenge when exploring any music for the first time. For this reason, I chose to not familiarize myself with Frank Turner, doing what I could to maintain an objective mindset, moving forward. Unfortunately, I was late due to the eight city blocks that is the entirety of Salt Lake being crippled by one basketball game.
I was transported Monday evening and I am still not quite sure if I have yet returned. I am slightly terrified as I write this…full disclosure, I did not know that much about Chelsea Wolfe when I was asked to cover this performance. So I put the headphones on, tuned in and let Ms. Wolfe take me away, not dissimilar to what happened Monday night when I arrived at a completely, packed to the back, Metro Music Hall. After binging her music all afternoon, I was ready for an evening of Gothic rock.
With only four shows left on their North America tour, Half•Alive was in Salt Lake City, Utah for the first time. The Salt Lake City show had been sold out for a while and H•A fans were eager to see the boys in town. A nice surprise was that Half•Alive had accepted alternative rock, radio station, X96’s invitation to do a Lounge X acoustic performance. Earlier in the day, a small group of fans lined up outside Club 50 West, including myself. I have come to love these intimate, lounge X performances because they’re so much more personal and up close. Another plus is fans usually get to meet and take photos with the band afterward, which we did. The acoustic performance was lovely. They started out with “TrusT”, played “Runaway” and “Still Feel”, which is their most famous single. Josh, Brett & J. Tyler took some time to answer questions from the fans, which is always super cool. I even got to ask a question, asking the lead singer Josh, where he and the boys get their music video inspiration from. If you haven’t seen any of Half Alive’s music videos, you should check them out because they are beautiful, cinematic pieces. Josh replied to me saying that on their YouTube page, they actually have a whole playlist of music videos they find beautiful and that they like to get inspired by what catches their eyes in those videos. I think that’s super awesome.
I’ve been a fan of Ingrid Michelson for about ten years now. Of course, I knew her big songs, “You and I” and “The Way I Am”. But it wasn’t until July 21, 2010, that I truly got it. Ingrid opened for the British band, Keane at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, California. It says a lot about an artist when they can win over 6,000 people who are at a venue to see someone else. But she did it. She had the entire audience eating out of the palm of her hand by the end of that set. I think she forced Keane to up their game because the audience must have had high expectations after her set. I’ve had the privilege of seeing Ingrid Michealson a few times here in Utah, both at The Complex and In the Venue and she delivered every time. I always look forward to her coming to Utah. But this time I was especially excited because one, she hadn’t been here in about four years, and two I loved her latest album Stranger Songs, and couldn’t wait for her to perform those songs live.
On Saturday, an enthusiastic crowd welcomed Amber Bain, better known as The Japanese House, to the Complex in Salt Lake City. Bain’s debut album “Good at Falling” was released in March of 2019, although she released four EPs between 2015-2017. This was her second visit to Salt Lake this year, showcasing the new indie-pop tracks as well as “Something has to Change”, the lead single off her upcoming EP, this time around.
After local acts 90s Television, Major Tom & The Moonboys, and Static Replica covered a range of punk rock discography (The Strokes, Ramones, and Misfits, respectively), Starcrawler took the stage at Urban Lounge to wild applause. “Punk,” “rock,” and “Halloween” are just a few words that can be associated with the Los Angeles-based group, whose frontperson Arrow de Wilde has been known to perform in straight jackets and leave stages covered in fake blood.
Have you ever seen Bastille live before? I’ve seen them one other time when they played at the UCCU Center on the campus of Utah Valley University. After that Utah County concert, I knew Bastille was a band I would always enjoy seeing live when they came to Utah. The combination of hearing their melodic indie pop style live and the energy of the band make the Bastille live show one to never miss.
Sleater-Kinney hasn’t lost their fire. The show opened with the dramatic, almost industrial “The Center Won’t Hold” with fast-flashing, panicky lights. The band insisted that the show be open to all ages which meant special restrictions on alcohol (they’re cognizant of the influence their music had on a generation of adolescents and mean for that to continue).
It’s hard to believe we’re well into October already. But sure enough, we’ve reached the month where we celebrate, spirits, ghosts, and at Eccles Theater…holograms? It’s true. On October 10 the Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream Tour with Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly confused our eyeballs and delighted our imaginations. When I first heard of this concert it piqued my interest. Enough so that I knew I needed to see what this was all about with my own eyes. So I made my way out to Eccles Theater and saw the show. I’m still not sure what to think of what I saw.