Author: Meredith

Matt and Kim 03/02/13: The Complex – Salt Lake City, UT

Matt and Kim

If you haven’t caught on to the Matt and Kim movement yet, you are missing out. The duo is currently on tour with Passion Pit, and in my opinion, outperformed them recently in Salt Lake City(03/02/13). Matt and Kim opened their night by doing a little Harlem Shake for us. It didn’t take long to see that the crowd was overly excited to start the night. This was a sold out show, and tiny hipsters were everywhere.

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From the very first beat, the show was moving at an insane pace. Matt and Kim don’t just play music. You can actually see it forming in the air around them and collecting in the room as they “play”; more like blast through their tunes. Kim, well, she’s an animal. From standing on her drums, directing with her sitcks like a conductor, and even making jokes about her bra, Kim makes the duo fun and beautiful. During the set, a deal was made with the audience that she would play a whole song with her shirt off if the crowd would wave theirs above their heads. Deal delivered.

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Kim also performed a pretty amazing concert stunt in this day and age. While Matt explained why she was putting on an air cast, he also instructed the crowd to snuggle up and hold Kim as she walked out onto the crowd and “shook her ass” in their face. Honestly, this is risky, a little punk rock, and still an awesome novelty. Good on you Kim. Aside from being a showman, she is also a balls-to-the-wall drummer. She never seems to miss a beat, and I giggled at the giant sandbag needed to hold her set-up in place.

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Matt is both the comedic emcee and vocal leader. He jumps around, gets up on the keyboard bench, and is just as wild as Kim. He introduced her as his partner in music and sex, and when you think about it, how could that life be anymore fun? Matt was certainly blown away at the amount of people who showed up that night, and he did promise that they would never skip Salt Lake again. I’m holding you to that Matt.

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Of course, tunes played included “Daylight” “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare” and the new and energetic “Let’s Go”. If you get an opportunity to see this duo live, you should take it. It might be the most energetic and legal fun you can have.  I have not been disappointed at a Matt and Kim show, and I don’t see how you could be. You better believe that the next time I’m running a few miles, I’ll be trying to keep up with the pace of these two in my ears. Check out their new album, Lightning.

Please enjoy the photos I took.

Meredith’s Top 10 Concerts of 2012

It’s nearing the end of the year, or if you’re into it, the end of the world as we know it.  Since I’ve attended many shows this year(30+) and taken photographs, I thought I’d share with you a re-cap of my most favorite shows from 2012. I am going to list them in the order in which I saw them, because picking a favorite is not easy out of what I’ve chosen. Here we go!

 

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1. 311 Day 03/10-03/11 MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas NV

What can I say?? I’m a 311 die-hard. This event was one of the most awesome concerts I’ve had the opportunity to witness. Yes it cost a lot for tickets, and yes, I was bummed I didn’t get floor tickets. But, traveling to Vegas knowing I’m not only going to see my favorite band play TWO nights in a row AND I get to see my friends from around the country made it worth it. Two days before leaving for Vegas, I caught 311 in Wendover NV as well. Met some fans who we actually followed and kept running into at gas stations along the way from Utah to Vegas. That’s one of the things that makes 311 unique. Their fans can easily become your family(literally, people have met through the 311 website and are now married with kids). When I got word that I got to photograph the band on 311 Day, that only amped up the show for me. With setlists that exceeded 30 songs per night, and a stage to rival the likes of Rob Zombie, 311 put on a show that went down in history. Thousands of people singing their hearts out, a band that loves its fans(truly….they honor fans by using fan art, our photos, etc, and always give credit) and a venue to fit us all. What an incredible two days.

311 Las Vegas 2012

 

2. GWAR 04/10/12 Saltair,  Magna UT

When the opportunity dropped into my lap to go to GWAR, two things happened: I got nervous, and I got a raincoat for my camera. I’d never seen this band, nor listened to anything of theirs past what I heard over the years randomly. I also heard that they were less than polite to photographers. So naturally, shooting this  show seemed like a good idea to me. What I saw and experienced made this show one that I will tell stories about forever. I had a poncho for myself, but used it to wrap my camera bag and hid it out-of-the-way. I was glad, because I got targeted immediately by a torso that had just had the head cut off on stage. The fake blood spurting out of the neck stump went directly into my mouth, eye and into my lens(yay for camera ponchos!)as the torso bent over and drained into my face. Yep, that’s normal. It didn’t phase me and honestly I got right over the fear of it. GWAR continued to dismantle people, creatures and Snooki on stage that night. Guts, blood, parts…..a mess. But the thing that amazed me was their ability to play instruments and sound good while all that was going on. A spectacle but very, very well produced. I will definitely take the time to bask in the live horror that is GWAR if they come back to Utah. Which they should, seeing as how there were plenty of flesh-hungry weirdos that were there(and a guy who literally threw his 7-year old into a mosh pit).

 

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3. Primus 06/19/12 Rail Event Center, SLC UT

Legend. How could I not go to Primus? Playing their new album, “Green Naugahyde” in its entirety AND a set of our favorites as well? Sign me up. While the crowd warmed up with the “Primus Sucks” chant, I readied my lens. I stood in front of a stage with red lights, two giant astronauts with moving, living faces(awesome stage production), and my hands were shaking. In a moment, I was standing less than a foot from Les Claypool. Legend. Innovator.  As I stated, they played two sets. The first was a mix of hits, “Frizzle Fry”, “Pudding Time” etc. The second, was what I would call a trippy date with Pink Floyd, but on more acid, with more spinning things. “Green Naugahyde” is very different, but still very Primus. I think it was best it was played as a whole, and it fits as a piece that I feel is meant to be listened to from start to finish. But as a gift at the end, Primus encored with “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver”. Dream come true. Capped off the night with meeting the band, and getting my Miscellaneous Debris EP signed, as well as my Green Naugahyde vinyl.

Primus SLC 2012me and les

4. Band of Horses 07/26/12 SLC UT Twilight Concert Series

We here in Utah have an outstanding summer concert series for the last 15+ years. It has nothing to do with those stupid vampire movies/books, and it’s called Twilight Concert Series. This year, they spoiled the hell out of us. We got a visit from Indie(yeah I said it) rockers Band of Horses. With songs you know from popular shows (The Funeral) and gentle hits like “No One’s Gonna Love You”, this band’s live performance wins over both the casual listener and the uber fan. I had the pleasure of being in the photo pit for this, and I was like a giddy school girl. I have listened to this band now for a few years, and it delighted me to hear them live. This was one of the larger crowds that turned out for the series that also featured artists including Nas, and Tinnie Tempah. The energy was amazing, and the crowd was singing along word for word. One of the summer shows not to be missed.

 

Band of Horses

 

5. Iron Maiden 08/01/12 USANA, SLC UT

You read that correctly. I went to Iron Maiden, and GWAR this year. I would not consider myself a hard/metal rocker. But I know better than to miss Iron Maiden on a tour to my piddly state. When Iron Maiden adds you to their tour stops, you go. And the crowd did. This was a very interesting mix of folks. I think I saw at least three pregnant women(two with broken legs) and a pregnant stage tech(also with a cast, hoisting her belly up a speaker stand no less). Mullets, 80’s leggings, and lots of black clothes. But, the thing that caught my attention was the many children that were out and about. This was a family affair. Many parents were seen passing on the musical tradition of a good ol’ rock show, and this made me have a little more hope in humanity. Instead of running to a Bieber show, little metalheads were having a great time watching the flames shoot out of the stage, and Bruce Dickinson leap about like a spring chicken(to quote the tour manager haha). The guys are in prime condition and threw down the gauntlet of rock music. The show was amazing, well-played, and for guys pushing 60+, doing the splits was pretty awesome. I am not allowed to share the photos, as there was a waiver, but the best way to see a show is to GO.

 

6. Rob Zombie/Marilyn Manson 10/01/12 USANA, SLC UT

I went to this show as a fan of Marilyn Manson. I like Rob, but I like Marilyn more. I missed out the last time he was here and I was not going to miss him this time. Marilyn Manson opened for Rob Zombie, and now that I look back, that is just fine. I had excellent seats for this show, and no photo pass(boo) for Manson. He had a crazy stage with several changing sets, costumes, effects, etc. He also blew some “coke” onto the audience during “The Dope Show”, which was backlit with a large sign that read “DRUGS”. From pope costumes to glittery gloves and sword-shaped mic holders, Manson, for me, delivered.

