- Derek Fonzbeck
The Shows Go On, But Should You Go?
You may have noticed—if you trawl Facebook event pages, or follow certain artists or venues—that live music shows are starting back up again at some establishments. While larger music-only venues have not re-opened, bars with stages are beginning to host shows again. The wave of re-opened venues seems to be just one of many other re-openings sweeping our city, even while new COVID-19 cases have not diminished by any means, but rather continue to heap up by the hundreds each day. A few weeks ago, City Weekly highlighted a few of these upcoming sets at local show bars, but it doesn't seem like a great idea to strongly encourage y'all to start going to shows again. Concerns about transmissions are still relevant as case rates continue to grow, especially in smaller, enclosed spaces and especially if not everyone is wearing a mask (like when you're drinking a beer). Since virtual shows and events are still an option, it feels more rational to promote that safer option. This virus is still very much among us; just because we're bored and the weather is dreamy, it doesn't mean we should throw caution to the wind. If you do decide to make an outing to an upcoming show, at least do so with the sensitivity towards at-risk groups, or those who live with them. City Weekly endorses safety behaviors set by scientists or health officials. Before you go, make sure the venues you choose are doing all they can to create safer environments, and make sure your party of friends does likewise. And wear a mask!
Red Bennies Release a New One
While the world ends and a new one is, like, maybe being forged, one thing for sure is still the same: SLC's very own Red Bennies, the self-proclaimed (and maybe actually truly) oldest band still playing in Salt Lake City. Surviving since the '90s as one of the premier loud rock bands, with just the right amount of funky avant-garde to temper their crashing noise, this project is one oft-mentioned here on City Weekly, because their centerpiece, Dave Payne, is in what seems like a million other projects, and stewards many spaces for music around the city. Though Payne and co. are always churning out music and dropping releases whenever it suits them, this one coming during the pandemic feels especially nice. The title of the album, available June 26, is such that it isn't allowed on Apple music, and so won't be released there. Payne says it will be on all streaming services, "except Apple because the title has words in it that could be construed as 'search terms,' which they don't allow." FUNIPOCY ANTIHUMU will be out on Spotify, and on tape via local label Chthonic soon after the digital release. The album features good old raggedy, dogged and sometimes rollicking guitar, and Payne's signature stare-you-down singing style gets rough and tumble here. Meanwhile, the guitar rock is interwoven with funky experimentations, like the screeching, howling, alien crescendo found on "Intellectual Limits." Altogether, this is yet another installation in this masterful band's rock repertoire.
- Rock Camp SLC
Rock Camp Shows Its Moves
The people doing the work to keep kids happy and having fun during this cursed summer of COVID-19 are amazing and the best. For kids used to going to Rock Camp every summer, or for those who were looking forward to it this year, there's been a big push to keep things as normal and engaging as possible for them, with the Camp's coordinators working to offer online classes. Instead of being cooped up inside or wandering backyard aimlessly, these kids have been offered the chance to keep learning about music. And whereas the usual camp would be capped by an end-of-camp showcase of all the bands and their freshly-composed songs, this year that isn't possible. But the coordinators have once again gotten creative. In place of the showcase, Rock Camp is asking participants of this year's virtual classes (and anyone else, it seems like!) to join their First Virtual Dance Party—although let's hope there's not a reason next year for there to be a second one. Attendees can join through Zoom, decorate their homes and boogie down live on screen with the virtual campers and coordinators. Additionally, coordinators are to be lauded for contributing to the current conversation about race and inequality—on their Facebook page, they've provided links and resources for parents to talk to their kids about topics like racism, consent and other important issues. While it may be a summer spent at home for many kids, it sure sounds like at least it's been (and will keep being) one full of learning thanks to Rock Camp.
- Matt Zingers
Tony Holiday Gifts a New Album
Born in Memphis, turned a bit of a drifter and now a Utah stalwart, Tony Holiday has been at his craft for some time. That experience is apparent on his latest release, out on the Vizztone label. Soul Service finds Holiday's hand quite deft, blending down-home country with classic blues and even hints of old-school jazz with ease and fantastically balanced production. One of the most interesting tracks, "Checkers on the Chessboard," is a sultry little jam with electric keys and a thrumming backdrop of soft, jazzy drums tapping along to create the sensual beat. Holiday's oft-present harmonica skills are reedy, yet with a noir air to match the rest, creating a song that drips with a subtle sultriness—no heavy-handedness on the part of this seasoned bluesman. Big country vibes come across on "Day Dates (Turn Into Night Dates)," which features a soft flirtation with lap steel to take it to its romantic height. A honky-tonk-ish turn closes out the album on the eighth and final track, "Ol' Number Nine," cementing the album as one that really shows Holiday's range, and his laudable ability to sound neither corny nor like a copy-cat of the oldies. He manages to achieve the integrity-bound sound of a purist, but also seems to shun pure folk, pure blues, pure jazz. We're lucky to have such a jammer in our midst, and it's well worth remembering while waiting for the day Holiday can take a local stage once again. Stream Soul Service on Spotify, and stream or buy on Apple Music.
Local Binge: Living Dead Drive-in Concert
Many folks have been talking about the pandemic-necessitated revival of the drive-in movie (can I get a hell yeah?). In yet another cool and interesting take on the concert format, Utah Valley's Happy Valley Rockers—stewards of The Monarch House venue—have come up with maybe the coolest new way to see a show since Miss Corona rolled around: We're talkin' about a drive-in concert, baby. Aptly named The Living Dead Drive In, the show is a collaboration with local sludgy psych rockers Say Hey, hosted at the Sticky Shoe Theater in American Fork (technically the Towne Cinemas, but Sticky Shoe is a way better name). This show has it all—city approval (hard to come by these days), popcorn and snacks, the option to stand if you have a mask and, best of all, lots of local bands. Local big-time players like Sammy Brue will be joined by other well-known local names like Blue Rain Boots, Hobosapien, The Scrub Oaks, Commander Salamander, Fake Nice and of course, Say Hey. It seems that 2020 might not be the year of no shows, but of weird, creatively-put-together shows with really big lineups. As per Happy Valley's Instagram post, tickets are $7 a person with a $25 cap per distanced car. Join in on this exciting new kind of show and catch a lot of our best locals in the process. This is the real deal, folks. Follow Happy Valley Rockers on Instagram @happyvalleyrockers for more info on this event, and more locals-focused events in the future.