Saturday, February 14, 2009

CWMA Finale @ The Depot with Ben Kweller and 3,000 bones

The Final Countdown | The 1st Annual City Weekly Awards packs the Depot

Neon Trees, The Furs and Ben Kweller filled the Depot up and set a fantastic precedent for the new format of the most respected showcase of local musical talent in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Furs finessed the crowd with a nice dose of psychedelics.
furry (blog)

Bryan, Stephanie and Matty did an impeccable job of reaffirming why they are one of the best in the city with a stellar performance. Check out their upcoming full-length very soon. It's in the works and will sonically stretch and expand your expectations.

Neon Trees saddled up to the bar next with a jaunty spring in their step.
tyler and branden (blog)This band, recently signed to Mercury records, also did a great job on their set. It was no wonder that they garnered a huge response enabling them to play the showcase and then this final event. I was very impressed at their performance and had a great time talking to the band before their set. Keep your eyes out for the video of that in a few days.

Ben Kweller was up next. He was very Ben Kweller-y and capped-off the night, and the CWMAs, to an amped crowd of devotees. Everyone present had a really exceptional time and benefited from the spectacular results of a year-long process for the entire organization of City Weekly. The staff there spend untold hours of effort and sweat, tears and straining of their wrist tendons to put on one of the best alt-newspaper music festivals in the country. Let's give credit where it is due and meet some of the folks behind the fatiguing––yet very rewarding––process of making Salt Lake City, Utah an awesome city for music...

City Weekly Music Awards Staff, Contributors and Friends

Andrea Richmond and Dominique LaJeunesse of CW

andrea y dominique

Brinton and Paul

brinton y paul (blog)
of The Devil Whale and The Madison Arm

Bill Frost of CW and Spork, Gavin of Gavin's Underground and Brian Staker of CW
media luminaries
Bryan sees if Jamie Gadette's hair is real

bryan and jamie (blog)and it is!

The Naked Eyes

The Naked Eyes (blog)

Anna of Slowtrain and Jamie of CW

Anna of Slowtrain and Jamie (blog)

Alex and The Furs

Alex & The Furs

Ryan and Parker of kick it

ryan and parker/ (blog)

For more pics head over to the underground: KUTV's Gavin's Underground photo gallery. He's a swell guy and does a very comprehensive job with the scene in general.

See, City Weekly staff can party as hard as we write and present entertainment for you. Keep your eyes peeled, online and in print for the results of the final tally and the announcement of what local band pocketed the $3,000 in prize money, and well-deserved bragging rights, that this huge shindig was meant to allot. Hint: it was Neon Trees. Congrats go out to all the bands who gave of their time to play for the hundreds of people who attended the showcases and thanks to those who realize the real intent of the CWMA format: a great way to spread the word and get people excited about local happenings.

A final thanks to ALL the bands (including Form of Rocket and Band of Annuals, we missed you guys!) in the city, fans, venues––especially The Depot––and sponsors for making the 1st Annual City Weekly Music Awards an unequivocal success. See you next year and thanks for participating.

PS Go Local!

(Jon Paxton)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

CWMAs Saturday 2.7: Club Vegas

Final night of the showcases, and while most people made their way up to Park City, I took a detour down the street and headed over to Club Vegas for the hard rock closer.

So the minute I got there I heard a bunch of screaming, from the back it looked like some karaoke band showed up with toy instruments. Thought maybe I walked in on a Black Flag tribute band that didn’t know all the lyrics. But then I got closer and look at that, it was God’s Revolver downing shots and not really caring what anyone thought of their show. Kicking and screaming their way through most of Little Black Horse…, they kept reminding the crowd that they’d been thrown out of here once before, and that you should vote for Blackhole instead. The big highlight near end was getting the crowd singing along to “Drown Your Fucking Sorrows.” As always a great set on their part, but they don’t give a damn what I think… so fuck em’. Vote for Blackhole.

