Ever since I first heard Hospitality on the radio months ago, and most recently on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert, I’ve become increasingly fond of their pop sound, especially with the distinct voice of Amber Papini. With that said, the fact that Here We Go Magic were headlining this show was an added bonus, since I haven’t seen them live before but heard they put on good show. I usually don’t get into the pop-rock sound too much, but I think my obsession with Beach House’s last few albums (Devotion and Teen Dream) has opened some doors in my mind.
As I was walking to the Urban Lounge, a couple minutes before ten p.m., I could already hear the artsy sound of local band L’anarchiste echoing from a block away. Inside Urban Lounge was sparsely littered with folks listening to their Bon Iver-esque tunes, which generally went well over five minutes long apiece. When I went outside for a smoke, I noticed that the sound of the Ms. Pac-Man video game was making louder sounds than those coming from the stage at times. Even though L’anarchiste’s music is not the kind that you can really groove or tap your foot to, the small audience was watching and admiring the musicianship of the band and the great soundscapes being created.
After L’arnachiste hauled their large amount of gear off the stage, Hospitality, the three-piece group from New York, took the stage and quickly provided a burst of new energy in the club, which was now half full, with their upbeat tunes. Right off the bat, the band ripped through two of their most popular songs, “The Birthday” and “Friend of Friends.” The band’s sound was tight and did not stray far from the versions on their self-titled debut album. One surprise to me, however, was the great bass playing of Brian Betancourt, as he delivered several small thunderous solos, which added a great touch. Although the band is labeled a three-piece, the band had an additional guitar player that helped add some depth to the group’s sound. For their first time in SLC, Hospitality gave a strong 45-minute set of poppy rock tunes, which were emphasized due to the stark contrast between their music and that of L’anarchiste.