Kilby Block Party 5

17 Stand-Out Performances from Kilby Block Party 5

Music Festival Coverage

As the dust and sparkles settle, and your hearing finally comes back, the fifth annual Kilby Block Party has officially come to a close. With a disco ball-glistening atmosphere, delicious food offerings and a star-studded lineup that could rival Coachella in sheer talent, this three-day event was an absolute fever dream. And with some excellent insight from SLUG Magazine’s editorial team, you’ll have enough coverage to reminisce for the rest of the summer. So kick up those bleeding, blistered feet and ice off those sunburns—here is our take on some of the most memorable performances from KBP 5!

Friday, May 10

Daytime Lover
Photo: Jess Gruneisen

Daytime Lover 

Daytime Lover is one of those bands was meant to be heard live. That’s not to knock their excellent records (nor their great recent EP Shimmer) but the feeling the band is able to create in spaces as small as Urban Lounge and as big as KBP is magical. Maybe it’s the croon from their lead singer Moriah Glazer, the incredible guitar work of Emma Roberts or possibly the saxophone. Whatever it is, walking into the festival to hear the group playing as loud as I’ve ever heard them was incredible. As KBP has confidently shifted away from booking local acts (likely in an attempt to make the festival a national attraction), I fear that many who came didn’t have the chance to hear what SLC has to offer, especially since this all takes place on our home turf. Hopefully round six will lead local forward. –wphughes

Peach Pit

Peach Pit
Photo: Ashley Christenson

Peach Pit has always been a strange band to me, and I’ve heard many put them in a “one hit wonder” category as they seemed to disappear after their dreamy hit “Alrighty Aphrodite” made its way out of listeners’ daily rotation. While I never agreed that they were gone for good, they surely fell off my radar. Seeing them on Saturday though confirmed that I should pay more attention. Perhaps one of the most confident acts of the festival, and they showed a lot of their hard-rock influences on their sleeve. During their performance of aforementioned song, lead singer Neil Smith bent over with the mic and let his hair cover all of his head to sing the majority of the song. All in all you can call me a born again fan after this set. –wphughes

Courtney Barnett
Photo: Ashley Christenson

Courtney Barnett 

The best live performances are familiar enough that they help the audience connect to the artist with gasps of recognition, but still different from the recorded tracks insofar as they maintain an element of surprise and intrigue. Barnett expertly rode this line like a skilled cowboy on a bucking bronco with her set of remixed fan favorites, using acoustic breaks, guitar solos and key changes to keep the audience on their toes. “Avant Gardener” and “History Eraser” were my personal highlights—the only popular track noticeably missing from the show was “Elevator Operator.” Even during her musically mellow moments, Barnett’s drawled-out facial expressions and storm-tossed mullet made her look like Animal the muppet if he put down the drumsticks and picked up a guitar. On her ending track, “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party,” the crowd boomed in unison: “I wanna go out but I wanna stay home.” –Asha Pruitt

Joanna Newsom

Joanna Newsom
Photo: Jess Gruneisen

Kilby Block Party marked Joanna Newsom’s first live show in over four years (aside from a surprise opening set for for Fleet Foxes in 2022), and I spent half of it fighting funnel cake-induced food poisoning in a porta-potty. Still, even from within the intimacy of those thin plastic walls, her angelic voice echoed with effortless grace. When I emerged, feeling much better, I witnessed her layered red coat, gingham gown, charming pigtails and heart-melting smile. Floating between harp and piano, Newsom played two tracks from each of her four albums—along with “No Wonder,” a new song with staggering arpeggios and scales. Introducing “Cosmia,” she payed tribute to the recently deceased legend Steve Albini as both the engineer of Ys and as “a hilarious, loving, loyal friend to so many people.” The setting sun provided a fitting backdrop to what was easily the most emotional performance of the entire festival. –Asha Pruitt

Vampire Weekend
Photo: Jovvany Villalobos

Vampire Weekend 

If there was a top-tier example of how to end day one of any music festival, it would have to be Vampire Weekend. They’re the only act that creates the heartfelt energy that equals art-museum browsing, but doesn’t put people to sleep. Those classic tracks like “Cousins,” and everyone’s favorite, “A-Punk” are tasteful choices, even their new lounge tune “New York, New York” made me feel like I was in a gangster Dick Tracy nightclub. Above all, if Death Cab For Cutie was an inoffensive nighttime performance, Ezra Koenig and his boys will show you how it’s done. I do think bringing out The Real Housewives of SLC star Heather Gay to play a round of cornhole was a bit unnecessary, though. Rather bizarre. –Alton Barnhart  