The star of this tour though, was Rob Zombie. Meeting him before the show was an added bonus. Skinny, polite, sweet I’d even say. He hugged me tightly and won me over for sure. Nothing like the man who came out of a robot’s chest that was shooting flames. Yes, I’d say it was about 12 feet of robot, and Rob Zombie emerged and took his place behind his mic of bones. The man is a talented showman. I was blown away at his pace, his talent, his band, and his stage. Rob interacted with the crowd, large inflated bouncing balls fell into the crowd during a song, pulp comics of vintage women  played on screens that were part of the stage’s platforms, and Rob dominated the show. He walked off stage and came into the crowd and sang with people during a song. The theatrics do not mask a lack of anything for this group. They compliment the musical talent and experience that Rob’s band has, and this was a total delight. I did get photo access for this set and took some decent photos. GO SEE ROB ZOMBIE.

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7. Deftones 10/17/12 In The Venue, SLC UT

Ch-ch-ch Chino. Again, one of those “do not miss” nights. Deftones came into Salt Lake City and owned it. I was talking to a stage hand who told me that they’d brought at least 3 semi trailers of sound gear, and so much of it that it wouldn’t fit the stage. I was more than amped for this show, and the crowd of sweaty people packed in on a mild October night, was pushing the capacity of what the place could hold. I was one of three people in the state lucky enough to get a photo pass for this. I was pretty damn blown away when Chino leaned into me and screamed into my face during a song. Nothing like that. The man is amazing. He also sweat on me, cause you know, we were close enough for that haha. The performance was killer, the sound amazing, the energy immense. My first Deftones show, and no way will it be the last.

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8. Blue October 10/31/12 The Depot , SLC UT

Ok, this band took me by complete surprise. Yes, I knew who they were and their songs. But I have a rule. Never judge a band until you see them live(that even goes for country artists which I don’t usually like and yes, I’ve suffered through many country acts and some redeemed themselves). Blue October came into my town on Halloween and played a private “winner’s only” show for the local radio station. About 25 people were invited to see an acoustic performance by three members of Blue October, in a room that was part of The Living Planet Aquarium. This room is like a sunken ship, and that added to the beauty of what happened next. Singing four songs, Blue October’s Justin Furstenfeld got into my head. I wasn’t the only one; several people were silently crying and listening to him sing. The acoustic versions of The Ocean, Hate Me, Dirt Room, and a new song, are haunting. That’s the best way to put it. No matter what your life is like, these lyrics echo in you. It was something I haven’t had before, a deep connection to a total stranger. It felt like no one else was in the room. I don’t know how they did that, but all the people in the room got a personal show that day. A handshake, photo and autograph….sure. But what stuck with me is way more valuable than those tangible things that will burn or fade away. Blue October played a whole set later that night at The Depot that was also incredible, but nothing like a bare-bones set with just a guitar and some other strings. I was honored to have been there.

Blue October

 

9. Cursive and Minus The Bear 11/06/12 The Depot, SLC UT

I’ll admit it, I’m not well-versed in Cursive’s catalog. But I knew a few songs and a friend of mine has been following them for years, so he encouraged me to go. When I realized that Minus The Bear was headlining, I was sold. Cursive commanded the stage with such force. I was truly analyzing what I was hearing and really enjoying watching the show. To me, they sounded like a fusion of B52’s, punk, and some swing rock. But each song was so different, and the time changes alone were enough to make any musician want to know “how’d they do that AND make it work?” .  A great set indeed.

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Now, Minus The Bear….just, DAMN. I couldn’t have been more excited to see these guys. The last time they came, they played an album in its entirety, and I was ready to hear some other tracks performed live. I was lucky enough to shoot the show as well. The lighting was amazing, the sound-even better. Soft yellows and greens and smoke, along with that signature MTB sound and a crowd that was unusually young I thought. That made me happy though, seeing that there are some young folks left that appreciate real music. I got to hear “Pachuca Sunrise”, which they actually did in an extended version and I did get some tears in my eyes. I love this band, and they are doing amazing things with their music. Capped off the night with meeting the band, and pulling some gang signs at their request in our photo. Good times, good show, and awesome live performance.

Minus The Bearmgmtb

 

10. NOFX 12/08/12 The Complex, SLC UT

Ok. This was probably my first “real” punk rock show. This was a highly anticipated tour stop for this band, as they have not been to Utah since 2008. Luckily, I was sent into the surprisingly large photo pit to capture the first few songs. Also awesome, was the fact that we were in the “big” room at this venue, which held about 2500 people I’d guess. Either way, the place was packed and punk getup was everywhere you looked. People were extremely excited for this show. I’d been seeing people post about it for weeks on various social media networks, and heard people talking about it in passing. When Fat Mike and the boys took the stage, a guy immediately hopped the rail. Security was less than polite, slamming his head into my back and taking him to the ground. When Fat Mike called them out for being rough, the guy stood up and yelled “FAT MIIIIIIIKE” and then was escorted out. Fat Mike told Security to be nice and let him stay, and alluded to some butt raping joke…..but hey, it’s a punk show. Some highlights of the night were the insane jumping by Eric Melvin, drummer Erik Sandin sticking his tongue out at me, a dumbass fan putting his hat over a bright light and nearly setting it on fire(personally witnessed this and slapped his arm to get his attention when the hat was smoking), a plethora of beer cans being tossed, a series of racist jokes between Fat Mike and El Hefe(who was spotted “face timing” with his kiddo prior to the show) and the polite and rowdy fans screaming the words to every song in our faces.  This show was SO fun to be a part of. I’d see them 10 more times. Even if they sucked. But they don’t. So put on your spikey jacket, spray up that mohawk, tie up your Docs and head out to this spectacle. Because you’ll have a damn good time.

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All in all, this was a great year for shows in my state. I was blessed with a great job that allows me access to take photos, and it has given me so many experiences that I will never, ever forget. I am honored and happy to share those with you, and please enjoy the photos I managed to snap at these shows. Have a happy, apocalypse-free 2013. Be good to each other. Looking forward to sharing the shows with you!

I went to The Church of Rock and Roll and got saved by Foxy Shazam

What happens when you cram 200 people into a room the size of a living room and invite Foxy Shazam and friends over? I’ll tell you. I had the pleasure of going to one of Utah’s smallest venues, Kilby Court on 04/12/12 to check out a “revival”. Foxy Shazam, the biggest little band you’ll ever see, rolled through my town. They brought along support acts Cadaver Dogs and Maniac.

Cadaver Dogs…..this band is gritty, loud, and a lot of fun to watch. Frontman Mat, well, let’s just say he made it more than clear that he was there to “please” the crowd haha. He brought serious energy. One of my favorite moments was when guitarist Cole wrapped the mic around the stand and held it over into the crowd for the crowd to sing along. I was getting a kick out of this baby-faced crowd(it’s an all ages venue) smiling politely at Mat’s sexual references and drummer Alex’s coughcough “gestures”. I enjoyed their performance and would definitely see Cadaver Dogs play in Utah if they decide to come back.

 

Next up was Maniac. I had heard that this was an 80’s band. I would not necessarily classify them this way. While they very enthusiastically crammed 6 people onto the tiny stage and sang for us, I got a Grouplove-meets-Men At Work-meets-ABBA vibe off of them.

 

The songs were positive, warm, and you could tell that this band has a tightly knit unit. The front men had a very candid and brotherly repoire. I was able to get some shots of them while they performed songs including hit,” Pride of Lion”. They left me feeling happy and I got my fill of la la la’s no doubt.

 

Lastly, before Foxy Shazam came out, there seemed to be about 50 extra people that smashed into the already surging crowd. The excitement was thick, and I was really pleased at the turn out. I didn’t know that so many Utahns were into Foxy. As the ensemble made the walk onto the stage, the crowd was cheering and screaming. By this time, I’d lost a lot of ground and been forced to the side of the tiny stage. I had the pleasure of standing right behind trumpet madman Alex. I was kindly warned by Mat of Cadaver Dogs that Alex kicks, and to beware. He was right. I spent a lot of time admiring his legs and horn work. Foxy Shazam delighted us with several songs, including “Holy Touch”, “I Like It” and the awesome “Church” intro.

