As a former resident of the area, I empathize with the folks that live down in Utah County. The community has an overbearing influence from BYU and can, at times, become pretty annoying. Luckily that town has a thriving music scene for folks to find an outlet to release frustrations, and bands like John-Ross Boyce and His Troubles express the woes of life in a counter-religious way, providing tunes for all the troubled kids that may find themselves in deadbeat Provo. For quite some time I’ve found myself nagging this band to play more shows in Salt Lake, and to break from their usual crowd they find at ABG’s—the (yes, the) bar on Provo’s Center Street. Whether or not to appease me, they finally obliged to play at Kilby Court, satisfying my withdrawals.
Neglecting to remember that Kilby shows usually start at the time advertised, I unfortunately missed the performance by Bearclause. Please keep playing shows, ladies (and guy!)! One day I will actually make it!
I did manage to make it in time to catch the set from Little Red Lung. Keyboardist and lead singer Zoe-Ruth Erwin did a fine job at intimately capturing the small group that was there. Her stage presence could just as well have been on a much larger platform and I’m sure she would have equally captivated a bigger crowd, projecting a voice on par with the likes of Tori Amos. Joining the stage with an equally charming mixture from the rest of the band, they reminded me of a dreamy-melancholy mixture of Blonde Redhead and St. Vincent. I really hope these LA folks find their way to Utah again—you will definitely find me there when they do. I highly recommend listening to their tunes, which you can find on their Bandcamp page (littleredlung.bandcamp.com/).
No matter how many times I have seen The Troubles play, I am constantly dumbstruck by the amount of absolute talent these musicians hold. Their concerts continually entertain in ways that never cease to surprise me, and their performance at Kilby was no exception. Apologizing before the set for having an asthma attack, John-Ross took the stage with all his Troubles and, per usual, played a fantastic live set. Despite the asthma, his Albuterol-induced rock took to the likes of Tom Waits, with that signature scratchy, devilish sounding vocals.
Watching these five band-mates interacting on stage is reason enough to see their live show. Couple that presence with some solid blues-rock, and I imagine the feeling is similar to what it’d be like to party with Jesus. This was the first time I’d seen the band play with newcomer Angela Moore, and she certainly fit in well, adding fantastic and passionate violin and keyboard playing. Kicking off the show with a classic, “No Doctors, No Priests” set the energy for guitarist Ryan Moore to dance and strum around maniacally throughout the night. It was as if he were a marionette with a seizuring puppeteer. Bassist James Barlow kept the lines real groovy just as a bassist should, and his boisterous belts during “The Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost” took gospel singing to a new level. Add to that Dave Newlin’s drumming that experiments well with different variations on percussion, and you have chemistry between five people that is rarely surpassed. Ending the night with “The Pills Ain’t Working Anymore,” John-Ross succeeded in wrapping up the energy, concluding with an appropriate amount of rage.
If you missed this show, you need not fret! The Troubles will be gracing Salt Lake again during Crucial Fest on June 30th, as well as playing with Folk Hogan on July 21st at the Woodshed. Be sure to catch them in Salt Lake while you can!