Saturday, May 11

Sculpture Club

Sculpture Club
Photo: Jess Gruneisen

The formerly local, now Dallas-based new wave outfit’s performance was of a higher caliber than many of the larger acts that took the stage later on. Chaz Costello’s powerful vocals took lessons from Robert Smith and elevated them to cultivate a sound that is inspired without being an imitation. Sculpture Club’s sound is dripping with ‘80s nostalgia—it’s post-punk in all of its gloomy glory but with a glow of hope and optimism. Though the crowd was thoroughly invested throughout, their excitement spiked when bassist Dyana Durfee’s high, angelic backing vocals had their chance to shine. Costello had heartfelt interactions with the crowd, encouraging us to tell each other “I love you” because community is all we have. In another tender moment, the crowd cheered and sang “Happy Birthday” for guitarist Hal Jean. The band’s passion for not only their music, but for their bandmates and community shone through in this standout performance. –Emma Anderson

TAGABOW
Photo: Ashley Christenson

They Are Gutting a Body of Water (TAGABOW)

I made the trek to catch TAGABOW’s set based on the fact that they’re on the lineup for this year’s Sound and Fury, leading me to believe that I’d thoroughly enjoy them. I was entirely correct in that assumption—TAGABOW would find their way into the heart of any My Bloody Valentine fan with a tone so heavy it makes the hair on your arms stand up. The dense, fuzzed-out instrumentals were balanced nicely by soft vocals. While I was unsurprised by how much I enjoyed their sound, I was very much surprised by the intense EDM and breakcore interludes between each song as the band re-tuned their instruments. The back-and-forth between both genres would’ve been highly confusing if it were not so well executed. I also watched their drummer smoke a cigarette while playing and spit it out when the song picked up. Hell yeah. –Emma Anderson

The Garden

The Garden
Photo: Jess Gruneisen

To the untrained eye, the crowd of (mostly) teenagers who sat in waiting for The Garden’s performance may appear to be akin to The Gathering of the Juggalos, as fans donned clown-like face paint mimicking that often worn by the band. Rather than walking up with poise and a celebrity attitude, the twin brothers launched and somersaulted themselves onstage, swinging a mic cord around like a whip. They didn’t chill out for a moment of their 45-minute set—fast as all hell (and extremely tight) on drums and bass, with the energy of toddlers off a pack of sour patch kids. They played a well-balanced mix of new and old tracks, demonstrating their excellence in a wide range of genres, but the highlight of the set was near the end when vocalist/bassist Wyatt Shears hucked a browned banana peel into the crowd, kicking off the track “Banana Peel.” I loved every second of this set, poor sound mixing be damned. –Emma Anderson

TV Girl
Photo: Jess Gruneisen

TV Girl 

This recap was brought to you by the Ford Motor Company… Just joking! Please don’t kill me, Brad Petering. With their stereo-rific sampling sounds and a neon-nightlife tenor, San Diego-based TV Girl strikes the type of “Lover Rock” styling strong and true. The set was packed to the brim with bodies and sweat, as Petering took drags off his grape slushie vape and a long-neck Maison No. 9 Rose. Tracks like “Not Allowed” got me in the head-bobbing mood, but something didn’t seem right about their performance. Maybe it was the band’s put-off attitude to the entire audience, due to their rising TikTok fanbase (which they absolutely despise). Perhaps it was Petering’s tirade on American consumerism. Listen, I hate it when fine talent has been watered down by commercial and product placement, but don’t take it out on your fans. Trust me guys, I hate TikTok too, but there’s a time and place.  –Alton Barnhart

Bombay Bicycle Club

When I first listened to the Britain-born band Bombay Bicycle Club, I thought their bop was a bit soft for my taste. Jack Steadman (Mr. Jukes) has those early 2000s OK GO vocals that felt a decade late. However I stuck around the Desert Stage, even after the cartoonish weather warning popped on the screen and delayed their show. Only 20 minutes, making their set the shortest out of the entire block party…and all I wanted was more! The smooth jazz clashed with an almost post-punk tendency, as guitarist Jamie MacColl scraped those blown out chords and tried his best to completely smash his axe on stage. I was thoroughly impressed—you Brits knocked it out of the park! –Alton Barnhart

Santigold
Photo: Ashley Christenson

Santigold 

Speaking of The Wu-Tang, after they dropped out of the festival I was delighted to see that Santigold would take up their spot. While not performing the 36 Chambers, she did an incredible job with her own music. Putting on a very fun and dancey set (and even inviting some to come up on stage), Santigold really stole the show on Saturday. Her performance was sadly riddled with audio problems and much of the first half had her vocals very quiet, though this did get resolved eventually. Even cut short, Santigold didn’t let any minute of her performance be wasted. It was an incredibly fun and cool act to catch at a festival like this. –wphughes