The head of Foxy, Eric Nally, is incredibly flexible. This man basically did the worm from a standing position. For a very small stage he surely explored the space, and being that I was relegated to side stage I was very happy he faced my way quite a bit. I was groin-level a lot of the time kneeling on the ground to shoot through people’s legs trying to get this spectacle on camera for you. And I succeeded. Eric is a born performer. He would be fun to watch without anyone else on stage. At one point he requested the lights be dimmed. We’re at a place that has basically a string of colored bulbs and two clamp lights for lighting. As the lights could not be dimmed, Eric simply unscrewed the bulbs and gave us mood lighting.  I was also delighted to see SO many fans screaming along every lyric with the band. It impressed me that there were so many true fans, and of such a young age. There is hope afterall.

If you don’t go and see Foxy Shazam on this tour, in these small clubs, you’re missing an opportunity to be part of a rock legend in the making. This band is big already, but they will be selling out venues and booking larger gigs. Go, now. See the Church of Rock and Roll, say a prayer and prepare your testimony, because YOU are the apostles that will spread the word. Please enjoy the photos below. Amen.

 

GWAR Invades Utah, Souls Stolen 04/10/12

GWAR w/ Municipal Waste, Ghoul and Legacy of Disorder 04/10/12

The Great Saltair – Magna, UT

Words/Photos by Meredith

 

When aliens come to your town, you apparently pile the family in your car and go see them. That’s what about 800 Utahns did on Tuesday April 10, 2012. The invaders, GWAR, stopped in Utah on their Return of the World Maggot Tour . Along with them they brought guests Legacy of Disorder(all the way from New Zealand), Ghoul, and Municipal Waste. Each band did their job in riling up the crowd that was more than happy to come out on a Tuesday to The Great Saltair and get gooey.

The openers, Legacy of Disorder, were very amped and brought a lot of metal energy to the slowly forming crowd. They performed a short set, and the lead singer even stepped off of the stage into the crowd for a song. After they finished, things got pretty interesting. The band Ghoul took the stage. Four guys with bloody shirts covering their faces, a blood squirting voodoo chicken and jokes about eating babies? Sure, why not. Afterall, if you’re going to the show, you know damn well what you will be seeing.

Ghoul played a very unique set, including dark banter and limited thematic horror. At one point, one of the band members commented “I’m so hungry, I haven’t eaten a baby in hours”, to which another member quipped “I found a deli tray in the back that was also satisfactory, you should try that”. I’m pretty sure there was a plastic chicken that was sacrificed on stage, complete with a squirting wound that the audience lapped up. They also had a giant pepper-spraying robot come out(fake red spray of course). Oh yeah, and you know, a sub-human creature that pulled its own intestines out and choked band members while they played….including a member of Municipal Waste that came out for a song.

And this is when it got NUTS. Municipal Waste came out and played rousing hits like “The Thrashin’ of the Christ”, “Peer Pressure” and the ever-popular feel-good hit “Insurance Fraud”. The singer mentioned he was having throat issues but that didn’t seem to dampen his spirit. During the second to last song, he called for a “Wall of Death”. Do you know what that is? I do, now. He asked members in the audience to take sides, and when the music hit to run full force at each other and try to get to the other side.  You know how I said you pile the family in the car and head to see the aliens? Well, there were quite a few children present. Glad to see dear ol’ Dad throwing 10 year-old Sonny Boy into the pit and scream “REGULATE SON”. I’m not even kidding.

After Municipal Waste cleared out, limping fans regrouped and the room got really thick. Oh and I missed the memo on the dress code, I wore all black. Apparently white pajamas, no underwear, the largest white shirt you can find, and Grandpa’s belted jumpsuit would have been more in line. It was about 45 minutes before the Ozzy tunes stopped and the lights dimmed for GWAR. I must admit, being one of only three photographers there(all chicks I might add, ROCK!) I was a little nervous. I had reserved my poncho to wrap my gear bag, and had my camera condom all snugged up and ready for action.

 

A cloaked creature opened the show with a quick explainantion on the deed he possessed to the castle of hell that GWAR would be performing from. A skeleton-headed character appeared. The next thing I saw was Oderus Urungus swing his big ass sword and cut the head off of the skeleton. This kicked off the first of the gore and the first song. Yay, right? Yeah…it was really cool. The now-headless torso took aim and showered the audience with blood. I used my proficient ninja skills to shoot this and duck the blood, which worked a few times. Then, the torso got wise and just dumped on me, twice. Mmmm, cold bloody water! Haha. I was a little shocked because of the chill, but kept on shooting.

GWAR tells a story. They present this live stage act that honestly had me missing the Ninja Turtles LIVE stage show I saw when I was 6. I was waiting for Shredder to make an appearance. Despite the gore, including yes, you heard it here, a satirical dismembering of Snooki(part of that “Jersey Shore” novelty act), they know how to throw an invasion. The crowd could not be more elated to take it in the face(yeah I said it) from GWAR. A large dinosaur-ish creature dubbed the Jagermonsta was cut limb from limb as well.  We had the delight of a necrotic Nazi coming out and throwing a bucket of radio-active guts on us as well.  He pointed right at me, I swear, but the middle of the crowd got his prizes, not me.

I was particularly amazed at the elaborate costuming that these dudes have to wear. Take Balsac The Jaws of Death, for instance. He stands in goat legs, complete with hooves that have to be at least 6-10 inches alone. He walks all over the stage, sings and plays guitar at the same time. Even if you don’t like the content of the music, the talent is definitely there.  Beefcake The Mighty, the giant trojan fellow, didn’t move around as much but was clutch on the bass. I couldn’t really see much of drummer Jizmak Da Gusha, but he drove the songs as the drummer has to. In case you didn’t know, GWAR has been nominated for two Grammys, but has lost. *The More You Know*.

This was my first GWAR experience. I enjoyed it. I thought that they were amusing, engaging, frightening and funny at times. Oderus did mention that the prompter wasn’t quite working and only had one hiccup waiting for it. That was the only moment that I realized they were “normals” under there. Other than that, the dismembering, blood-thirsty aliens commanded the attention of all. I had a great time ducking blood from the Blood Cannon, headless torso, Snooki’s guts, and just the general horror that ensued that night. They covered their normal setlist for this tour. Please enjoy the photos below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Up: Night Two Photo Gallery from 311 Day 2012

As promised, here is the link the second night of 311 Day 2012 photos from Las Vegas. Check them out! This was a one-of-a-kind event and there are so many awesome photos in this gallery. You can enjoy them by clicking here.  For information on 311’s Unity Tour 2012 with Slightly Stoopid, SOJA and The Aggrolites – click here.

 

311 Day 2012: Two Nights of Awesome

Yes, this is ANOTHER 311 post from me. This one is to explain to you the amazingness that transpired on 03-10 and 03-11-12 in Las Vegas Nevada. For those of you who do not know, the band 311 has been celebrating “311 Day” with a show that happens on the date 03-11, every two years for a while now. This is a show that is like no other. Fans from many states and even other countries make the trek to see the band put on a spectacular show. These events include pre-show fan parties, on-stage performers like specialist drummers, dancers and many other antics. I have now been to three(2008, 2010, 2012), and this was by far the best.

In the past, the festivities were held in New Orleans primarily, but due to a scheduling conflict with a worldwide dental conference(so we heard) the venue has been moved to Las Vegas the last two times. I’m ok with that. I can drive there!!  The event took place at The MGM Grand Garden Arena. This year’s show was even better for the true fan, because not only did we get a 311 Day set, we got a warm up tour and a 3/10 show as well. This means that 311 played 79 songs over the course of two nights. Each night indulged us with TWO sets as well.

