Playing for a sizable, sun-drenched art-festival crowd is a dream gig for performers at any level. This year’s Utah Arts Festival organizers did a fantastic job of serving up some of Salt Lake City’s best local talent, offering patrons an appetizing sampler of what their backyard music scene has to offer. ---
The jam-packed schedule for live performances zigzags quickly from set to set. Undaunted by the pace, all of the artists I saw on Saturday afternoon thrived on the high energy and festive atmosphere.
As the title of band’s recent EP release Summer Fling
suggests, Lady Murasaki’s bouncing, poppy surf rock made for an ideal show on Saturday afternoon. The group occupied one of the festival’s largest stages with their good-vibe-laden ditties. Plunking bass provides the structure for LM’s sound, which is surrounded by retro reverb guitar, electric organ and Amber Taniuchi’s strident vocals. Their time slot was over all too soon, but successfully reaffirmed Lady Mursaki’s place as a one of the top new bands in Salt Lake City.
Poet Alex Caldiero was featured on The Big Mouth Stage, reciting a poem proclaiming “mouth” as one of the three words that make up his essence, the others being “tree” and “door.” Caldiero’s verse is inseparable from the vocal qualities with which he imbues the words. He views his art as sonosophy, or the fusion of sound, poetry and philosophy. Caldiero’s approach is wholly unconventional, characterized when he delivers the lines, “Language is messy… its music reverberates thru one body into another -- the inner ear, the sound of original rain.” Where other poets accent syllables, he vocalizes the downbeat, alerting listeners to his song without a time signature. A stand-up bass accompanied him minimally at times to propel the linguist’s rhythm even further. His poems utilize a wit, sharpened by years of diverse experience, that reflects on the possibilities of life, and the necessity to be present in it fully. Year after year, the local poetic giant and UVU professor of poetry is invited back to UAF, and it's no wonder.