Flogging Molly on stage at the Complex in downtown Salt Lake City. Photo: @Lmsorenson

Wet, muddy, and a little sunshine came through as people found parking in the industrial, downtown area and make their way to The Complex. Waiting in lines that wrap ‘round the block to get through the security and ID checks and fans are finally let into the venue. Merch options are a’plenty and surround the lobby as show-goers load up on snacks or beer before this highly anticipated, re-scheduled show featuring Irish-rock group Flogging Molly and supporting musicians from Face to Face and lone-wolf fiddle player, Matt Heckler.

First to the mic, solo musician Matt Heckler walks up to the stage and without fanfare he begins belting out some old, country-styled vocals as he elegantly hacks away at his violin. Fans are still filling in the room and  they inch forward a little bit closer and listen a little bit harder to take in more. There was so much fun in watching Heckler sharing his tunes with a healthy mix of Irish & Appalachian inspired flair.

Next to the stage is Southern California formed punk rock band Face to Face. Members Trever Keith, Scott, ShifflettDennis Hill, and Danny Thompson fill the room with high energy and visibly nostalgic tracks that invoke blood pumping and head banging from wall to wall—including all of the people that were too cool to mess up their mohawks.

Last to the stage is the main attraction for the evening, Irish rock band Flogging Molly. Front man Dave King, along with Bridget Regan, Dennis Casey, Matt Hensley, Nathen Maxwell, Spencer Swain and Mike Alonso strut into the backlit limelight as fans scream and squeal as they spot them picking up their instruments and begin to play. Starting with lively hits such as “(No More) Paddy’s Lament,” “Black Friday Rue” and “The Likes of You Again,” Flogging Molly hits the heart of the crowd and remains steady as Dave King announces “Better late than never…” as regards to the delay from this shows intended date due in early March. King introduces members one by one as songs come and go. We are treated to extended solos, sing alongs and the best of all, a great evening with music and friends.

Chris Kiernan // @_chriskiernan_


 

Jake Vivori // @snakesphoto:


 

Logan Sorenson // lmsorenson.net:

The 2015 Craft Lake City DIY Fest Day Two started up at noon on Saturday, August 8. This year’s festival features over 250 artisans, craft foodies, vintage vendors and nonprofit organizations, as well as a replete offering of stage performers, buskers, DIY engineers, commercial food vendors and food trucks over two days at the Gallivan Plaza, and you can find everything from locally made cocktail bitters to leather fringe. Attendees perused artists booths that lined the plaza, interacting with many from Utah’s DIY creative community.

Read about some of this year’s artisans in our August issue!

Photo: @Lmsorenson

Cars lined the street around the 500 W block and scattered groups of people wander past the random houses and new construction, veering towards the entrance of the Union Event Center. Past the bag checks and security wands, into the lower level of the venue, fans are greeted by ticket takers and given the option of the 21+ balcony area or the main, lower level that has plenty of standing room for the show to come.

The top balcony fills up with silhouetted heads lining the entire upper deck and everyone is pressed shoulder to shoulder when the show begins. Jade Bird comes to the stage, donning a red jumpsuit with a guitar in hand, taking the mic and thanking the audience for coming out and starts strumming. With a soft, folky vibe that’s mixed  with some earlier Americana notes, Bird exudes a happier and slightly-poppy Baez and Joplin vibe with her similar vocal qualities.  All sore from smiling, Jade Bird thanks her audience for maybe being “the best so far” and even tries out some newer material to an overwhelmingly positive response, both after the song and during the whole set.

After a quick intermission, the Irish singer/songwriter follows his band to the stage in a dramatic, dark blue light and begins to play his slower hits. Hozier mixes up playing popular tracks from his self-titled debut album and follows up with a few  tracks from the new album, Wasteland, Baby! Hozier explains the writing process  for each piece, sometimes even joking after a few songs “to keep things lighter” as he delves deeper in the album’s offerings with the romantic, post-apocalyptic, emotionally inquisitive selections. Varying the performance with inclusions of solos as well as full band accompaniment, Hozier does not disappoint as the audience remains holding on to every word as they sing along with the signature vocals that are reverberating throughout the building.

(L–R) Little Hurricane's Tone and CC in the green room before the show. Photo: @LMSORENSON

Blues duo Little Hurricane made a one time stop again and visits the “good people” of Salt Lake City on their way back from their east coast tour stops. Calling San Diego home from and last playing in New York, this group played a set at local venue The Urban Lounge with opening guests Kyle Henderson and Wildcat Strike.

