Back in 2010 Corey Fox, owner of Velour Live Music Gallery and singer-songwriter, Joshua James put together the first Fork Fest. It’s an event that is still talked about to this day. Now in 2019, the Harrington Center for the Arts got involved and brought back this amazing festival that spotlights the best local talent in Utah.
This event could easily, and perhaps should be called Velour Fest because these bands have all graced the stage at one point or another of the iconic Utah County venue and champion for musicians in the area. There were 28 bands on the lineup, each of them at varying stages of their musical career. I’ve seen local music all over this great nation of ours. I’m continually in awe of the talent pool here in Utah. If you heard that any one of these bands were signed (whatever that means nowadays) and were heading on a nationwide headlining tour you wouldn’t be surprised. There is not only an embarrassment of riches when it comes to music talent here in Utah, but there is real professionalism in their approach to their music. Many of them started at an open mic night or a battle of the bands. But when they stepped on to one of the three Fork Fest stages they looked like seasoned veterans.
BILLIE. FREAKING. EILISH. WOW! On Tuesday, June 4 Billie brought the most amazing and well put on show I have ever attended to The Great Saltair. As early as 6 am on Tuesday, fans arrived dressed head to toe in Billie’s merch and sat in line all day hoping to get a good enough spot to see this talented 17-year-old perform. The freeway exit to the Saltair was completely backed up due to the number of people anxiously arriving to attend this show. The Great Saltair is all the way out in Magna and there is only one exit to the venue and one parking lot so it was pretty crazy getting all of the cars in.
On Saturday, June 1st, Parachute made their Utah tour stop at The Depot in Downtown Salt Lake City! I personally have loved Parachute since I was 15 years old. I had never seen them before so I was stoked to finally get to see the Charlottesville Virginia based band for the first time in concert. I love their upbeat and fun style of music. I couldn’t wait to see what type of show they would put on.
The Depot has always been one of my favorite venues so I’m always excited when I find out a band is performing there. It was a great fit for this show! As for attendance, I felt like the room was completely packed from front to back. I was surprised when I heard that The Depot wasn’t sold out. I heard the same thing when I coverd Walk Off the Earth. It was so packed in there I don’t know how it wasn’t a sellout!
Parachute performed beautifully throughout the night and brought so much energy. One of my favorite songs from Parachute is “Can’t Help”. I might be biased but to me, that was the best song of the night. They also played other popular songs like “Jennie”, “Something to Believe In”, and “Kiss Me Slowly”. Each and every one of those performances were insanely good! The crowd seemed to be having a good time. There was a good mix of teenagers and adults and it seemed like everyone danced and sang the night away.
My favorite part of the show was hearing how highly lead singer, Will Anderson spoke of Salt Lake City. He mentioned that there was a different energy from any other show. Anderson expressed how he was always so excited to perform in Salt Lake every year because it has been his favorite for many years.
As I mentioned, The Depot was a fantastic venue to host this concert. They do very well with sound and the lighting looks great in there. When the sound and lighting are it makes for a really fun atmosphere to be in. You never want to leave! Unfortunately, once Parachute came out and played “Lonely With Me” for their encore, it was time to go. The Depot will forever be one of my favorite venues to attend.
I feel like I’ve been circling around The Hollering Pines for a few years. The first time I saw Marie Bradshaw, Kiki Jane Sieger, Dylan Schorer, Daniel Young and M. Horton Smith perform was at The State Room for a Bruce Springsteen tribute show where a variety of local artists performed Born in the USA in its entirety. A few nights later I saw many of these artists perform with Americana super group The Lower Lights at their annual Christmas concert. It was only after that show I realized that these five members were their own band. I quickly jumped onboard the Hollering Pines train and don’t plan on getting off any time soon.
This Friday (June 7) The Hollering Pines will be releasing their third album, Moments in Between. Concurrently they will be performing an album release show at Commonwealth Studios.
I had the opportunity to visit with Hollering Pines drummer, Daniel Young leading up to the show and album release. Hope you enjoy our conversation!
Memphis McCool is a band located right here in Utah. They’ve been assembled for just a year and already they’re playing festivals, and art shows. They’ll be at Park Silly Market this Sunday, June 2. I had the opportunity to speak with John McCool about the band and his experience in music. I really enjoyed our conversation. Hope you do too! Here it is…
Utah Concert Review: So first things first, what’s your role in the band?
John McCool: All right, my name is John and I am the lead guitar player and the songwriter. But I kind of define myself as the primary song generator.
UCR: Nice. And how did you guys all come together as a band?
The first time I ever heard NEEDTOBREATHE was from a YouTube video of them performing one of my favorite Christmas songs “Go Tell it On the Mountain”. I absolutely loved that version and I watched that video dozens of times over the Holiday Season. So when I saw a few months back that they would be playing Utah I knew I wanted to cover their concert. I just had a good feeling that I’d be entertained by their live show. I had never even heard any of their original music. When I googled the band to get a little background I saw a lot coming up about NEEDTOBREATHE being a “Christian Rock” band or articles written about “Are they or aren’t they Christian Rock”. Nothing against Christian Rock but it comes with the stigma that “It’s not really rock”, or it is watered down because of its subject matter. Whether that’s true or not is a debate for another day. I only wondered what type of concert I would be going to. Would it be a more traditional concert like the ones I’m used to going to? Or would it be a concert with a lot of preachin’ both in the music and the spoken word? I did see an article in Rolling Stone where NEEDTOBREATHE stated that they don’t put labels on their music and because it can be limiting. They feared that they had been passed over by people who may have enjoyed their music because of being labeled a Christian Rock band. So I told myself before going that I would be open-minded to whatever I was going to see and make my decision after the concert was over.
Joshua James live is a thing to behold. The man never lost focus and wasted no time with banter. Music poured from his veins from the second he took the stage to the second he left. His ardent, impassioned folk was the perfect counterpoint to a damp March evening.
Roadie will be performing on night 2 (February 22) at this year’s Les Femmes De Velour. We caught up with lead singer and guitarist Aubree Liz leading up to the show. Enjoy!
Utah Concert Review: What is your story with music? How did you get started? What made you decide you wanted to perform and write music?
Aubree Liz: I was actually a really late bloomer when it came to becoming a musician and songwriter. I’d been very heavily interested in music my whole life, but it wasn’t until I saw one of my first live shows just after graduating high school that it really sucked me in. I’ve been hooked on creating and performing music ever since. There is something incredibly powerful about being a musician that allows you the opportunity to connect with a whole room of people individually at once. And as soon as you get a taste of that, it’s hard to go back. It’s definitely hard work, takes a crazy amount of dedication, and just sheer blind faith that what you’re doing will ever lead to anything or connect to anyone, but that’s all art. And it’s worth it.
UCR: How did you get connected with Les Femmes De Velour?
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?