After several heated exchanges between a who’s who of Salt Lake City DJs (Easy, Tina, JPAN, BT5K, Serge Du Preez, DJ Vai, Sensei Miya and Bo York), the final battle showcased BT5K’s party-starting energy against Bo York’s crate-digging turntablism. BT5K brought the hits, reinterpreting everything from Johnny Cash to dubstep to trap and EDM, while Bo York took the audience on a sensual journey through dusty corners of hip-hop and house music.
With input from three judges—yours truly; New City Movement founder Jesse Walker; and DJ Jarvicious of local radio stations of U92, X96 and KUDD—counting for half the vote and audience balloting counting for the other half, the final tally was a close call. Both BT5K and Bo York had considerable support crews roaming The Depot’s spacious second floor, and both DJs responded to the judge’s input throughout the night while playing to the increasingly hyped up crowd.
In the end, Bo York came out on top, securing the Aug. 16 opening slot for the Diplo show thanks to his unique mixes, trance-inducing deep dives and considerable scratching skills. The other seven DJs all brought equally original styles to the battle, though, so don’t sleep on any of them in the future as they get dance floors jumping across Salt Lake City.
Looking ahead this week, the summer music gods keep smiling on us. Tuesday, Aug. 7 is particularly stacked across the valley, with five different stacked lineups:
1. Kalamazoo, Michigan’s Greensky Bluegrass will make a holy racket at Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre, mixing the “acoustic stomp of a stringband music with the rule-breaking spirit of rock & roll,” as their bio states. No, they stick to the traditionalist script; yes, they’re far more progressive than most jam bands mining the old-timey past. With a roving eye for far-flung covers and a rollicking spirit more akin to Grateful Dead than Doc Watson, Greensky Bluegrass is sure to please. Don’t miss this affordably priced Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre show.
2. At Metro Music Hall, heavy genre-blenders Deafheaven will bring their excellent new album, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, to town. Mixing black metal blast beats with introspective shoegaze and technically sharp post-hardcore, this Los Angeles quintet continues to defy expectations and raise the bar for what modern metal does (and doesn’t) sound like. Joining Deafheaven are two equally surprising bands: Drab Majesty, Andrew Clinco’s ‘80s-influenced “tragic wave” solo project, and Uniform, a bracingly intense explosion of monolithic industrial rock crafted by the Brooklyn gents who once helmed The Men. Three solid bands for $21—that’s real value right there.
3. North on I-15, the Ogden Twilight Series rounds third base and heads home with two more shows: Chromeo + STRFKR + Flash & Flare on Tuesday, Aug. 7, followed by Chvrches + Pale Waves + Tishmal on Thursday, August 9th. Wear your dancing shoes on Tuesday because all three acts will deliver irresistible electronic pop, funk, rock, and rap, then bring an open heart on Thursday when three different thoughtful female-fronted indie bands will come out bearing witness to passionate perspectives.
4. Speaking of thoughtful, rising alt-country star Jason Eady mines the peaks and valleys of middle age on his rocking new album I Travel On. Recorded live with a crack band of acoustic experts, Eady’s songs look back on his outlaw past while celebrating the domestic steadiness of the present. Local favorite opens this 21+ Urban Lounge show.
Coheed & Cambria
5. Finally on Tuesday, Coheed & Cambria + Taking Back Sunday + The Story So Far storm The Union Event Center with their emo-influenced prog-punk sound. All three bands are known for high-energy shows, technical prowess, and wearing their screaming, bleeding hearts on their sleeve. Coheed & Cambria’s new material is particularly impressive, mixing the space-time mythology they’re known for with more electronic-leaning tendencies. Tickets still available for this all ages show.
And that’s just one day of this week in a summer filled with good music. See you out there, Salt Lake City…