I got a taste of home on Tuesday night at one of my favorite venues in Salt Lake. The Austin-based Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears made Salt Lakers dance until the sweat was dripping at The State Room.
Austin is a land of musicians and bands, and successful acts like Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears emerge and spread their talent beyond Texas, throughout the world. The high energy and perfect execution of a diverse and eclectic instrumental sound throughout the entire performance screamed swagger.
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears’ sound is full-bodied: heavy drums, an euphonious bass line with a horn section and some Jimi-like playing from Joe on the guitar. It is a little rockabilly, a little funk, a little James Brown and a lot of other rad stuff mixed in between. Joe and his sax player played a form of some groovy add-on game, dueling back and forth and matching riffs mid-song.
Blank Range out of Nashville got the crowd primed with what I would classify as country psychedelic rock. The country genre does not typically so bravely encompass the progressiveness or experimental sound of Blank Range, who were pleasingly innovative and unique. Blank Range incorporated Nashville-type tunes with a hint of The Beatles’ upbeat harmonies and that old-school California surf rock.
The State Room is a Salt Lake gem and one of my favorite spots to see shows. It has consistently solid lineups. There is a generous floor area where dancing is encouraged.There are church pews in the upper deck for folks to lounge in. It’s an intimate venue that helps attendees get close to the performers, and after performances, it is common to mingle with musicians and have drinks on the outdoor patio with them after they are finished graciously signing merchandise.
The laid-back and intimate feel of The State Room is the reason I attribute many of the performers’ tendency to linger after the show and have a drink with their fans. Blank Range, The State Room and Black Joe Lewis were a triple threat of a wonderful music experience at a cool venue with good vibes on Tuesday night.Texas Tea, anyone?
I was one sweaty photographer at The California Honeydrops’ Monday night show at The State Room. Not a well-known event occurring in Salt Lake, there was plenty of space on the dance floor, and the happy Honeydrops had everyone dancing.
The Honeydrops’ homebase is in Oakland, California, and Salt Lake was the last stop on their tour. I saw them this June in Santa Barbara, California, and for that reason, I knew this obscurely known event in Salt Lake, needed coverage.
The California Honeydrops describe themselves as “Bay Area R&B, funk, Southern soul, Delta blues and New Orleans second-line.” These guys ooze soul and funk. The combination of singer Lech Wierzynski’s voice that has a sweet honey sound, and his protruding happiness, positivity and desire to reach his audience is likened to the one and only Stevie Wonder—a likeness I would not draw lightly.
They played two sets at The State Room, and after the first, it was hard to believe that I, or anyone else, would possibly have anymore sweat to give the next round. But with music like that, the sweat just beads up. Wierzynski’s voice is so unbelievably silky it seems like all he must do is sip honey tea all day, every day. Their lyrics are relatable and humorous, and can carry a meaningful message with an optimistic delivery and, at times, incite crowd interaction.
Keys player Lorenzo Loera and saxophonist Johnny Bones had their soulful solos on the regular, and at times, it felt like an amazingly excellent living-room jam session between five guys who really enjoy jamming together—and just happen to be extremely talented. Beau Bradbury smiled and grooved while funkily slappin’ the bass.
After the audience and band returned from a break to the second set, a few songs later, Lech spoke to the audience. He used his platform to reach people, and his message began with the Black Lives Matter movement, followed by the Honeydrops’ song, “Long Way, which goes, “I know we’ve come a long way / Still got a long way to go / Walking in the shoes of another / Learning what we don’t want to know / I know we could do bette r/ But we sure won’t if we are too proud to try.”
Thank you, Honeydrops, for the amazing music and the meaning that moves my soul in euphonic ways that most music this day and age can’t attain. I want to thank any artist who uses their platform to send a message. If they reach one person or affirm another, that is a job well done.
Drummer and vocalist Ben Malament did an outstanding washboard solo while singing ““(I Need A) Big Fat Woman,” which had the crowd interacting, laughing, smiling and dancing in good humor.
The California Honeydrops then proceeded to descend the stage. The overjoyed audience danced with and around them in a celebratory fashion as they jammed their instruments. The sweat and soul poured out of everyone in the room.
If only the music could be heard while looking at the photos—actually, it can! The California Honeydrops have all their albums available for free listening on their website, cahoneydrops.com/music.
The snowflakes came down lightly as skiers and snowboarders arrived to Brighton Resort late Thursday afternoon, Dec. 15, when Brighton opened night riding for the season throughout its 200 acres, three lifts and main-mountain terrain park. Kids who finished school, others who finished work for the day and people who just like the night-ride vibes showed for opening night, smiling. Ticket boxes were fully staffed. Live music by Moab’s Meander Cat started at Brighton’s bar and restaurant, Molly Greens. Night riding runs Monday through Saturday, 4–9 p.m.
