Provo can rock. It can rock hard. (Concert Report: Velour, March 25 2011)

by M. Lewis Barker

Chasing Kings‘ frontman Matt Schwartz told me last night that no other town in the United States has a music scene like Provo.

Music is my raison d’être. I listen to it as I walk to and from campus. I listen to it as I work on art projects. I sing along loudly in my car. I’ve been playing it since I was a child. I go to shows every single weekend. I write about music on the internet. I play in a band. I just love music.

And last night, Provo was catering to my tastes. 100 Block was rocking hard. Muse had some great new bands. The Deathstar was throwing a hard garage rock show. But I was at Velour, where I had one of my best local concert experiences yet. For your reading pleasure, here is a review of that show:

The Future of the Ghost

Future of the Ghost comes to us from Salt Lake City. They play some good old fashioned indie rock. Their songs are catchy and simple but carry a lot of punk influence. The guitars are just crunchy enough to dirty up the sound in all the right ways. And the light synth adds a whole other layer to the band that nicely fills out the soundscape. The band boasts two frontmen who trade off singer/guitar/bass duties, yet the sound stays consistent between the two of them. They write some interesting guitar parts and know when to let feedback speak for itself. I hope they take the time to come down and play in Provo often.

Chasing Kings

Chasing Kings rolled into town last Halloween weekend and blew everyone away with their vocal harmonies, catchy hooks (did I seriously just write that?), and engaging performance. One of them was kind enough to give me a copy of their EP The Current State of Our Future, and it stayed in my car’s stereo for a long time. They came back into town and once again, played a fantastic show. They played a lot of new songs from their forthcoming record, but everyone saw the mark they left on the town when we all sang along to their EP’s title track. I hope they made a lot of new fans last night, and I really hope you’re there when they next play in Provo.

Holy Water Buffalo

I’ve told you folks about Holy Water Buffalo in the past, but let me reiterate that they are a great rock and roll band who are very quickly making a name for themselves in the local scene. Last night was no exception.

Eyes Lips Eyes

I have seen Eyes Lips Eyes (formerly Elizabethan Report) the last six times they’ve come into town since moving to Los Angeles. How can I miss the greatest live show in Provo? Fresh off a stint at SXSW, Tony Hello and his band of merrymen showed us all how to put on a real rock show. The band is tighter than ever. If Hello were more self-conscious, his showboating could be seen as egotistic, but he just completely lets himself go as he flails around the stage and gets the audience to sing along. Instead of overshadowing his bandmates, he lets us see them even more. Spencer Petersen’s innovative guitar playing is inspiring. Aaron Hatch’s bass adds a lot of funk, and he makes sure to hog up the stage as much as anyone. Thomas Carroll’s steady and eccentric drum playing gives the band the base they need to go crazy. The audience is completely participatory: singing along, jumping up and down, clapping, dancing. The whole event taps into this primal human need to just let go of inhibitions and be one with a group of people. While Eyes Lips Eyes may not have played my favorite music of the night (though they still write some amazing, amazing stuff),  they did manage to steal the show every time through sheer force of will.

I also caught Eidola at Muse Music last night in between sets at Velour. Eidola is the new project of former Follow the Earth frontman Andrew Wells. Wells writes some very complicated songs, but he grounds them in some good Rock & Roll. It is a sound that is entirely his own, accentuated by the crazy light show his band always puts on. Let me just say that Eidola are a very, very good band and will be making waves in the Provo scene in the close future.

After all the shows, the Parlor had an “aftershow” where Tighty Willis played as people ate pizza. Sometimes, you just need to dance until 2 in the morning. Last night was one of those times.

I really am impressed with the scene here. It’s strong. Velour, Muse, the Compound, and now the Deathstar are all doing so much to keep music alive in town. I used to worry that it was too much competition all right next to each other, but last night all three venues were packed with people, and tonight might be even worse. I now look at 100 Block as a little music festival every weekend with multiple stages. I think our little scene here is about to see an explosion, and some of these bands that we enjoy are going to see themselves in the spotlight on a national scale. Let’s just enjoy the music together.


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