Speaking of which, the band immediately made their presence known kicking the crowd with the double bass and commanding vocals that could only come from Chopper. Wasting little time on small talk the group pounded their way through the set as if they were on a mission to enlighten and deafen you at the same time. Commanding the stage in only a way that would make Iggy Pop applaud, they cranked out songs off their first album, giving a performance that demanded your attention from start to finish. This was another band in all these shows that I hadn’t seen perform live before, and nothing else I can type up here could equal the awesome set I saw. Blackhole isn’t a group, it’s a goddamn experience. Go watch them at Burt’s this week and see what I mean.

Closing up shop was the ever high pitched thrash that is Cave Of Roses. Putting on a show that you could only get if you went across the pond to Ruisrock, this metal group cleaned house with a musical barrage of both complex and old-school death metal. Songs like “Scent of Flesh” and “Creature” blasted through the sound system, as Rhett’s vocals poured through the sea of loyal fans who stayed all the way to the end just to see them. Finishing off with a good eight minute number that left the audience roaring, the seven year veterans showed they could hold their own on any billing. With such a long standing and a loyal following, it’s strange that the band only has a couple of demos floating around. It would be nice to see what their vision of a full-length would be.

Fitting ending to the CWMAs for me. Get your final votes in before they shut down. Even if you didn’t vote, please tell me you got out and saw at least one show. Just one? And to pimp my own stuff out for a moment, check out interviews with both Blackhole and Cave Of Roses this Tuesday on my blog, along with pictures from this show. Many thanks to the CW staff who put up with me, my jokes, and took many a photo with me for no reason. (Gavin Sheehan)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

CMWA; Velour Action

Provo has been my buried treasure of hidden music that I have yet to uncover because of the drive down there on a consistent basis to watch shows. After hearing Ruru's album, I wanted to see this band live, so I was excited to finally be able to watch them at Velour for the City Weekly Music Awards.

As expected, I fell into the oldest person in the crowd category of over-caffeinated youngsters. The show was starting later than expected so I waited patiently in the corner. An older gentleman asked if I was a groupie of the band coming up. I defended myself by reporting to him that I was reviewing the show and he wanted to know who I was reviewing the show for. When I informed him that it was for City Weekly, you know, the publication that was putting this on, he proceeded to tell me that City Weekly was on his short list and that I needed to let them know that they needed to start acting like decent human beings. I politely nodded and smiled.

As he walked away he once again informed me that I really did look like a groupie and not a person covering the music. I sat there with a frozen smile and Ruru took the stage, the teenage singer clad in angel wings. They started the set out quite mellowly, and the crowd gathered around to listen. The boy has a wonderfully haunting voice. The emotion that he was putting into his songs probably should soothed the crowd for a moment, but naturally some people continued to talk through the performance. Isaac, the singer did stop and ask that if people were going to talk through his set that they take it outside or to the back. My little Jeff Tweedy protege was on my side this night. What he was doing and how he was putting himself into it did demand a certain amount of quiet respect, I give him that, though I did have the fear of whispering struck into me at this moment and remained statuesque through the rest of his set. Great set, I would love to hear them do some more rocking numbers though.

Since it was Gallery Stroll, I had to wander out to the clean Provo streets and admire the shops. My interest was especially set in a consignment shop called Coal Umbrella, so I made my way up there in between sets. Due to the stroll, it was a little uncomfortably packed, as though I were walking into a house party uninvited. They had loads of cute clothing, though I would like to come back on a regular night in order to take my sweet time not pushing people out of the way in order to browse.

Embarrassingly in my shopping frenzied haze I managed to miss Kid Theodore at Velour, but did get back in time in order to watch Neon Trees set the stage up. The singer was colorfully dressed in a green top with a bedazzled scarf, and the kids danced to thumping music while waiting for them. Once they started the crowd began to dance uncontrollably to their upbeat music. The singer was a natural at demanding attention, it was a little bit reminiscent of !!! and Does It Offend You, Yeah. The audience was not lacking in sweaty front row men that knew the lyrics to every song, one of them even kickbox dancing. The female drummer in the band was phenomenal; it's rare that I see a girl drummer rocking with such prowess. I commented to my friend that these guys sounded just as good, if not better than any touring band that I have heard coming through our downtown area, and they should make their way to us, I think they could just as easily pack a club for a night out in Salt Lake.
(Dominique LaJeunesse)