People hung out at Molly Greens, eating plates of nachos, hot savory soups and other fixings while drinking delicious holiday cocktails and local beer from Uinta Brewery. I stopped in Molly Greens to listen to music, have a White Russian and warm my cold fingers. Meander Cat played their bluesy-Americana music with desert-influenced lyrics. Brighton has live music one or two days a week—check their website for the calendar.
The first lift I took was Majestic. There were no lines, and I was greeted at the top by a nearly vacant and snowy run. I cruised down to the terrain park, where riders played like amped kids who had been waiting for recess all day. The snow began to fall heavily and temperatures maintained in the 20s, so it wasn’t too cold.
After the terrain park and running into some friends, I took a few laps on Crest. The lighting is really cool at night: bright enough for there to not be safety concerns, and there aren’t too many people, so that often, it feels like you have the mountain to yourself. After a few laps and pow patches spotted from the lift, we ventured to the scouted locations and hiked to hit some pow. There is nothing quite like hitting pow in the dark (or shooting it).
Time flew by, and before I knew it, it was lights out. I wanted to be that kid with a flashlight who sneakily continues to do what they want after last call—but I didn’t bring a flashlight.
Night passes are $45. However, Brighton‘s website has a night-skiing section that covers some weekly promos to get cheaper tickets.
Also, starting this month on Thursday, Dec. 22, Brighton Resort and Uinta Brewery are launching the monthly Uinta Ski Bus to bring you to and from the Uinta Brew Pub and Brighton Resort. People will meet at the brewery and join the Uinta crew as they head up the canyon to enjoy an evening on the slopes and “après-ski” beers at Molly Greens with live music. Round-trip transportation, night-ski lift ticket, libations, raffle tickets and live music are available for $50.
An underground artist’s collective put on a three-day art exhibition, running Jan. 19 through Jan. 21. The show lasted around six hours daily at the warehouse space behind the Shades of Pale Brewery in Salt Lake City.
Dennis Silversey, Douglas Tolman and Ben Sang produced the Shades of Entropy Art Show months after they built rapport with the art-enthusiast taphouse owners. Shades of Pale opened the door for the guys to use the back warehouse space for the event. The collaborative efforts of Silversey, Tolman, 14 other Salt Lake artists, musicians, Acme Camera Company, Daily Rise Coffee and the owners of Shades of Pale resulted in a successful Shades of Entropy Art Show.
Friday evening, people sipped delicious craft beer at the taphouse while talking and playing darts. Venturing outside, people congregated by a fire pit, and Layton’s Daily Rise Coffee served hot coffee. A wooden sign reading “Shades of Entropy” hung over the entrance to the back warehouse. Once inside, the warehouse space was converted into a beautiful art gallery with 16 various exhibits. Pallets hanging above the rafters displayed art—some artists constructed their own displays from fencing, tapestries and more.
Osis, a jazz ensemble, played the first set. Shanin Blake and the Shakes played a two-hour set next on a cleverly constructed pallet stage near the entrance of the space. The music was funky and upbeat, yet not overpowering the remainder of the gallery for those strolling and pondering the art installations.
Emily Senkosky, an artist in the show, came up with the title of the event. According to Silversey, it references taking the definition of entropy—which is a measure of the degree of disorder in a substance or a system—and translating it into the artistic world describes the nature of the show. The direction of Shades of Entropy took the concept of the gallery and turned it into something else. Spaces and walls changed to shift the idea of how people perceived their art. The idea of the art show was to have artists make projects interactive and make some 2D art as 3D as possible.
Tolman and Silversey aim to produce more art shows in the future with the goal of subverting how people approach art. Salt Lake’s underground art scene and community will continue to flourish with collaborative efforts and visions of talented artists and enthusiastic support from locals.
Artists who exhibited in the show include: Ben Sang, Stephanie Espinoza, Bobby Robertson, Alec Bang, Chad Unger, Dennis Silversey, Tyler Hoffmeyer, Tom Shrieve, James Dumas, Allanah Beazely, Douglas Tolman, Jimmy Hadley, Emily Sensosky, Alexis Hansen, Zane Anderson and Robert Hunter.
Back in 1993, in the grassy fields of Liberty Park, a current member of the Beehive Bike Polo team, Chuck Heaton, rallied bike-riding enthusiasts to hit around a ball with mallets. Over its 18 years of existence in Salt Lake, the Beehive Bike Polo Club grew in community and culture.