 

Night one was amazing. From the special songs, rarities( oh and Nick Hexum covering Bob Marley’s Waiting in Vain), the intense and pure energy that radiated from the crowd, we knew this would be fabulous. A serious high point in the show is always Pnut’s bass solo. He added a new level of amazing this time. He took his bass solo on a trip around the ENTIRE venue. This place holds an estimated 17,000 people. Pnut walked off of the stage, and circled the lower bowl while slapping his bass along the way. This was an incredible moment as the ecstatic fans surrounded him, not hindering him, cheering and reveling in what they were witnessing.  Night one saw historical debuts, including “Time is Precious” and “Old Funk” which featured Nick Hexum on the piano.  The band also did a sweet reggae remix of “Sunset in July”, much to the delight of fans. A few songs added extra percussion talents with the group Beat Squad joining 311 on stage . During the break, the 2012 Summer Unity Tour with Slightly Stoopid was announced. This is a great match-up, and makes total sense to me. Thirty-nine songs later, the night ended with a countdown to “311 Day”. It was mildly comical that we were actually 6-7 minutes into 3-11-12 when the countdown began, but we all cheered along with the screens and shouted anyway. Here is the Night One setlist:

SET I:

1. Omaha Stylee (With Intro)
2. Do You Right
3. Time Bomb
4. Taiyed
(311th time played)
5. Evolution
(Last played 3/23/00)
6. Salsa

7. Large in the Margin
8. Starshines
9. 1, 2, 3
10. Sweet
11. Time Is Precious 
(Setlist debut – Unreleased Evolver B-Side)
12. Don’t Stay Home
13. Something Out of Nothing
14. P-Nut Bass Solo > Coda
(With P-Nut walking around the entire lower bowl playing his solo)
15. Nutsymptom
16. I’ll Be Here Awhile

17. Right Now (Last played 3/11/08)
18. My Stoney Baby
19. T & P Combo
20. Mindspin

*** INTERMISSION ***
– Announcement of 2012 Summer Unity Tour w/ Slightly Stoopid

SET II:

21. Freak Out (Featuring Beat Squad Drumline)
22. Soulsucker
(Last played 8/17/03)
23. Today My Love
(Last played 3/11/08)
24. Wild Nights
25. Freeze Time
26. Thank Your Lucky Stars
(Last played 8/17/06)
27. Full Ride
28. Hostile Apostle
29. Dancehall
(Last played 4/15/02)
30. Transistor
31. Inner Light Spectrum
32. Waiting In Vain
(Solo Bob Marley cover by Nick w/ electric guitar)
33. Six
34. Sunset In July
(Supa Dups Reggae Remix Version)
35. Hydroponic
36. Nix Hex
(With Nick on Fender Rhodes piano and extended intro/outros)
37. Old Funk 
(Setlist debut – Unreleased Transistor B-Side, Nick on piano)
38. Welcome
(With Nick on piano for intro jam)
e:
(Sick Tight) –
On stage setlist with question marks, but not played
39. Jackpot
(Ringing in 311 Day with a countdown, Beat Squad returns)
(courtesy of the www.311.com website)

 

If you’re overwhelmed already, rest assured, we all were too. There is nothing like seeing a band play 39 songs, meeting up with your friends who have actually become your family all while knowing there is a SECOND night of music awaiting you. I know that there are other bands that play extended sets, give each show their all, and make magic on stage too. But, this band has a backing of thousands of people from all over the world who are willing to travel to see them nearly anywhere. It’s more than a band, fans, a crowd. It’s a unique family. And for night two of the reunion, we were again spoiled as can be.

Night Two kicked off with “Down”. Predictable, but hey it’s a “classic” isn’t it?  I started this night off in the pit with about 15 other photographers, all of which were fans of the band. It’s always nice to shoot along side people who “get it”. We also got another debut, “Firewater” was played live for the first time.  Other highlights included “Beyond The Grey Sky” where Nick asked for all the lighters int he crowd to be displayed. I chuckled watching the guys in front of me (fellow Utahns I might add) trying to download the “Zippo Ap” in a hurry.  One of my personal favorites, is the song “Too Much Too Fast”. We were honored to have this song debuted to us, and I am so glad I finally got to hear this song live.

For the second set, 311 brought out another group of specialty instrumentalists, “The Unity Percussion Ensemble”. The seven-piece ensemble added so much to the songs, complete with xylophones and many other percussion instruments. I did get a little giddy too, when they played “Gap” and dedicated it to all the people who have 311 ink(yes, I’m that big of a 311 geek that I’ve permanently marked my body with related art). The second night included highly-requeseted songs like  “Use of Time”, “8:16 AM” , and “Jupiter”. We were certainly feeling the Transistor love that night. After thirty-nine songs, 311 finished off the incredible evening with well-loved encore song, “Feels So Good”. At the end of the song, confetti cannons boomed, and colored paper fell onto a group of people who can be summed up with they lyric “Now I  got a clique it’s more like a family” . If you weren’t feeling the love, feeling included, or feeling the radiant energy that was happening, you must have been dead. Here is a look at the setlist for Night Two:

SET I:

1. Down
2. Rock On
3. Grassroots
4. Hive
5. Sever
6. Off Beat Bare Ass
7. Amber
8. Firewater (Setlist debut)
9. You Wouldn’t Believe
10. And A Ways to Go
11. Applied Science
(Mobile drum platform moved to front of the stage for Chad’s solo portion)
12. Jupiter
13. There’s Always an Excuse
(Last played 10/31/10)
14. Brodels
15. Trouble
16. Still Dreaming
17. Beyond the Gray Sky
18. Creatures (For a While)

*** INTERMISSION ***

SET II:

– First four songs featured the seven-piece “Unity Percussion Ensemble”
19. Cali Soca
(Last played 8/29/07)
20. Speak Easy
21. Stealing Happy Hours
22. Life’s Not a Race

23. Use of Time
24.Too Much Too Fast (Setlist debut)
25. Lucky
26. Don’t Let Me Down
27. 8:16 AM
28. Beautiful Disaster
29. Uncalm
30. Juan Bond
(Last played 3/11/08 – Blue Album B-Side)
31. Eons
32. I Told Myself
33. All Mixed Up
34. Gap
(Dedicated to all of the 311 fans with ink)
35. Homebrew
36. Who’s Got the Herb?
(With rock ending)
37. Livin’ & Rockin’
38. Random
(“We wanted to end the show with something…Random”)
e:
39. Sometimes Jacks Rule the Realm
(Last played 3/11/06)
40. Feels So Good
(With confetti canons to end the show)

(again, thanks to the www.311.com website for the complete list)

A road trip, flight, or trek to see a band in another state often sounds crazy to people. Especially if you saw them last summer, and a week before you drive to Vegas to see them again. I can’t tell you what it is that brings us all together, but I wish there were more of it to go around. There is nothing like being in a group of thousands of people that are united by the simple love of music. The people that become your friends and family are more than worth the cost of the tickets, hotels, etc. This event is a special experience for the fans, and we can at the very least, say thank you. See you at the shows!!!!

Check out my photos below, as well as a link to the other incredible photos of the photographers who captured this event. To see Night One, click here. To see Night Two, click here.

The Road to 311 Day 2012: The Peppermill Concert Hall

It’s the time of year where I’m in heaven. 311 Heaven. The band is doing a spring tour making their way to Las Vegas for 311 this week. Lucky for me, this usually includes a stop in Wendover. Wendover is the child of Utah and Nevada. We share custody, but undoubtedly, Nevada gets the cool part. It is home to casinos and free drinks while you gamble. It also houses the Peppermill Concert Hall. This venue, while hosting bands like Kansas and Styx, also knows how to throw a great 311 party.

The night started off with DJ Trichrome. He was spinning some awesome reggae beats off of actual 45s. It was nice to hear vinyl. I was getting a kick out how he would tell us the years that the tunes were made, once saying, “this is back from 1985”. Haha, that’s not that long ago, is it? I’m getting old. Anyway, he is a talented DJ and amped up the crowd by repeatedly asking us if we were “ready for 311”? Me? BORN READY.

So after about 30-40 minutes of reggae awesomeness, the lights went down and 311 took the large stage. They opened with “Beautiful Disaster”.  Right away, you could tell this was going to be a blast. Obviously, I’m a fan. But, there were others, lots of others, jumping and singing and thoroughly enjoying the show.  311 busted out a pretty diverse setlist, covering several albums and played one of my all-time favorite songs, “Stealing Happy Hours”. Here is the official setlist:

1. Beautiful Disaster
2. Prisoner
3. All Mixed Up
4. Weightless
5. Grassroots*
6. Eons
7. Sweet
8. Come Original
9. Rock On
10. Visit
11. Stealing Happy Hours
12. Applied Science
13. You Wouldn’t Believe
14. Purpose
15. Lose
16. Rub A Dub
BASS SOLO
17. Freeze Time
18. Nutsymptom
19. Amber
20. Down
e:
21. Who’s Got The Herb
22. Creatures (For a While)

It should be noted that Grassroots has not been played since 08/19/06, per the 311.com website.

