Tinariwen with the support of Dengue Fever was not a show to be missed. Both groups capture the aspects of music that require no translation. They perform with humility and with grace. Ideally, this is music for all types who show interest in something unique, and at The State Room, with its splendid seating arrangement and equally superior sound and light system, they attracted a wide array of Salt Lake’s keen showgoers. Many, I’d assume, are attending with an energetic curiosity as to what groups like these have to offer, but with a mid-range ticket price, it’d be a fair suggestion that those here appreciate musical diversity in an otherwise white-bread culture….
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Photos courtesy of Tyson Heder
If one were to choose to walk through the layered depths of the punk rock community, they should strive to find themselves wallowing in the heat of the Punk Rock Bowling Festival. The festival is held on a parking lot adjacent to Fremont, and its largely open space lacks cover from the blistering heat of the sun. One can always purchase a $2 water to stay hydrated, although I’d wager that more money is probably spent on pints and whiskey cokes. The festival attendees are as diverse as the variety of punky hair colors, though there is the fascinating commonality of wearing all black, as if to tempt the wrath of heat exhaustion. The unforgiving heat aside, this gathering serves to inspire community and camaraderie under the banner of all things punk rock. The festival is a space where one can feel at home and comfortable while surrounded by those who celebrate the varied degrees of a storied subculture. Here, one can get all the applicable accessories from clothing, pins, hats and rare records from stalls like that of Anaheim, California’s Radiation Records. Unlike years past which have been largely apolitical, this year’s Punk Rock Bowling has an unofficial theme of denouncing Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump—a sentiment that is easy and popular to get behind.
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This evening’s lineup is promising, and to kick things off, The Nods set the tone for a night of rambunctious rock n’ roll. Out of the openers, the Nods benefit most from their set—they sound great and are on their game, flawlessly knocking out their signature psychedelic-inspired Back From The Grave–like rock n’ roll that meets the aggression of ’70s New York punk sound. It’s a sound that suggests maturity, even though The Nods exude youth that comes from the depths of the garage.
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Iggy Pop performing at the Rebel Stage at Riot Fest 2015, Denver
Arriving at Riot Fest 2015 in Denver, I can’t appreciate the certain irony of the “death before shorts” mantra that I live by. It’s hot as hell, and living by that code may, in fact, be the end of me. The festival is held at the National Western Complex and there is little shade on the dusty gravel lots. The only relief can be found inside the stadium where the Radical Stage is located. When the wind picks up or an impressive mosh pit forms, dust gets kicked in the air making trying to breathe an exciting adventure. This dry, dusty Mad Max–like environment visually explains why most festival-goers have bandanas around their necks. The resulting appearance makes me think of punk rockers cast out of a post-apocalypse film, kind of what like one could expect from a punk version of Burning Man, minus the burned-out hippies and steampunk enthusiasts. As I make my way through the assorted food tents and brightly lit amusement park rides, I eventually find myself at my destination at the Roots Stage to check out De La Soul.
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The word in town surrounding tonight’s show has held my firm interest for months, as Tinariwen offer the appeal of the unique and the exotic. Upon entering Urban Lounge, I have slight concerns that the gig may be subject to a low attendance, but the night is still young, and throughout JJUUJJUU’s setup, the curious hip types of Salt Lake are still filing in. This audience represents a broad age range with open minds.
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The Weirdos played an awesome set at Urban Lounge on July 17.
This evening holds a promise of excitement from two legendary groups who’ve helped build the foundation of punk—The Weirdos and The Adolescents. The latter I’ve seen before while living in London, but with the addition of the former, it’s all I can do to keep my composure as I hang in the patio of the Urban Lounge. The place was packed and, while this is not necessarily surprising for a Friday night, it is interesting to see several generations of punk rockers under one roof—studs, bristles and all. I can’t help but acknowledge some romantic notions of this gathering being a symbol of the rich legacy of punk in Utah.
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The stage setup for Quintron and Miss Pussycat was almost as wild as their energetic performance. Photo: Tony Campbell
Due to an overeager anxiousness for tonight’s gig—and with nowhere else to go— I arrive way too early at Urban Lounge. Inside, the venue is largely empty with the exception of Quintron and Miss Pussycat getting their various props organized onstage. Grabbing a table and pint, I observe the casual flow of rock n’ roller types as they file in. Almost like a foreboding warning, the power goes out and then slowly comes back on. With power restored, the Brian Bagz begins to set up. As vocalist Mikey Blackhurst tests his sound, I manage to (finally) score a copy of the We are Nots LP from the Nots. Doing my best not to nerd out and with LP in hand, I am now ready for this night’s festivities to kick off.
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The English Beat rocked The Depot’s stage with their classic two tone style. Photo: J Butler
Tonight is not the first time I’ve seen The English Beat, and I’m certain it won’t be the last. Last year I covered their gig and I’m sure tonight’s show will not be a disappointment. I arrive at the Depot just in time to catch the Show Me Island set. Getting my hands on a Trader Session IPA thanks to a friend, I find a place to perch myself and check it out.
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Acid Mothers Temple brought a lethal dose of psychedelic blowout to the Urban Lounge on April 24.
A perfect backdrop of charming, wet, dreary weather characterizes tonight’s performance. After walking into Urban Lounge and finding myself in a large, empty room, I was concerned about the turnout. However, my venture through the downpour is certainly not in vain, nor will the gig’s contribution to my eventual loss of hearing be wasted.
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Dengue Fever gave it their all at Kilby Court on April 10. Photo: Chean Long
Upon waltzing through what is a lack of pearly gates and straight into the merch area of Kilby Court, I spent—willingly, mind you, and ever conscious of it—my last $20 on the Dengue Fever–produced compilation Dengue Fever Presents Electric Cambodia cream vinyl. Don’t get me wrong, their new album was very tempting, but I’ll be patient for it. With my dreadful / wonderful addiction to buying records, it’ll come up sooner or later. Besides, with the anticipation surrounding this group, I’d be more than surprised if their album wasn’t readily available through the various music outlets around town for some time to come.
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