On Oct. 10 the crowd at Kilby Court was treated to two well known international bands: Vancouver/B.C. based, Yukon Blonde, and the Australia-based Jezabels. Both bands have earned best-of credentials in their home countries, and have earned spots in American festivals like South By Southwest, Coachella and Lollapalooza. To see them both in one night at a venue the size of Kilby Court was a blast.
Yukon Blonde opened the show, drawing a crowd that packed Kilby’s little garage. Hands down, my favorite part of seeing a show at Kilby is the feeling of not having any elbow room, but being only five feet away from and at eye level with the band at all times. If you’re tall enough you can actually be taller than the band and obtain a sweet bird’s-eye view of the proceedings. This level of proximity is an aid to certain bands like Yukon Blonde who have the talent and experience to play a loud and well mixed set. They played with the rhythmic intensity of Band of Horses with the tempo kicked up a few notches.
Yukon Blonde have the ability to harmonize with record studio quality during a live set, which they took advantage of. Every aspect of their sound was clean, from the effects through their pedals to the guitar licks played by Brandon Scott and his bolo tie. “Radio” was probably their best-received song of the night and received cheers from the crowd every single chorus. I’ve taken to saying that guitar solos are dead, but this band proved me wrong with that tune. “Stairway” and “My Girl” were a couple other tracks that made this a memorable set.
The Jezabels headlined the night, and for good reason. As good as Yukon Blonde were, the Jezabels took a live set and turned it into an earnest and entirely believable performance. It was the kind of set that took the listener from unfamiliar to completely invested in the best kind of way. They played a dreamy synth-rock that reminded me a lot of Florence and the Machine and a little bit of Beach House. Lead singer Haley Mary grabbed the attention of the crowd in the way she danced, which seemed to fit perfectly with the sound the band was producing. She filled the stage with her presence alone, which made the band look, sound and feel much bigger than a quartet.
During the low moments, she stood still with both hands holding the mic, singing into the ground. Then the tension would build and explode into the chorus where Mary flung her arms and threw her hair every which way. They opened with “A Little Piece” off their 2010 release, Dark Storm. The song begins with a staccato guitar hook and slowly builds over rolling drums and rhythmic piano with Mary’s warm alto voice rounding it out. “Try Colour” also kicked off with a guitar hook and went into the chorus with the kind of dream-rock sound that makes you feel like you’re out in space. “Easy to Love” and “Rosebud” were tracks that stood out for me because of how catchy their melodies were, which could be said about every single one of their songs to some degree. Other than their stage presence, the catchiness of their sound is probably their best attribute. They ended their set with “Hurt Me,” and drew the kind of demand for an encore where nobody ever says the word “encore,” the crowd just cheers and claps for minutes on end until the band finally emerges from the back. This was truly one of the most memorable shows I’ve ever seen at Kilby Court—or in Salt Lake City for that matter.