- Courtesy Photo
Near the beginning of the pandemic, City Weekly wrote about how Salt Lake Academy of Music was continuing to operate despite the challenges posed by new social-distancing norms. They shifted for a while to free online courses, supporting themselves with tuition from parents of students who could still afford to pay, donations and a grant from SPower, a renewable-energy developer headquartered in SLC. This funding not only provided free online classes but also paid the musician-employees who serve as SLAM instructors—a huge boon since working musicians lost many gigs due to the virus. In addition to offering online classes, they've continued to operate their instrument exchange program, with executive director Steve Auerbach saying that on each Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., "We accept the donations, sterilize them and then check them for functionality before inventorying them. We then send a letter of donation confirmation as a receipt." Now, due to parent requests and the state relaxing restrictions on gatherings, SLAM is once more opening its brick-and-mortar classrooms, albeit with tight restrictions on how the spaces are used and kept clean and safe. Youth musicians from all over Northern Utah can now return to taking classes in SLAM's new social-distancing-friendly spaces and participating in summer camps. Those who want to support their efforts are encouraged to continue donating at slamslc.org/donate.
Local Venues and Stores Shout-out Protests
Many local businesses and business-owners, musicians, venues and shops have abandoned their normal social-media output in lieu of posting informational content about the nationwide wave of protests that recently also swept over SLC, sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, along with racial injustice and police brutality in general. If you feel strongly about these issues, it's hopefully heartening to see a suspension of business as usual, as real people come out from behind their brands to engage with the community meaningfully and earnestly. The Depot, which is partnered with booking giant Live Nation, posted their support at the beginning of June, saying, "We are at a time right now where so many people who make up [the culture of music] are suffering ... we need to stop the racists that are literally killing culture," alongside a pledge to donate to the Equal Justice Initiative and to continue standing with the black community. In addition, local venue-owners and bookers S&S Presents posted their own message of solidarity, after canceling one of their Concert Cruise events as protests swept the city over the weekend when it was scheduled to take place. Diabolical Records, meanwhile, pledged for their part to contribute 25% of their drop bag sales (their very cool system for delivering mystery bags of records and other goodies, contact-free) to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which helps bail out Minnesota-based protestors. Consider patronizing these businesses with ticket purchases and donations: Buy tickets for future events from The Depot, donate to S&S (at paypal.me/sartainandsaundres) and/or keep up with Diabolical drop bag updates at @diabolicalslc on Instagram.
- Erin Moore
Ogden's Nightlife Is Back for More
While a number of Salt Lake bars and restaurants have begun to reopen, Ogden, too, has seen some of its popular hot spots for music, drafts and cocktails reopening. With lower coronavirus case counts in their area compared to, say, SLC, the northerly city is eager to start opening back up. Now, businesses like The Lighthouse Lounge in historic downtown Ogden are lighting up their Pabst Blue Ribbon stage once again. While they're hosting nighttime entertainment as usual, their next daytime event is a brunch-and-music affair, Sunday FUNday, where local musicians are slated to perform on June 14 at noon. Another local Ogden nightlife hub, The Yes Hell, has also begun to slowly welcome artists back into their bar for entertainment, starting with local DJ Bryson Dearden and his vinyl collection. So far, their next event after that isn't listed until August, which will—if all stays safe—feature soloist Paddy Teglia and Bryan Vyborny. Keep an eye out for more dates at both bars on facebook.com/lighthousesportsbar and facebook.com/theyeshell.
A Royal Reopening
That local rock bar mainstay of Murray, The Royal, has opened its doors once again, joining a cadre of other local bars slowly and carefully going about the same process. While the new shows scheduled throughout the month of June aren't much like normal shows—social distancing is enforce,d with tickets for seated, well-spaced tables requiring advance ticket purchase—the 50 to 60 capacity events are still a step closer to what many folks really miss, which is the warmth of being around friendly music-lovers like themselves, and the feeling of live music coming at you from a stage. Royal Bliss, the owners and namesake of the bar, hits the stage June 12, and patrons can also enjoy food and beers just like on any normal night at The Royal. They'll be followed by Outside Infinity, The 1-2 Manys and Anthem for a New Tomorrow on June 13, while their Thursday reggae nights on the patio are starting up again as well. If it's open-air fun, classic bar fare and good tunes you've missed most of all during the stay-at-home order, The Royal is offering those things once again for those ready to go back out. Keep up with show updates and details about buying tickets at facebook.com/theroyalslc or at theroyalslc.com.
- Courtesy of Virtual Chillin’
Local Binge: Hip Hop Organics
While many local artists have gone quiet about music as protests have swept the nation—which isn't necessarily a bad thing—one local hip hop collective is still doing their thing on their weekly live Facebook feed. Hip Hop Organics Virtual Chillin' describes itself as "a united ecosystem of artists and businesses who curate experiences through the expressions of hip hop," and has for some time been a champion of local hip hop, hosting events with local rappers, singers and DJs like Secret of Mana (aka Mana Eini, one of the main organizers of HHO), Malev Da Shinobi, Cherry Thomas, DJ Coyotl (another organizer, along with Joshua Howard) and many more. Their events, which usually feature local vendors as well, have previously included workshops, freestyle sessions, producer showcases and fundraisers, most recently for Rose Park's grassroots organization the Brown Berets. With the advent of the pandemic, they shifted these community-oriented events online, starting the Virtual Chillin' in April, with every Friday into 2021 scheduled out for more chilling (hey, no one knows how long this is going to last). Visit their Facebook page to get the names of the dozens of local artists they've collaborated with, and tune into their Virtual Chillin' sessions on facebook.com/hiphoporganics every Friday at 8 p.m. for freestyle raps, conversations with local guests and all things hip hop.