I think that the best part of this show was Chad Sexton’s drum solo during “Applied Science”.  He used what appeared to be an electric drum head to make some of the most unique music I’ve heard. There was an Asian flare to the whole solo, some audience members quipped that they were listening to the music from video game Mortal Kombat. Chad continues to amaze me. I’ve been seeing 311 since 1997, and the band is constantly growing and exploring themselves, while staying true to their “grassroots”.  The rest of the band joined in on the solo. This time, we had gongs. That was a really neat twist. They’ve used a gong before I believe, but they each had smaller, squared gongs. This just added a really different sound that I quite enjoyed.

Of course, no 311 show is complete without a P-Nut bass solo. He pulled out all of the stops and blew the crowd away both with skill and sound. Like I said before, they get better EVERY time you see them perform. And Tim Mahoney, as always, was spectacular. He is a gifted guitarist. He had some very impressive solos and played off of the energy Nick Hexum was radiating. They came together on stage for parf of “Beautiful Disaster” and I watched Nick mouth the words “that’s nice” which I captured here:

All in all, I was very happy to have been able to both attend and shoot this show. There is no more delight in a photographer’s life in my opinion, than to stand next to, or in front of the people who make you the most happy, and snap photos of them. I am honored to share with you my photo gallery from the set. Two more stops: Lake Tahoe and Sacremento, then the magical event 311 day 2012 can begin. I know myself and several of my friends from across the USA have been counting down to this since 2010! Can’t wait to get on the road and see the show! Enjoy the photos below.

 

Tumbledown and Mike Herrera Make Utahns Happy

It’s been a while since I’ve done a review. I am happy that I got to review Tumbledown and Mike Herrera as they came to Tony’s Bar in Salt Lake City on 02/22/12. For old punkers, Mike Herrera is no stranger to you. He is the dark-haired, tattooed frontman of MxPx. You’d have to be living under a rock not to know one MxPx song. I remember seeing them several times on tour as a teenager, and they actually have a new album on the way. The band that Mike’s been with lately is Tumbledown. I’d say they’re rockabilly-punk fusion. The neat part about this particular show is that a friend of mine convinced Mike and the band to come to Utah for this performance instead of another state. She’s been in love with MxPx since I’ve known her, now about 13years or so. Through the magic of social networking, she spoke with Mike and he decided to roll his band and his rickety van(they had some vehicle trouble) on down to Utah.

As a result, Utah got a special night, that’s for sure. Mike opened for Tumbledown. He played audience requests of MXPX songs acoustically, much to the delight of the crowd. The crowd was about 50-60 people packed into a dimly-lit bar on the east side. We were able to stand about 2 feet from the stage, and sing along with all of the angsty songs of our youth. One of the audience members yelled out for Mike to play “Tomorrow is Another Day”. During this time, I had “a moment”. I stood there with my camera, listening to the words of this song. I thought long and hard about where I was in my life, and what the time I have left actually means. For me, this was a very revealing moment, and I was really emotional there for a second. Mike’s voice is amazing. Aside from being just a really nice man, he is quite the guitarist and vocalist. I think that there were others there having personal epiphanies while he took our requests and let us relive parts of our youth. And no, no one shouted out “Chick Magnet” in case you’re wondering.

After about 10 or so songs, a shot or two(courtesy of some happy fans) Mike and Tumbledown took the stage. The thing that got my attention first was the blurring arms of drummer  Harley Trotland. The man is a monster behind the drum set. And he has to be as I stated before that this is some fast-paced music. Tumbledown did play some slower country-type ballads, remniscient of Johnny Cash. One of my favorites of the night was She’s in Texas, and I did enjoy the “Arrested in El Paso Blues” a lot. I liked this music because first off, it isn’t anything you’ve heard before. Secondly, you’re comfortable with it because you can move to it, dance, and sing a long. But most importantly, it is quality music. The upright bass player, Marshall Trotland thumps away on that bass like a heartbeat during a race. He also manages to dance while he plays. A shout out here to my pal Jesse as well for letting the band borrow his bass amp and head, thanks man!

There is a mellow, smooth dynamic in this band that leads you to believe they’ve been together 20 or so years, like an nice aged scotch. The guitarist, Jack Parker, lays down awesome, bluesy leads that just mesh well with Mike. I was very, very impressed by this band. Honestly, this was one of the best performances I’ve been to this year, and for a concert photographer that’s saying a lot. The band is technically skilled, well honed and something special to watch. If they come to a venue near you, check them out. I remember being in a sea of screaming teenage girls and boys just trying to get to the front of the stage of an MxPx show, even having my hair ripped out. The opportunity to behold Mike Herrera and Tumbledown in a small place, on a small stage, on a Wednesday night in Utah was fantastic.  Check out some photos below. MxPx is hitting the road on a tour tomorrow as well. Also, here is Tumbledown’s site if you want to take a look.

http://www.tumbledownhq.com/

 

Minus The Bear:Has It Been 10 Years Already?

 

 

Minus The Bear 10/05/11

In The Venue – Salt Lake City, UT

Words/Photos by Meredith

Beards. I love them, you love them, and let’s face it: they rocked us all while attached to prog-rockers Minus The Bear this Wednesday in Utah. I had the privilege of finding a good spot on the rail early on, before the openers Velveteen took the stage. I think that the choice in opener complimented MTB well. While Velveteen crooned away on stage, they reminded me of The Mars Volta, a little better version of Muse, and some hints of Coldplay(without the whining). Velveteen incorporated the keyboard with heavy and lengthy tunes interjected with soft and powerful vocals. I was pleased to see the singer sit down and sing a gentle, airy tune after the overwhelming jams they’d been busting out previously. I honestly lost track of how many songs they played, but I would go see them again. I had a great time watching the guitarist rock his socks off and really giving his all to each song. If I had to guess, I’d say they had the stage for about 45 minutes or so, and it was really good stuff.

After clearing the stage, we thought that we would get some Minus The Bear rather quickly. However, there was what appeared to be some technical difficulties, and Alex Rose made an early walk-on to take a look at his keyboards. Shortly after, MTB walked out to a crowd that couldn’t have been happier to see them. Being that this was the 10th Anniversary Tour, the album Highly Refined Pirates was played in its entirety(along with other surprises). MTB is a band that I can honestly say sounds better live than most bands I’ve seen. Considering in the last 18 months I’ve heard about 70 different acts performing live, you can take my word on the subject. They are true professionals, growing in their sound and creating something that is undoubtedly their own. I can’t name any other bands that sound like MTB, and frankly, I don’t need to. If you want to hear songs about adult things, in adult ways, here you go.

I personally enjoyed hearing this album because while it is older, it still captivates it’s listeners. While standing in the crowd, I’d watch the concert-goers’s faces light up when a song would start, and they’d turn to me and say “this is my favorite!”.  There were plenty of people there on a “school night”. I was impressed with the diversity of the crowd as well. It was nice to put faces to the people who like me, turn on MTB for a drive, a day of relaxing, or searching the fiber of our beings.

A word of advice: if you have not seen this band, go. Don’t wait another ten years to soak in the wonder of what these guys do. Pick up any of their fine albums, Omni(yeah I have on double vinyl), Menos El Oso, Planet of Ice….and so on. You won’t be sorry. For your visual enjoyment, a photo gallery by me, below.

311 and Sublime with Rome @ USANA SLC UT 08/17/11

Here we are again from the great state of Utah, often overlooked for its live music scene and great venues. This time I get to share with you a review of my most favorite band, and some of my best ever photos. It’s my favorite tour of the summer, Unity Tour, which means one thing, and only one thing: 311 has come back to play for ME!

311 has this awesome habit of coming to Utah at least once a year, sometimes we’re lucky and get a spring tour stop as well. The boys have just come off the the first-ever Pow Wow Festival which was held in early August in Florida. The festival featured guests Sublime with Rome. Those of us who couldn’t make it were glad to know that Sublime and Rome were on the books for Unity Tour. On a very hot Wednesday evening on 08/17/11, Sublime opened for 311. I must say, I am most impressed with the shoes that Rome is filling. He has taken the role of front man for Sublime and made a seamless transition. I don’t get the feeling at all that he is trying to be Bradley, better than Bradley, or any of that crap. Rome is his own man, and he sings a hell of a song. The band serenaded us with good ol’ favorites like “Date Rape”, “What I Got” and even the new single “Panic”. There were plenty of people singing along with ALL of the songs, and what a great way to kick off this show.