With their 2014 release and second album Gold Fever still fresh in the memories of their fans all over the states, Little Hurricane announced that they are working on a third release. They plan to grace Salt Lake City again with their soulful, western-esque blues magic sometime in 2016. Providing their own unique, old-timey and playful atmosphere, you could see the use of antique cabinets as amps, charming table lamps as mood lighting for the set and the old boots set in front of the drums, as CC played shoeless, wearing only a pair of black stockings over her feet while on stage.

Consisting of Tone (lead vox, guitar) and CC (drums, mandolin, back up vocals) this seemingly straightforward setup ranges from playful, energetic, blues jams to crushing and, at times, heartbreaking hits.

Opening musical guests consisted of solo act Kyle Henderson, who provided a calm and reflective opening sound to the evening, and rock band Wildcat Strike, who amped up the energy to the next notch playing some of their hits before Little Hurricane took the stage.

Everything nerdy for sale at FanX19 inclluding massive posters. Pro Tip: Have a plan for storing such large purchases during the con, or you will be stuck holding it all day... Photo: @Lmsorenson

FanX19 is on! Geeks, movie nuts, cosplayers, or just people looking for something to do on a lovely, spring weekend made their way to the Salt Palace for this hugely popular celebration of Nerdom and Pop Culture.

Stars from popular TV series  and movies take photos, sign purchases and participate in panels to interact with their biggest fans and answer some trivia from the crowds. Panels for this event include Doctor Who’s Billie Piper, Comedy Legend John Cleese, Star Wars and Willow star Warwick Davis spend time talking about their experiences in the industry as well as their most memorable moments filming their projects. The Accounting Dept. from the American version of  The Office take their time poking jokes at each other and sharing tender, hilarious moments while reminiscing the beloved series. Marvel and DC stars such as Mike Coulter, Asher Angel and Zachary Levi take in all the energy that these devoted persons have for all of the characters and worlds that are cultivated in pop culture. With the former, Shazam! Star Zachary Levi especially taking his time and demonstrating a level of positivity and sincerity when answering fan questions that broach topics of not only intricate, layered comic book trivia but deeper topics such as coping with ADD and mental illness.

Aside from celebrities, Artists and Vendors also fill the expansive floor of the Salt Palace Convention Center. FanX may be only one of the places during the year that you can see professional and amateur cosplayers creating their own identities from classic video games, obscure anime and new blockbuster movies all shopping for the same Aquaman poster or standing in line for a signature from their favorite author or actor. If someone were to be able to keep a tally on the entire event, it would probably look something like this; 20 Dr. Pepper winners, thousands of autographs, tens of thousands of photos, tons of fan questions, and even a few engagements! Ultimately, FanX 2019 was an amazing experience and we’re already looking forward to next year’s!

 


On March 28, Irish indie rock group Little Green Cars played in Salt Lake City at The State Room with Minnesota-based singer-songwriter John Mark Nelson and his band. With a new album since Little Green Cars’ last show in our fair city in 2014, the band played music from both Absolute Zero and their latest release, Ephemera. Formed in Dublin in 2008, Little Green Cars members include guitarists and vocalists Stevie Appleby and Faye O’Rourke, guitarist Adam O’Regan, bass player Donagh Seaver O’Leary and drummer Dylan Lynch.

During the cold Utah spring evening in Downtown SLC, The State Room attracted a Monday audience of both young and experienced fans. Little Green Cars’ unique sound is relaxing and powerful at the same time with ethereal moments. The band played well-known songs, including “The John Wayne,” “My Love Took Me Down to the River to Silence Me” and “Harper Lee.” Throughout the night, the band had the audience listening intently in their seats, holding those at the front of the stage in a trance-like state. With lyrics that are poetic, romantic and forlorn, Little Green Cars share their points of view on relationships, love and life. Each member of the band provided vocal support to the songs, with Appleby and O’Rourke bringing their individual flairs to the microphone.

Small onstage snags, such as amplifier cables not staying plugged in, guitar power being unavailable for moments before the next song, were handled seamlessly by the band with a sense of levity. As they read poetry to the crowd, explained the backstory of their music and lyrical construction, and shared some young adult experiences in Dublin, it’s clear that Little Green Cars are good friends who enjoy sharing their works to the audience.

