The Kaleidoscope Project. Photo: Tim Kronenberg
That initial stroll down the alleyway is always your first chance to bet how a night at Kilby Court will turn out. If there’s music playing, you’re already late, and if there’s a stretched line full of underage Jedi mullets and blondes, you know it’s time to swoop a Cherokee Fade before you’re seen. Tonight I was in the clear and made it just in time to hear The Spenser and Roe Revue burn through their first morale booster as the classiest man on earth, Spenny Relyea from The North Valley, and myself talked some jive and caught up on old times by the back door––it was going to be a fun show.
Making my way through Kilby’s crimson arch, I was surrounded from all angles by The Kaleidoscope Project’s first-ever attempt at an art drive and benefit concert. “We’re so excited!” says Bianca Valesquez, Kaleidoscope’s creator and chief move maker. “Our priorities tonight are the artists, kicking off our website, and raising money for Emme,” coordinator Cisco Garcia tells me and one of KRCL’s late-night Youth Radio DJ’s George Relyea. For those unaware, Emme Packer is a local musician who has been diagnosed with Late Stage Lyme Disease and is currently fighting to take back control of her life by attempting to raise $10,000 for treatment through benefit events and fundraisers such as indigogo.com. Just by looking at Thursday’s turnout and good vibes, it seems that both Emme and Kaleidoscope are off to a good start.
At booths in the courtyard were the talents of local artists Kyra Marshall, DRBN, Alex Suzuki, Illustrious Illustrations, Kristen Beth, Patric Bates, Salt Kat Design and Andy Allred, who were all selling cheap prints, originals, T-shirts and were more than happy to talk art with passersby. The added bonuses of the night, besides a perfect summer night, were definitely Kilby’s sleek new vending machines and the raging fire pit which has been victim to too many a red air quality days to bring anyone happiness––and then came The North Valley.
They’ve been playing North, South and middle of the Utah scene for about three years now going by the names Discriptive and Mountain Hymns while also shuffling through a mix of members, but in the recent months, they’ve found their sound, rehearsed and have even put out a record that’s been through the local airwaves. One thing that hasn’t changed since The Descriptive’s first show at Mojos in Ogden and throughout the near half-decade of fine tuning, is their from-the-heart live performances.
With the crowd nice n’ warmed up from The Revue’s set, The North Valley lived the dream and riffed out a raw, more hard-rocky original list of songs that gave studio recordings like “Travelin’ On The Rails” and “You Got That Straight Jake” a run for their chips. Combined with the fearless antics and stage raging of front men Spenny and Dane Sandberg, these guys really got the best response from the audience all night.
The R.U.G.S. were next, and although the crowd spent the night wandering in and out of the actual concert, it was because of the art and good company in the courtyard, not the bands. These guys especially blew me away for my first time hearing them. That sound, the beards and those two hollow-body Gibsons are still taking me back to my days back at Woodstock in ’69––and I wasn’t even there. These are also a few of the dudes from Red Dog Revival who are worth taking a look at. R.U.G.S. guitarist Dylan Roe even scored some points in the book of bad-ass people for bringing his girlfriend and her kid, who Roe rocked out with during the other two band’s stage time.
It’s a shame that these trifectas of awesomeness don’t come around more often, and Valesquez notes that the crowd feels the same way, which is why any extra funds procured throughout the night are going to be funneled into The Kaleidoscope Project’s upcoming events. Stay tuned to their Facebook events, because mid-July is the time and Pioneer Park is the place. Valesquez tells me that this time around, she’s shooting for a kind of artists’ July “spring cleaning” of excess art for sale or auction and all with more live music.
Keep in mind that this project is brand new! If you’re a band and/or creative crayon scribbler in the Utah area, now’s your time to apply and turn this small thing into a big thing. Valesquez wants everyone to know that the more support artists put into this will ultimately keep these events a monthly happening.