Now that the crowd was sufficiently ready, willing, and able, my boys took the stage. I was down in the photo pit. I’ve shot for 311 before, but I have to say that this was honestly my most favorite time. The crowd was amped. People were holding signs up for songs “Cali Soca” and “Juan Bond”, while others did the standard “311, 3-3-11” chant. I joined in because hey, just because I’m in the photo pit doesn’t me I can’t have fun. When Nick Hexum came out and the song “Hive” commenced, the crowd instantly compacted. SA Martinez, the other half of the vocals, nailed every word and danced his ass off. This opening song brought so much energy, and the crowd of about 18,000 came alive.

The band continued playing an array of songs, including some off of the newly released “Universal Pulse”, as well as what I would call rarities like “Electricity” off of Transistor. Salt Lake was lucky enough to get “Who’s Got the Herb” which usually is initiated with a chant of the title(followed by aromas and clouds of smoke, duh).  Other highlights were “Come Original”, “Jupiter”, “All Mixed Up” and even “Six”. 311 kept the songs flowing with a fabulous drum solo by Chad Sexton, a bass solo that was the best I’ve heard from P-nut, and a group drum session including Tim Mahoney that has become a crowd favorite. We also were indulged with a 3-song encore featuring “Jackpot”, “Rock On” and “Creatures”.

As you can tell, I enjoyed the show. I enjoy it every year. 311 is a very fan-oriented band. They have events just for us. Upcoming awesome things: 311 Day 2012 in Las Vegas(a two-night show that usually covers 60 or more songs) and a 2012 311 cruise. Check out www.311.com for all details. Also, please enjoy some(well, 34 or so) photos below.

 

A Perfect Circle, A Perfect Place 08/01/11 Salt Lake City

When rock legends like Maynard James Keenan and Billy Howerdel stop in your town, you get your ass to that show. The band A Perfect Circle hasn’t released new tunes for about 6 years, and let’s face it, fans are getting anxious. The venue of choice for their tour stop on 08/01/11 in Salt Lake City was Kingsbury Hall. This is an opera-style theater. While waiting to get in to the theater, the surroundings and demeanor of the venue didn’t really seem to wear off on it’s attendees. I had a great time people watching, and was not bored at all. There were girls in shredded shirts, Madonna-esque neon dresses, and a few couples who dressed in outstanding taste complete with suit coat and wingtip shoes. Don’t worry, there were plenty of black tees and ripped pants. The venue was extremely strict about phone usage. They actually confiscated people’s cell phones if they took them out inside the hall. I knew with all the extra security and beefed up recording policies, that Maynard wasn’t messing around.

When I was allowed into the hall finally, I was told there was no standing and I’d get to crawl on the floor for two songs to shoot this band. I can honestly say, this was the most difficult, exciting, and nerve-racking shoot I’ve ever done. The stage was set up with fake explosives and bombs, complete with flowers “sprouting” from the casings. It reminded me of an old-west town prop. I happened to pick a spot in front of a mini-piano(I know there is a term for it but hey, I don’t know it). When the lights went out, my hands started to shake and the crowd cheered. Because of my spot, I was a mere 2 feet from Billy Howerdel as he played the mini-piano to opening song “Annihilation”. At this time, the lights were almost completely out, and Maynard was but a silhouette. In fact, the brightest it ever got while we were allowed to photograph was some purple lights, and a light burst, but that was it.

For the second song, the famous John Lennon tune, “Imagine”, the purple lights were going and I was a little more confident that my photos may turn out. Now at this point we could see that Maynard had on his sunglasses, and was rocking shoulder-length black hair, but that was about it. James Iha had a place at the keyboard, and Matt McJunkins was rocking out to my right. Billy picked up his guitar, and haunting notes and lyrics from the past rang out in Kingsbury Hall.

Before I knew it, my photo time was up and I was being kindly escorted out by staff. As I walked out, “Weak and Powerless” started, along with a beautiful ghostly yellow lighting scheme. This was my second time seeing this band, and this was a very intimate, almost holy experience. I was honored that I was allowed to be there and take photos, and I don’t think anyone could walk out of that show feeling like their $75.00 wasn’t well spent.  If you don’t have the cash for this tour, find a way. Pawn that old guitar, mow lawns, walk dogs. Hell, make it happen. If you don’t go, you can’t possibly understand what you’ll be missing. Please enjoy the photos below.

Summer Jam Takes Over The Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City

Summer Jam is an annual show that happens here in Utah. It’s been going strong for a few years, and this summer’s was no exception. Headlining the show was T-Pain, New Boyz, Dev, The Rej3cts, and many others including local talents. I was lucky enough to get a photo pass, and snapped as many shots as I could. There were between 7000-10,000 people in attendance, and it made for a diverse and never dull crowd. This party blasted Salt Lake on 07/30/11 Please enjoy the photos.

Other acts performing were: Dj Quik, Phaya, Lake Town Affiliates, Miss Malicious, and a few others. All in all a great time and a great set of performers for a summer hip hop party.

 

 

Grace Potter and The Nocturnals 07/16/11 SLC UT

 

Potter. No, not Harry, not this time. This time it’s all about Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. The group and accompanying artist Rayland Baxter made their way back to Utah to treat us with a set list that the fans themselves requested. A large crowd packed into downtown Salt Lake’s newly remodeled outdoor venue, The Gallivan Center on a very hot Saturday evening(07/16/11). For some reason, the venue kept looping one song, over and over until Rayland Baxter took the stage and ended the madness. I met up with him before the show at his merch booth. He was kind enough to chat and drew me a little picture. Rayland is a “country boy”. He plays his guitar. He plays it with soul. The most charming thing about Rayland’s performances is the simplicity that runs through each song. He often prefaces the song with a story of its meaning, then strums away. He has a clean, soulful sound, and I enjoy that he whistles during the songs. Rayland was kind enough to throw out a couple of his hand-wrapped cds into the crowd. His voice reminds me of both Simon and Garfunkel. Rayland Baxter makes for a great opener, that’s for sure.  Included is a flickr.com link to photos of Rayland from this set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/52457275@N05/sets/72157627087877141/

 

After warming up with Rayland, the crowd was ready for Grace Potter to take the stage. When the group walked on, it was noticeable that one member was not in attendance; Catherine Popper. But, the show went on. Grace. What can one say about her? Knockout beauty, the pipes and talent to match. If you’re able to take your eyes off of her as she struts on stage with her tambourine and dangerously short outfits, you’ll notice that there are other incredibly talented people in the band. I’ve seen them twice now, and I really got into this show and watching how the drummer and guitarists just bury themselves in the performance.

Grace danced, sang, strummed and awed. She happened to be wearing a large costume jewelry type ring. As a concert photographer, I usually am in the front of the stage. This time, I got to be in the crowd. Grace threw that monstrous ring into the crowd for a lucky fan. Well, I got nailed in the head with it, but avoided the feisty scramble for the ring when it hit the ground. A nice guy came up with it and handed it off to his girlfriend. I had a great time at this show, and I’m pretty sure everyone else did. Grace and her band impress. Always.

As for the set list, check this out!

  1. Goodbye Kiss  
  2. Joey 
  3. One Short Night 
  4. Muzzle of Bees
  5. You and Tequila( Kenny Chesney cover) (Scott & Grace duet)
  6. Money
  7. That Phone
  8. Apologies  
  9. Treat Me Right
  10. Ah mary
  11. Pain in my Heart(Otis Redding cover)
  12. Stop the Bus
  13. Nothing but the Water I
  14. White Rabbit(Jefferson Airplane cover)
  15. Paris(Ooh la la)
  16. Encore:
  17. Sweet Hands
  18. Medicine

 

So, as you can see, this was a very giving set. Grace took requests on-line for what the Salt Lake gang wanted to see, and she delivered. Please enjoy photos I took of the good times, below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Civil Wars @The State Room in Salt Lake City UT 06/28/11

On 06/28/11, The Civil Wars returned to Utah. They brought along a young man named Rayland Baxter as the opening act. He is a quiet, humble man who simply plays his guitars and sings songs that you know are his own stories. Rayland has a very simple and sweet manner about him. He made jokes and told tales about each song. Rayland makes his music mold to you, and as a singing storyteller he teaches you that the best things in life are often the most simple and overlooked. Rayland is definately worth listening to. On a side note, he just opened for Grace Potter and is on his way to California.  After Rayland’s enchanting songs, The Civil Wars took the stage.