A brief history and synopsis of Bike Polo:Originally, it began in the late 1800s, spawning from horse polo. Its playing field was initially grass, and in the last decade, it transitioned to hard courts. Typically played by two teams of three, the games last for 12 minutes, or until a team reaches five points.One-point goals can be shot by hitting the ball with the back of the mallet, and the player must stay on the bike at all times.If feet touch the floor, the rider must go to the middle of the court to tap back in.
Bike polo clubs can be found in a surprisingly large amount of major cities around the world.Hop on Facebook in places like New York City, Paris, Hong Kong or L.A. and find pick-up games. The bike polo communities will often further the hospitality by inviting out-of-town polo players to crash at their places.
According to David Barthod, Beehive Bike Polo Club culture is founded on the principles of being downright nice and inclusive to everyone. In fact, the “number one unwritten rule” of bike polo, he says, is “Don’t be a dick.”That goes for on and off the court.
The Beehive Bike Polo Club consists of around 25 members and has been growing over the past two to three years.During meet-ups, those who aren’t playing socialize, barbecue and play with their dogs. Although Bike Polo games are mostly for easygoing social playtime, a few of the members do compete in bike polo games around the world.The Beehive Club plays year-round, almost every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.For a few hours, they play in parking garages downtown during the winter and in Pioneer Park year-round.The club is pushing hard for official courts.
Last year, Beehive Bike Polo applied for a grant from Utah’s ZAP (Zoo, Arts and Parks) program. Approved for $25,000, the Beehive Bike Polo Club awaits the finalization of the grant to claim a space, transform an existing tennis court, compile gear and start a youth bike polo club in Glendale. Although the club received a bit of pushback from the tennis community, the idea is to transform one of the tennis courts into a multi-use sports court for things other than bike polo, too, like roller skating, roller derby and tournaments. The court and youth bike polo club would serve more than just a small part of the community and diversify park activities.
Once everything comes together, the youth bike polo club will provide a free activity for a diverse group of SLC kids to do in a safe environment, at the Jordan Park. The organization would provide free equipment (bikes, safety gear like pads and helmets, and mallets) through a collaboration through the SLC Bicycle Collective.
This beautiful and unique vision still needs the support of the Glendale community and mayor. If people in the community would like to see a youth polo committee, talk to the Glendale Community Council and express your interest.
The Beehive Bike Polo Club is always accepting new members! Anyone interested in participating should check dates, times and contact information on their Facebook page (Beehive Bike Polo Club SLC Utah).
Craft Lake City’s 8th Annual DIY Festival expanded to three days this year, and all of the music, vendors, delicious food and beautiful art could hardly be contained in one weekend. From Friday through Sunday, attendees were able to see, taste, hear and experience new things. Whether that be trying out VR goggles in the Google Fiber STEM Building, getting their (mis)fortune told, having their portrait drawn or seeing all of the amazing things being built/made/crafted by local makers and artisans, attendees weren’t likely to go home without finding something interesting. Craft Lake City’s 2016 DIY Fest was bigger and better than ever before.
Read about some of this year’s performers and exhibitors in our August issue.
I cleaned my brand new Vans in the kitchen sink of the dusty coat they earned from my dancing in the energetic, moshing crowd at Grimes’ Twilight Concert Series show at Pioneer Park on Thursday. Smiling, I remembered the wild spirit of the masses and the sweet sounds, heavy bass, crazy light shows and dance that Grimes’ performance encompassed.
At Grimes’ request, we did not take photographs during her performance, so out of respect for the artist, there are no photos of her or her performance in this gallery. However, she drew an eclectic crowd, and the openers, Elytra, Hana and Jagwar Ma, made for engaging and danceable shows.
Prior to Grimes performance, attendees at Pioneer Park lounged in the grass, hung out under trees, got food and tasty beverages from the food-truck trailer park and beer from the beer tents, or danced at the stage to the openers.
Salt Lake group Elytra put on a spectacular performance with cool style, great lyrics and danceable tunes. The second performer, Hana, lives in L.A. and tours with Grimes. She has a similar style to Grimes in that she plays the keyboard, mixes beats and carefully sings challenging notes. She kept the melody and rhythm all while dancing and captivating the audience.
Jagwar Ma, originally from Australia, primed the patrons with their progressive psychedelic rock and dance sounds.
I did not realize how influential Grimes’ style statement is to her followers. It only makes sense, as she is proud of her uniqueness via music, message and vibe, encouraging everyone else to be elated about being themselves and having fun. Walking around Twilight on Thursday, it was commonplace to see attendees wearing giant angel wings, neon-colored hair in various arrangements and more—I think I saw one person wearing a bridal gown.