Paul Jacobsen & The Madison Arm, The Devil Whale at The Star Bar in Park City

While rather warm and dreary down in the Salt Lake Valley this past Saturday night, Park City was clouded in fog as the last night of CWMA’s showcases got under way at The Star Bar

On the bill for the evening was singer-songwriter Paul Jacobsen & The Madison Arm with The Devil Whale to follow. It seems fitting that the closing night of the CWMA’s just also happened to be the finale of the two-week tour that these two bands have been enjoying together. At separate times both bands joked that the tour started in Utah County at Velour and incorporated a bunch of down time—which makes absolute sense since that show and the showcase combined was the total tour.

After a bit of a late start due to what can only be deemed as the all-encompassing technical difficulties, Paul Jacobsen & The Madison Arm (which on this evening consisted of a backing trio playing guitars, pianos and random percussive instruments) took the stage. Although not familiar with Paul Jacobsen before he started playing, his sound immediately rang recognizable and honest. Some of the most memorable moments of the show came via the trashcan style drumming on the likes of several old bass drums, a lonely snare and a tambourine sitting upon a worn suitcase—all deftly played with brushes, mallets and bare hands alike. The vocal harmonies were always forefront while paired with a soft acoustical guitar or a plaintive piano (as in the cover of CSN&Y’s “Helpless”). Paul Jacobsen lists his influences as Neil Young, Elliott Smith and Wilco and although one might be able to hear those artists at times, Saturday’s set for me was far more reminiscent of Damien Rice or The Frames’ Glen Hansard turn in Swell Season.

Following on the heels of Jacobsen was The Devil Whale. Although I have had the opportunity to see lead singer Brinton Jones play solo recently, I haven’t had the chance to catch The Devil Whale for a while—in fact it was probably back when they were known as Palomino. It was good to hear Jones’ heart-drenching pop-balladry backed by a band again mainly due to the fact that The Devil Whale aren’t afraid to turn it up and let loose a simply constructed song out into far braver pastures. Many of the tunes began with the typical Jones’s song construct of rhythm guitar and a back beat punctuated with his lyrical pop melodies singing such enquiring lines as, “Are you ready to be an accomplice?” But, as with the sad waltz dripping with melancholy that they played later in their set, each song inevitably ended with high emotive strumming and playful dissonance. Wrapping both the evening and the CWMA showcases, The Devil Whale played a song apparently about anarchy with a chorus that seemed only appropriate, “I wanna watch you float away…”

(Jacob Stringer)

CWMA: High Beams, Andale

Friday night on the CWMA's had three, count them, three different concerts going on in one night. For me, I stopped in for the dual showing at Bar Deluxe.

Up first, the always punk-tastic Andale! Opening up to the vigorous "Black Is Bad," Memorie's voice filled the room with both harmony and grit, giving you the true punk rock girl experience in every song. Making their way through the self-titled album, the group got the audience worked up to "Walk Away," "Messed Up," and of course crowd favorite "Fucking Tourettes" with a shout out to CW's Bill Frost, fittingly enough. Finishing off their set with new number "Milton Bradley," she belted out the lyrics "You sunk my battleship!" to a trenching guitar riff. This was the first time I got to see Andale! live and was not disappointed one bit.

Andale's Mike Sasish and Josh Dixon didn't have to go far as they took up guitar and drums for the ever elusive closing group The High Beams. Wasting little time the band took off running through a collection of well-known numbers and unknown gems. The always rocking "Dirty Clothes" got the room moving, jumping right into "Talk In Cheap" to keep that momentum going. While the majority of the playlist remained a mystery, even to us who have seen them live before, they showed everyone they could go from somber tone to heart-pounding rock in an instant, and left little doubt why they made the Top 30 this year. Leaving me to really question... where's the album, guys?
(Gavin Sheehan)
A fantastic showing for both, and at the end I walked away with both an iAndale! album AND a beer cozy! That's right, iAndale! makes a beer cozy, all nice and red and foamy. Only one night left for the CWMA's... why are you sitting at home like the hermit you are? Get up and get out tonight before the showcases are done!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Urban Verbs

By the City Weekly Music Awards showcase’s second week, the competitive component comes into sharper relief, yet is heavily blurred at the Urban Lounge. That’s because the three bands playing tonight all share members; not too uncommon in the musically incestuous Salt Lake music scene.