For those of you who don’t know this band, it is a haunting duo made up of notable Christian artist Joy Williams and soulful John Paul  White. The two began just a little over two years ago, and since this “holy union” had its debut, they’ve been capturing the attention of fans all over the world. I first had the opportunity to see the duo sing here in Salt Lake in January of this year. To say the least, they were stunning.

Joy Williams is your quintessential vocalist. She has a range that is just unexplainable. Throughout each song, she takes risks with harmonies that I’ve never heard any other artist do. Her counterpart, John Paul(who happens to look like Johnny Depp by the way) is right there with her. Watching these two perform is like being on a date with the two. They are both married to other people, which often shocks people, as they seem “made for each other”. The two have been perfectly machined for this act that they take on the road.

While on stage, The Civil Wars appear simple. Joy has a piano and a constantina that she occasionally plays, and John Paul a guitar or two. However, during songs like, “Dance Me to the End of Love” and “Falling”, you hardly notice that there is a crowd. It is the way that these two sing to you that really captures me. I was standing at the front of the stage, singing along to the songs while taking photos, and I felt like I was the only one in the room in a crowd of 300.

The gentile vocals of Joy and John Paul are not to be taken lightly. They often place a dark twist on familiar tunes, such as their performance of “You Are My Sunshine” in January. This current set included a cover of Smashing Pumpkins’ song “Disarm”. This was a very clean and melodic version of the song, and it really got to some in the crowd. The two also covered “I Want You Back”, the Jackson-5 tune of yesteryear. This is a pleasant and very “cute” song. Another highlight was “Billie Jean”. Not only does this song get the crowd to lively up, but it allows the lovely Joy to take on a “flirty” and slightly devious personality.

The on-stage chemistry between these two only adds to the aura of the show. The folky,dark, and sometimes nostalgic songs that come out of this relationship are sure to captivate  fans of punk and rock music. This is music for every one. The Civil Wars stressed that they are independent artists, and that the fans are the ones that make this possible. Joy mentioned that “this is not a fact that we forget or take lightly”, and that impresses me. I hear a lot of acts say that, and I believe that The Civil Wars are sincere in this. If you have the chance to go to a show, pay the small ticket price of around $20.00, grab a loved one, and head to a night you won’t forget.

This show included a complete set, nearly covering every tune that the two have to offer.  Please enjoy the photos I took:

Matt and Kim @ In the Venue 06/20/11 Salt Lake City, UT

Matt and Kim 06/20/11

In The Venue – Salt Lake City, UT

Words/Photos by Meredith

My oh my, I had no idea what a ride I was in for when I herded into In the Venue for Matt and Kim with The Thermals. I’d decided to check this show out after a good friend of mine told me that her boyfriend wouldn’t go with her again. I thought, they couldn’t be that bad, could they?

Well, much to my delight, Matt and Kim brought it. For a duo, they have this monstrous presence. You’d swear that there were five or six members on stage, but the couple outshines larger acts. With the opening band, The Thermals, setting up the crowd with their powerful and skilled rock sounds, the venue was bursting at the seams for Matt and Kim to take the stage. It was a Monday night here in Salt Lake. Someone told me that “Salt Lake City doesn’t have a strong or popular enough market for concerts”. Nuts to that; just ask Matt and Kim. I’m going to guess and say that the crowd that was gathered for this show put some of the bigger names to shame. I’d venture to say that they may have beat out Taking Back Sunday’s crowd from last week.

First off, Kim is a monster on the drums. I think she must have specially made sticks to withstand the force that she’s subjecting them to. She stands on the drums, wails on them, directs the crowd like an orchestra, all while keeping the beat. She is one of the most animated and enjoyable performers I’ve yet seen. She seems to honestly enjoy what she is doing. Many times throughout the show, she stopped along with Matt to tell Salt Lake City not only how amazed they were with the turn out, but how the fans enable them to continue to do what they love.

Matt has his own thing going on too.  He jumps up on to the seat at his keyboard, rallies the crowd, tells stories, and overall, gushes to fans how much he loves his job of pleasing them by making music. This act comes off as purely genuine. Matt and Kim played songs from their new album “Sidewalks”. They covered classics, including “Silver Tiles”, their very first song written together. We heard “Good Old Fashioned Nightmare” and “Yea Yeah”, which was just outstanding. I personally enjoyed it while in the middle of a song they busted into Biz Markie’s “You Got What I Need” . The crowd sang along and bounced like hyped-up kids to every song, shouting every word and danced the entire time.  I met people at this show who were the ultimate superfans, using the songs of Matt and Kim at their recent wedding and holding out to meet them(with success I might add).

If you like Indie tunes, even if you don’t, if your girlfriend “drags” you along to this, the rules are simple: sit back, have a drink, dance, and enjoy.

Face To Face 06/14/11: The Complex – Salt Lake City, UT

Face To Face (w/ The Darlings, Blitzkid & Strung Out) 06/14/11

The Complex – Salt Lake City, UT

Words/Photos by Meredith

About two months ago, I found myself looking at the schedule of events coming to Salt Lake City. I saw Face to Face and Strung Out were heading this way. I was excited about this show because not only was it the first time Face to Face has toured in a while, but also I got to see Strung Out. This band has a large following here in Utah. I went to high school with a lot of people who love this band, even some who have the logo tattooed on them. When we got into The Complex(an all-ages venue), I was confused at the railing that was erected, because there were no crowd surfers the whole time, and press was not allowed into the photo area at all. Usually there isn’t a railing and we get to be right up to the stage.  At least I got to stand side-stage.

I need to mention that there were two other acts that started off this night. First up, The Darlings. They were an intense punk act that seemed to keep true to the old style of punk, not the pop-confused genre that we hear now. The Darlings were impressive, and there were people in the crowd singing along as well. The Darlings had a song with guest performers from Strung Out, who joined them on stage for a Social Distortion cover of “So Far Away”. This was a delight for everyone. They were fresh for the show and did a great job, despite lumping into a one-bedroom apartment with a full crew the night they arrived in Salt Lake.

The next band up was Blitzkid. I was hooked by these guys. The front man, Goolsby, rocked his bass in ways I’ve never seen. He played it about 85 different ways, over the shoulder, under his leg, with his mouth; all while keeping perfect time and singing. The crowd was energetic and intrigued by the band’s performance. I snapped a few photos of both bands.

Next, Strung Out took the stage. By the time they started, the crowd had nearly doubled in size. It was a Tuesday night here in The Beehive State, but you’d never know it. The bar in the venue, separated from the all-ages area (of course), was full. The band was upbeat, vibrant, and for guys who’ve been rocking since 1992, they really into the show. The bassist, Chris Aiken and guitarist Jake Kiley, did several simultaneous jumps from ground level. To put it in the parlance of our times, they’ve got “mad hops”.  The guys continued to amp up the crowd as they performed songs like “Matchbook”, “Support Your Troops”, “Cemetery”, and “Mind of My Own”.  I was thoroughly impressed with the tenacity in which the songs were delivered, again and again. I thought I was at a Strung Out concert, not waiting for another band to play when the show finally came to an end after 14 or so songs.