During Grimes’ act, she had her second performer, Hana, join her onstage for backup singing and dancing, along with her two super rad dancers. Grimes took the lead, singing, mixing and looping sounds. Hana sang, and the four of them danced, feeling at times like this hot, avant-garde, female pop group with sporadic, climactic drops where the crowd would go nuts with the music—along with Grimes’ occasional death-metalish vocals. It was a fun mashup that energized the Twilight-goers.
“I love the dancing and the energy out there, Salt Lake!” Grimes said to the moshing crowd. “I probably shouldn’t condone it, but I appreciate it!!” she giggled. Cleaning my new shoes of their badge of dirt-honor was a task that I proudly accepted.
The 17th annual SLUG Games: Year of the Yeti Presented By G-Form, Mark Miller Subaru and Monster Energy rail-jam contest was held at Brighton Resort in sunny Utah on Saturday, Feb. 11. Brighton is all about the good times, keeping our priorities in check and getting wild with friends—which is why SLUG Games is so well situated there.
Brighton Terrain Parks Manager Mouse—now in his sixth season as the head of this hard working staff, the master lip sculptor and flow analyst—was on hand all day to put specialty shovel to snow and direct his minions in the smooth operation of this outstanding rail jam.
DJ Matty Mo was in booth all afternoon popping, mixing and holding it down with deep grooves to pump up the competitors and keep the spectators warm.
MC Ben Bogart brought equal parts trick knowledge, congratulatory sound effects and heckling—I’d say he killed it. Bogart is clearly a jovial fellow who repeatedly gave credit for tricks originally executed by former snowboard-camp attendees whom he had coached—this is an example of the kind of camaraderie found in this tight-knit mountain community.
Best Trick honors went to Brady Durgins for his a cab 270 on 270 off the waterfall rail. Other notable big tricks included a backside boardslide to an extremely stalled-out shifty off the top of the wall ride by Jeff Hopkins. Best Crash went to Garret Calaway. An honorable mention for Best Crash went to Pat Fava, who executed, in his own words, “a double 360 to deck, to full scorpion,” Fava said. “I’m out here giving the people what they want—that’s what it’s all about”— which means that he came up short (distance wise) on a 720, fell down and slid on his chest/stomach region for a sustained distance. It was beautiful. Fava is not wrong: When you’re riding with your friends, the prizes and the official results are really secondary. For most people, the motivation is stoking their friends up to add to the excitement of an already excellent day.
And what about the winners? Well, everyone who partied with us was winning at life, but there were also contest winners:
Men’s 17 & Under Ski: 1st Place Luke Mallen, 2nd Place Alex Mallen and 3rd Place Garret Callaway
Men’s 17 & Under Snow: 1st Place Henry Hawkins, 2nd Place Spencer Dallas and 3rd Place Ashton Davis. Before the contest I chatted with Hawkins, who just wanted to hit each obstacle on the course and maybe do a 180 off of the box. Instead, he did an inverted 540 in the quarter pipe, as well as a fast plant 540, which were big tricks on the day.
Women’s 17 & Under Snow: 1st Place Mattie Neves, 2nd Place Sofie Neves and 3rd Place Gwennith Park
Women’s Open Ski: 1st Place Celine Fouquet. Fouquet fought despite competing in an uncontested category, pushing her comfort level and elevating her riding throughout the contest.
Men’s Open Ski: 1st Place Jonathan Klutsch, 2nd Place Ben Rotordo and 3rd Place Ian Russel. Let it be known that Mr. Klutsch is not scared. He took some big falls off the top of the wall ride, but didn’t slow down. He attempted rotations into and out of every obstacle on the course and stomped at least half of them.
Women’s Open Snow: 1st Place Sierra Jewett, 2nd Place Samantha Hobush and 3rd Place Rachel Westcott. Hobush stood proudly on the second step of the podium with her fairly fresh baby. Jewett won the section by greasing the C to down rail and multiple maneuvers on the flat box to down rail. “The contest was super good. [The ladies] all killed it. It was a great time and it was a beautiful day,” Jewett said about SLUG Games: Year of the Yeti.
Men’s Open Snow: 1st Place Makalu Arnold, 2nd Place Jeff Hopkins and 3rd Place Andy Chammaraw. Men’s Open Snow was the most hotly contested of the categories. Chammaraw said, ”I didn’t even know what the rail looked like [referring to the down, down down rail]. I just mobbed into it.” This was a fair representation to Chammaraw’s approach, just comfortable and excited. Arnold killed it on all features and was promptly crushed by all of his friends and a yeti after being declared the winner. All three spots on the podium for Men’s Open Snow were claimed by members of the Brighton Parks Crew. They love and live what they do.