Sunday, May 12

PERSONA 749
Photo: Ashley Christenson

PERSONA 749

My boys are all grown up! Made up of six friends from the University of Utah hockey team, PERSONA 749 molds both college garage rock and contemporary art. It was 11:45 on Mother’s Day morning, when I watched lead singer Che Landikusic gyrate and undress across the stage. He screamed the heavens and scampered into the packed crowd, throwing multiple bouquets of white and red roses. I could see the petals explode into floral confetti as the audience tore those flowers stem by stem. Before you knew it, Landikusic was placing guitarist Michael Bloom on his shoulders while shredding out the hot licks. The lyrics are energetically primal, and the music is crunchy—that’s one way to start a kickass morning. –Alton Barnhart

Choir Boy
Photo: Ashley Christenson

Choir Boy 

Another no-longer-local-but-still-in-our-hearts act, Choir Boy performed their guts out. Every single member seemed to be feeling both themselves and the beat of the danceable masterpieces they played for the full half hour they were allotted (they deserved longer). Watching Choir Boy is the closest you can get to time-traveling back to the ‘80s—they sound and look the part. Vocalist Adam Klopp is an absolute powerhouse, with a passion in his voice that could be heard and felt as far as the sound would travel. Klopp utilizes reverb and other vocal effects tastefully; they enhance his voice without overpowering his natural talent. Keyboardist Jeff Kleinman brought forth tasty saxophone solos that, at one point, perfectly matched the melody of Klopp’s highest notes of the performance, for which the crowd absolutely lost it. The heartfelt speech expressing love for their hometown community was just the cherry on top. –Emma Anderson

Yves Tumor
Photo: Jess Gruneisen

Yves Tumor

The experimental music and style aficionado, accompanied by their backing band, certainly won “best dressed” out of all the performances I witnessed. Yves Tumor themself exhibited a boasting yet secure confidence with a band that nicely complimented that without overshadowing the icon. At one point they jumped off of the stage and walked between the barriers holding back the overflowing crowd, leaving the crew scrambling to adjust the mic cord accordingly. I’ve heard speculation that the lack of call-and-response energy from the crowd caused frustration, but I’m inclined to believe we were speechless because we were simply mesmerized. “Conspiracy” was beautifully performed and warmly received. My only regret was not catching their afterparty set at Metro Music Hall later that night, as the sweat and darkness of an indoor 21+ venue would’ve enhanced the experience of Yves Tumor’s heavy, yet sensual musical inclination. –Emma Anderson

100 Gecs
Photo: Jess Gruneisen

100 Gecs 

The escalating rumbling of the THX trailer roared like a hurricane siren. Where most would run for cover, hundreds of fiendish festival-goers (including myself) bum-rushed to the stage to headbang through “Dumbest Girl Alive.” Flashbanged by someone’s stray Celsius and headshot by a flying Chuck Taylor, nothing stopped me from violently shouting out every lyric to every track. The moshpit might’ve seemed chaotic, but with everyone thrashing in unison, the swiftness seemed spiritual. And even though the speakers sounded completely blown out, I could look past, especially when their “Nintendocore” glitch vibration nearly breaks all sound barriers. Oh yes, the dynamic duo of Laura Les and Dylan Brady was probably one the best performances at KBP. –Alton Barnhart 

Interpol
Photo: Jovvany Villalobos

Interpol

Interpol has been near and dear to my heart ever since my mother played them on the way to and from elementary school. They were my most anticipated band of KBP 5 (save for The Wu-Tang) and were just as awkward and 2000s-leather-jacket-cool-guy as I could’ve hoped for. Where Julian Casablancas and The Strokes embraced a casual and often unwashed look, Interpol always kept clean and straight-laced. The same is true of their Sunday performance. Bathed in red light, the band ran through all of their most popular songs from their early albums, including “C’mere,” “Evil” and their seminal “Obstacle 1.” The mix on their performance, like many during KBP, lacked a lot of volume in the vocals that Interpol was signature for. The band remained incredibly tight and aloof as always. –wphughes

LCD Soundsystem
Photo: Jess Gruneisen

LCD Soundsystem

There is a strong case to be made that LCD Soundsystem put on the best show of the festival, and I’m not sure many would argue with that take. The pure sound production of the show itself was already miles ahead of the woes fans felt during Santigold and 100 Gecs’ performances. It’s also safe to say that LCD still has it all these years later and James Murphy’s vocal performance sounded like it came straight off the recordings and the entire band playing at such a high level it felt religious at times. Playing tracks like “Losing My Edge” and, of course, “Dance Yrself Clean,” the group truly knocked me, and many others, away. Closing out the night and the festival with the track “All My Friends” was so perfect (nearly cliche) and sent everyone home laughing and exhausted. –wphughes

Read more about Kilby Court and past editions of Kilby Block Party:
Celebrating 25 Years of Kilby Court, The Heart of Salt Lake’s Music Scene
Kilby Court 20th Anniversary Block Party: The Perfect Concert Event