The Future of the Ghost begins the evening, a trio fronted by Kilby Court’s new proprietor Will Sartain. They start off with some urgency, a minimal post-punk sound that recalls Steve Shelly and the Buzzcocks. Lyrics are urgent too: “if you’re gonna take it all off, take it off with me!” Future of the Ghost is the tightest band in town, but it takes a little while before they reach full intensity. Frustration echoes too, “why have I accepted this as my life?”

There is a slow, snarling piece ala Steven Malkmus, another musical touchstone, then a disco number and finally, a little politics: “I hate your $200 jeans and designer hair while we’re paying to fight this war!” And even more: “Who do you hate? Who do you kill? Freakout, freakout!” It took while for Sartain & co. to reach full throttle, but this performance is more intense than previous outings that were perhaps a little too tightly controlled.

Tolchock Trio takes the stage next, on the heels of a year that saw them open for Weezer and release a critically-acclaimed solo album. This is were band lineups commingle, as FoG bassist Tommy Nguyen straps on the Strat to play guitar in this deceptively-names foursome.

The Tolchocks make full use of their two-guitar attack with lots of guitar solos that added another dimension to their songs. “I Don’t Wanna Be In Your Factory” got the full distortion/wawa treatment ala Dinosaur Jr. Ryan Fedor sings in a clear, almost matter-of-fact voice on his songs about fishing, and that serves to heighten the instrumental onslaught. Duel vocals with Fedor and Oliver Lewis also add layers to their music effectively. They started methodically, and by the end of their created a kind of controlled chaos.

Then the Red Bennies, in some ways the most legendary local ‘indie rock’ band. Tolchocks‘ Dan Thomas remains at the drummer‘s seat. This is a vastly different Bennies than in years hence. When did they become a boogie band, in the 70s hard rock sense? They are still heavy, but in exchange for their old edge and rawness, they have a more polished sound. Even Dave Payne’s vocals lack the rasp they once have, and without it he has a pretty astonishing singing voice.

They get into an almost bluesy groove, with an incandescent classic rock style guitar solo by Payne. My god, have they turned into Led Zeppelin? With Terrence Warburton (also in Purr Bats, Vile Blue Shades & who knows what other groups) on keyboards and bassist Scott Selfridge splitting the John Paul Jones roles, Payne is taking on the parts of both Plant and Page, without the vocal histrionics of Plant. They finish on a piece of electric piano pop, “take a look at that face/I’d give you everything you want,” Payne croons, nary a hint of the old Bennies’ sarcasm. This isn’t your father’s Red Bennies, but it’s still one of the most musically gifted combos around.

Don’t forget to vote!
(Brian Staker)

Friday, February 6, 2009

CWMA Showcases This Weekend!

For many, the weekend officially starts in about seven minutes. We've got your live music needs taken care of with several City Weekly Music Awards showcases lined up from SLC to Provo and Park City. Tonight features Tolchock Trio, Red Bennies and The Future of The Ghost at Urban Lounge; High Beams and Andale! at Bar Deluxe; RuRu, Kid Theodore (pictured above at their recent CMJ gig) and Neon Trees at Velour.
Tomorrow, Blackhole, God's Revolver and Cave of Roses will sonically destroy Club Vegas; Paul Jacobsen & The Madison Arm and The Devil Whale take up residence in the Star Bar. You can't miss. Detailed schedules available right here.
(Jamie Gadette)

CWMA: Cavedoll, Michael Gross

Second week of the CWMA's kicked off over at The Urban Lounge on Feb. 5.

Only a two band show that evening, for some reason Afro Omega couldn't make it work. You know what that means? More music from the ones who could!

Walking on over I saw some flashing yellow lights and instantly knew what was going on. X96 sent its Special Needs Van to the venuem but sent no talent, no merch, and no one friendly to drive it while the speakers blurted out something vaguely emo. In fact the thing pretty much sat stationary outside on the sidewalk, and at one point someone took and hid the keys to it for fun. The driver was understandably upset.

