The crowd surfing, shoving and head swinging took on more fervor for some acts—Bass Drum of Death—than the swaying admiration of Spell Talk devotees. Still, to spell out the bottom line, you were at Urban Lounge on Thursday, August 24, if rock is a priority in life (even if the Twilight Concert Series brought Lupe Fiasco to town on the same night).
Reverb and aggressive strumming is a formula that Max Payne and the Groovies have harnessed with considerable success. I have mixed feelings about boxing a band into a comparison and/or label, but if you haven’t heard the local act, expect some kind of tie-dyed, revised take on the Stooges. The Groovies back that up and bring a practiced, tight groove that is far from pretty, and right at home in Salt Lake City’s rocker scene.
The next band, proud local sons Spell Talk, had all that they needed for a good performance with new and old material. The not-entirely new direction Spell Talk is taking with this Thursday’s set of songs works. A revised, consistent set of quality stuff will be worth looking forward to for fans. Spell Talk has made their sound an interpretation all their own, representing their bluesy classic-rock influences, while avoiding imitation. It seems we can rely on Spell Talk as artists with the ability to deliver.
Bass Drum of Death (with easily one of the most badass band names ever reviewed by Pitchfork) picked up the energy at the show from start to finish. The venue and the music in the last hour made for a volatile mix of serious shoving in the front, jumping on stage, grabbing singer John Barret’s microphone and so on. Maybe one of hardcore’s best new prospects, these guys are a speedy power trio and sound like that destructive music found in a skate video or a small music-store-employee’s favorite-picks section.
I was at the Lupe Fiasco concert, too, and it definitely wasn't a good of hour my life. Honestly, I would have preferred less constant, unintentional closeness with the innumerable people crammed in Pioneer Park. Twilight is over and it is always great while it lasts. All the same, bands like Spell Talk, Max Payne and the Groovies and Bass Drum of Death can hopefully look forward to their future runs in Salt Lake City being the option for concertgoers. However, I would guess that there would still be some elbow room. Go to one of these shows, let loose, shove your neighbor, head bang your ear into the stage monitor -- if you are into that sort of thing, a good night will assuredly ensue.