After being delighted by Strung Out, Face to Face took the stage to play for the excited crowd.  By this time, there was the dreaded open hole in the crowd, waiting to claim bodies from a good moshing session. The band played songs from the new album, “Laugh Now, Laugh Later”. They also regaled us with classics from their long list of tunes including “Blind” and “Bombs Away”. In my mind, no Face to Face concert would be complete without hearing “Disconnected” of course, and we were all very glad to hear it being jammed out near the end of the set of about 20 songs. By this time, I’d wandered into the bar area, and happened to end up hanging out with Jake Kiley from Strung Out. My man friend, a longtime and obsessive fan, even bought him a beer. It was his personal quest to meet each member of SO that led us to a drink and nice chat with Mr. Kiley and his photos with everyone but Jason Cruz (oh well).  If you’re looking for a summer night with original punk rockers, sing-along songs, and a damn good time, hit up this tour. Complete sets of all show photos can be viewed here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52457275@N05/collections/

 

 

 

 

Taking Back Sunday with Thursday, 06/15/11 Salt Lake City UT

Taking Back Sunday (w/ Thursday) 06/15/11

In The Venue – Salt Lake City, UT

Words/Photos by Meredith

Here we are again at In the Venue. This place varies for me, sometimes it is outstanding, and other times it is way too crowded, smelly, and has poor lighting. This was one of the good times. I was lucky enough to get press access to snap photos of Taking Back Sunday and guests Thursday this Wednesday. Confused yet? Yeah me too. This was my first time seeing both of these bands. In addition to the headliners, two other bands performed. They were The New Regime, and Colour Revolt. It is rare that I go to a show and enjoy the openers this much. Both of these bands brought heavy, crunchy yet melodic tunes. I kind of felt like I was watching little Led Zeppelins being born. Both bands were being watched intently by lead singer Adam Lazzara of Taking Back Sunday. I appreciated that because I haven’t seen many bands that do that. He watched, studied, and applauded very sincerely. I didn’t snap any photos of these two, but I would venture to guess that they will be big, soon. Good stuff and worth a listen, especially live.

When it was time for Thursday to start, I had to skinny into a photo pit that was maybe four feet deep. I’m not kidding. It was still light outside, and insanely hot inside. It was 94 during the day, add about 500 sweaty folks, and you’ve got yourself a crowd. Thursday front man Geoff Rickly wasted no time in getting started. The band opened with “Fast to the End”. I was lucky enough to snag a photo of the set list, which I heard from fans was accurate. There were lasers, screams, jumps, and all around energy during this performance.

This is a list from the pic I took of what was played:

1. Fast to the End 2. Counting(5-4-3-2-1) 3. Magnets(Caught in a Metal Heart) 4. Understanding (A Car Crash) 5. No Answers 6. Cross(Out the Eyes) 7. Sparks(Against the Sun) 8. Jet Black 9. Turnpike(Divides). Thursday has a new album out called “No Devoulcion” available now.

Moving on to the main act now, Taking Back Sunday…..I had no idea what I was in store for. I got to attend sound check with a few winners of two contests here locally. That was a treat. The band was cordial, and sounded really good. I have to say that I was nervous about getting crushed by some crowd surfers during the actual show though. The venue was busting at the seams, and surging with energy as they chanted “TBS! TBS!TBS!” . When the band took the stage, they opened with “El Paso(again, per a picture I snapped of the list). That was followed by “Make Damn Sure”, which had the crown, teens and hipsters alike, crooning along with the song. The lighting for this set was amazing. Lasers always make for a impressive addition, and that was certainly the case. Other songs from the list include “Bike Scene”, “Liar”, “180″, “Error” and “Faith”. Front man Adam Lazzara had some special moments, reaching out and holding hands with a fan.  There were more, see photos below. All in all, I’d say that this band has done well for themselves. They’ve got a huge fan base, a great stage presence, and were awesome to watch. There was not a song I didn’t enjoy. As they continue this tour, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to this show. A new album is due out in the next few weeks as well.

 

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Rocks Sandy, UT 06/10/11

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy 06/10/11

Sandy City Amphitheater – Sandy, UT

Words/Photos by Meredith

When I saw that Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was headed to Sandy UT, I immediately sought the opportunity to hit up this show.  This band is BIG – Big in size, sound, and presence. From the moment they took the stage, all eyes were on them. The weather was perfect for a summer evening in this small venue. The boys played at Sandy Amphitheater, a local venue that seats about 200 people and has room for more on the grass. The crowd was diverse, from elderly folks to the young-blooded swing dancers.  They immediately got the crowd in the mood. This show was great because they covered classics, some songs from their early albums, including Mr. Pinstripe Suit (a highlight for me). They also busted out “Calloway Boogie”, from the 2009 release “How Big Can You Get: The Music of Cab Calloway”.

I had a hard time staying still during the set, even though I was snapping pictures. It’s kind of unfair to be a photographer sometimes; you don’t get to bounce around like a giddy kid while you’re standing mere feet away from the band. Anyhow, I was really impressed at how clean and tight the sound was. As far as I could tell, no one missed a beat. Lead vocalist, Scotty Morris, has a voice that is both powerful and soft. It actually reminded me of melting,velvety butter. He is spot on live too, no cracks or faltering. The band was also dressed to impress. Wonderful suits(duh), hats; every detail to down to the shoes. The pianist, Joshua Levy was sporting some sweet black and white shoes, (looked like wingtips to me). The show eventually turned into a big dance party,and let’s face it, if this music didn’t make you get up and groove, then you weren’t listening.

If this band comes to your town, you’d better do your best to get there. You won’t be disappointed. More photos below, please enjoy.

 

 

Cinco de X Festival @The Great Saltair 05/05/11 Magna UT

Wow, what can I say….this was my first coverage of a festival. This was put on by local radio station X96(KXRK, www.x96.com) to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. The line-up included headliners Flogging Molly and Hollywood Undead. Being that I shot photos for each performer, I wasn’t able to catch full sets of anyone. BUT, needless to say, Flogging Molly showed up and took possession of the indoor stage like they always do-large, loud, and proud. Lead singer Dave King commanded the stage, which when surrounded by a rather large band of six other members, is a feat in itself. The band opened up with crowd-favorite “The Likes of You Again”, and immediately the audience surged to the front of the stage.

Flogging Molly continued on with two more songs, Swagger and Speed of Darkness(title track from the new album) before I exited the photo pit. The lighting for the show was perfect, the crowd-unruly and amped as usual, and good times were had by all.


Also headlining Cinco de X was Hollywood Undead. I had the pleasure of meeting the Undead gentlemen before the show for a little fan BBQ. Winners of a contest were granted a meet and greet with the band, including a little taste of Mexican fare. The gents were kind, and signed items for the eager fans, ate, and mingled with us. Later when they took the stage, masks and all, I was blown away.  These fellows really know how to perform. Masks, equipped with lights from these monolithic figures on stage, and the power of the vocals really got my attention. The band opened with their hit “Undead”, which I found myself singing along to as I shot photos of the boys, doing what they do best. They also played at the same time Flogging Molly was on, so I had to bounce back and forth. I grabbed some shots of them on the outdoor stage.

The festival also had seven other performers, including Middle Class Rut, 10 Years, New Medicine, and Drive A. Other mentionables were gypsy-style group Drowning Men, local act Brogan Kelby, and Drive A. Some shots of each are included. All in all, this festival had a great mix of artists and a pleasant crowd. Great venue and a great time!


 

 

Unwritten Law and Authority Zero @ The Complex, Salt Lake City UT 04/19/11

Unwritten Law w/ Authority Zero 04/19/11

The Complex – Salt Lake City, UT

Words/Photos by Meredeth

 

Well, I must say, being new here, this is one hell of a show to start off with. Authority Zero and Unwritten Law just came through Salt Lake City this week, and needless to say, they got our attention.

Authority Zero is an Arizona-based band, and this was my first encounter with them. The front man, Jason DeVore should charge for the clinic he put on in “bringing it”. He kept the same vibrant and engaging energy throughout the entire set. The crowd fed off the energy he put off and then some. Bassist Jeremy Wood thumped out the notes with authority(get it?!) and never missed a beat. I’m not going to tell you that I knew the songs, but I will say that I plan on knowing them from now on. As a first-timer for these boys, they have definitely captured a new fan, or 100. Drummer Jim Wilcox was hard for me to see, as he was mostly a blur of arms driving the rhythm into our happy heads. Guitarist Brandon Landelius quipped that he was “the new guy” and said he didn’t know the songs yet. Hey Brandon, well done sir. Please enjoy some photos from the set below.

Moving on to Unwritten Law……not only did I have the fortune of talking with singer Scott Russo and drummer Dylan Howard, the crowd was delighted to see Scott’s son Tre hanging around. Scott was kind enough to tell me that Tre would perform with him during Seeing Red. As soon as Tre came on stage, even the most seasoned punkers let out an “awwww”. Tre sang with his dad, and melted our hearts. The band covered a lot of years at this show, as well as a few new songs from the latest album, Swan. A personal highlight for me was “Cailin”(because I serenade my best friend of the same name with this song since we were 15). Feel free to take a look at the pictures, and go see this tour if you have the chance!

Unwritten Law

 

Authority Zero:

 

 

 

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