Things went much more smoothly inside the club. First up: indie rock favorites Michael Gross & The Statuettes. My oh my, do the ladies love them! With new bassist in tow, the band cranked out favorites off Tales From A Country Home . With the always catchy “My Life Is Changing” getting the crowd worked up, Michael hit the mic right under the spotlight, soaking up the energy and letting loose emotion into every lyric, as if he were born to play. The band also showed off their skills with numbers like “I've Got A Feeling” and “No Good”, finishing off their set with the appropriately titled “The End” for a great closing. A really great band to kick the evening off with. If you're any kind of music fan, you'll go grab the album and just drive to any point you can, filling you car with their music along the way. I suggest Heber for starters, but that's me.

If Michael Gross is the band you take to the countryside, Cavedoll is the one you crank on the way back into the city. The electro-rockers took the stage to many cheers and applause, even getting a hula hoop gal in the crowd to do her thing. The group wasted no time getting into classics from their extensive collection including the popular “Mexico” that got spectators singing, and the ever seductive “45 Minute Dance Party.” But they also belted out new numbers to enjoy such as the heavy “Dirty Little Secrets” and the head banging “Vader.” With Allison's keyboard and Vanessa's vocals leading the charge, they brought the evening to a close on “Tastes Like A Hurricane”, with a warm thank you from the crowd afterward.Overall, a lovely show that warmed up strong and burned out bright. The lineups so far have been solid and looking to finish strong. These shows are halfway done with three more lined up for tonight. Go see one.
(Gavin Sheehan)


The Urban Lounge looks like a tough room to play. There's too much open space, too many distractions for the audience and the wooden floor directly in front of the stage—with it's metal rail enclosure—is intimidating to patrons for some reason.

That said, MICHAEL GROSS & THE STATUETTES and CAVEDOLL put everything they had into their sets for Thursday night's CWMA showcase and managed to get at least a few people over their fears of being front and center.

MICHAEL GROSS & THE STATUETTES were a new name to me. I wasn't familiar with them at all, but when I mentioned that's who I was going to see earlier in the evening, it was immediately met with, "Michael Gross? Oh, he makes all the girls swoon."

I wasn't really sure what that meant, but in the back of my head I kept picturing a guy in a Justin Timberlake hat serenading a room full of ladies.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), that was not the case at all.

When the band finally took the stage, they played a very different style than I had been anticipating. The country-tinged pop songs were full of energy and catchy hooks that were able to get a few people to take a break from playing pool and actually watch the band. Even playing with a fill-in bassist (with a music stand full of notes in front of him) MICHAEL GROSS & THE STATUETTES were able to keep the  crowds attention and played a solid set. The band seemed a bit pre-occupied at times, but the did make a few of the ladies swoon. Bedroom eyes and fluttering hearts could be seen all around the room.

CAVEDOLL was up next, and it's pretty clear that every electro-pop band needs a singer as charismatic as Kness Angulo. The crowd had thinned considerably by the time they actually started, but CAVEDOLL held the attention of everyone in the room from the first note they struck. There were a few technical difficulties early on, but once those were assessed it was smooth, danceable sailing from then on. The band was able to get a more than a few people moving on that intimidating dance floor (including a woman that spent the entire set with a glowing hula-hoop) and the rest were at least nodding their heads and tapping their feet.

CAVEDOLL appeared to be having much more fun than THE STATUETTES, but maybe it's just because the music was a little more upbeat. Either way, it was another solid night for the CWMA's. (Trevor Hale)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

CWMA on PCTV and other Acronym Shenanigans

For all three or so readers who subscribe to PCTV, I'll be joining host Ori Hoffer to chat about the City Weekly Music Awards. Top 30 nominee Paul Jacobsen and the Madison Arm will also be performing live on the show. You can check them out again on Saturday at the Star Bar. For a complete schedule of CWMA events this weekend, click here.
And enjoy this video

(Jamie Gadette)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

CWMA Videos!

We're so close to entering the 21st century, but you're still going to have to click here to see the cool videos we took at last weekend's City Weekly Music Awards showcases. Share them with your loved ones.
(Jamie Gadette)