Ra Ra Riot comes to SLC at the well known downtown venue Urban Lounge. The group from Syracuse, New York bring their music across the country touring with fellow New York group PWR BTTM and Massachusetts locals And The Kids.

Friends, couples, groups and loners march in to grab a beer before the first act takes the stage. And The Kids members Hannah Mohan, Megan Miller and Rebecca Lasaponaro, from Northampton, Mass., shuffle onstage taking up guitar/vocals, bass and drums. With electric blue highlights, platform sneakers and face glitter, And The Kids blast their own flavor of playful tracks that are best self described as “Existential Glitter Popsicle Crisis.” Borrowing lead singer from following act PWR BTTM, And The Kids rock the patrons at the Urban Lounge.

Next onstage, queer rockers PWR BTTM, consisting of Ben and Liv, both members playing guitar, drums and providing vocals. Ben, wildly glammed up in a sparkling number played guitar for the first few tracks from this group. Then, drummer Liv takes off the kick and heads to the mic. This duo’s original material is inspired by haters’ comments, breakups and current relationships.

Ra Ra Riot takes the stage after 11 p.m. This ensemble includes multi-talented musicians encompassing the use of guitar, keyboard, drums, vocals, violin and electric cello. Providing an indie sound that is not quite electric pop, not quite rock, but with the right addition of folk rock, this group provides a very enjoyable sound and great entertainment for an evening out in Salt Lake City.

Being a Sunday in Utah during a Conference weekend, concert goers and musicians alike were meant to come together for some angry rock, break-up ballads and some great indie hits from a grand ensemble.

Photos: LMSORENSON.NET


Leon Bridges, the twenty-something musician and all-around throwback soul music hit artist, returned to Salt Lake City on May 26. Lines of fans were packed into the entrance to The Depot for this sold-out, all-ages performance. People took up all of the seats and standing room in the venue, all the way from the merch table to the upper mezzanine, where the 21 and older crowd was able to grab an adult beverage.

First up on the ballot was Solo Woods, with guest percussionist Themba Sipho Mkhatshwa, playing what may best be described as “Boyz II Men, Rick James with a shot of Prince,” perhaps adding a dash of reggae in some measures. This touring duo enamored the audience with Woods providing vocals and guitar and Mkhatshwa switching seamlessly from cajon and shakers to cymbals and sticks. Playing off of each other smoothly and thoroughly enjoying the music being played, the duo constantly rode the ups and downs of the steady beat, highlighting vocals and not being afraid to hit that whammy bar at just the appropriate time.

People on dates, folks out on the town and even families with six-plus members awaited the headliner to take the stage, cheering at every roadie hooking up a microphone, every puff of smoke from behind the drums. Finally, the house music cut and the lights dimmed as Leon Bridges and his accompanying band took the stage. Bridges plays tunes that are nonspecifically reminiscent of ’50s and ’60s soul, doo-wop and even a hint of Motown, and the entire audience was into it, swaying back and forth with each other and the band.

Entrancing the entire sold-out, two-floor venue, both the supporting musical guests and headliner Bridges definitely made this Thursday evening one to remember.


With Utah’s breweries—both the longer-lived and the newest ones to hit the scene—handily making some of the finest beers in the region, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, in partnership with the Utah Brewers’ Guild, opened its doors to guests for an evening of art and libations. Many local representative brewery owners and brewmasters hosted their own tasting stations placed in and all around the UMOCA interior.

The event opened its doors to the public at 6 p.m. and already, patrons were eager and waiting. Checking in and grabbing a tasting cup as well as a guide to the available selections of beer, guests made their way through room after room, exhibition after exhibition. On both floors of the museum were stations for refills along the way from Wasatch, 2 Row, Hoppers and more. Each brewery greeted the thirsty individuals with a fresh fill of their brew and a helpful breakdown of the flavor, date of release and ingredients for their particular beer.

The beer was definitely a draw for attendees, but the art crowds are always out and about on a Friday evening to garner some art gallery inspiration. Providing more installations of the thought-provoking and the bizarre, UMOCA had a lot to offer: collages, robot portraits with security camera heads, 3-D artistic portraits and even an odd yet engaging music video with an over-the-top, pro-America satire with distinctively ’80s Saturday morning PSA vibe.

As the building filled with more and more characters sporting anything from cut jeans to full-on multi colored pant suits, this event is most definitely a fine mix of the diverse and growing sub-cultures that make Salt Lake City the gem it is.