by M. Lewis Barker
Don’t assume that I’ve gone and abandoned the site. How could I leave my poor readers in the dark like that? But between a new job, a new girlfriend, and the fact that the scene dies down quite a bit in the summer thanks to this being a college town and all, I just haven’t had much cause for an update. But summer is coming to a close, the scene is getting back in gear, and I’m itching to hear all your angry comments and e-mails every time I don’t give a band 100% praise!
For those of you unfamiliar with the site, Provo Music Guide (dot com!) reviews local bands from Utah County. I write most of the articles, with some help from other contributors. Occasionally I can be overly negative, but don’t take it personally – that just means your band sucks. Actually, I try to give an honest, but hopefully helpful, critique, like we do of each other’s work in all my art classes. I don’t write reviews as some kind of expert or authority, but as a peer subject to all the same criticisms that I dish out. My own band is called Wild Apples, and it’s something I do in my free time with no intentions of grandeur or success (much like this site!). It would be hypocritical of me to shout my opinions about the art of others to the world if I didn’t offer the same for myself. My ultimate goal with the site is to expose more people to all the great things that happening in Provo, kind of like C. Jane. But unlike C. Jane, 80% of my posts are not about being a mother. Other sites might talk about Fictionist or Imagine Dragons or Joshua James with no intentions of delving any deeper, but I try to get past the casual music scene. There are dozens and dozens of bands in this city. Most of them suck. But many are really good and worth the $5-$7 it costs to see them.
And last night was worth every penny. Velour brought us a show chock full of new acts (which pretty much never happens on a Saturday night during the rest of the year). Back Chat, the Blue Aces, Don Juan, and Lindenfield provided a night of exciting, fun, and upbeat songs.
Lindenfield is the pseudonym of Colin Hatch, frontman of Tighty Willis and co-owner of Muse Music Cafe. Armed with nothing but his faithful semi-hollow, Hatch plays a mix of love songs, pop songs, and 80’s hair metal power ballads, all with an indie flair and a positive attitude. They’re simple, catchy, fun tunes. Some of them are fast, some are slow. I’ve heard a few before, played with Tighty Willis. Lindenfield is just a very solid act all around, though I’d much rather see the whole band.
Don Juan, brainchild of Crylics drummer Martin Bradshaw (Gigawhat?). is something of a garage rock band. I had seen the band at Muse a week earlier, and was left pretty unimpressed. The songs were good, but the performance was pretty shambly. With two guitars, bass, and a drum machine, they didn’t live up to the hype. But I wanted to give them another shot, and I’m glad I did. Though they still lacked a live drummer (which would improve their performances significantly), it was a much sharper performance and the positive aspects of the music became much clearer. They have a ton of fun on stage, and get the audience into it. Though very simple, a lot of the instrumentation is cool and the guitar parts interesting. If I were to pigeonhole the band into a genre, I’d call them garage rock. So if that’s what you’re into, check out Don Juan ASAP.
It’s hard to judge The Blue Aces without factoring in their age. The Provo music scene is so large because this town has two colleges, and the majority of the bands are made of people ages 18-25 (isn’t that how it is everywhere?). Even high school bands are a rare occurrence, especially at Velour. But the Blue Aces are a bunch of middle school girls. Despite being half my age, their music is twice as entertaining. Playing a mix of originals and covers, the young quartet managed to get a whole venue to dance. That’s not an easy feat, believe you me. But me, and everyone else there, had a whole lot of fun. Seeing the girls go giddy over Tyler Glenn (frontman of recently famous Neon Trees) complimenting their show over in Muse’s cafe may have been the highlight of the night for me.
Closing up the night was Back Chat, the new rock band from our favorite resident singer/songwriter Cody Rigby. Rigby takes his upbeat pop ballads and adds in some flavors I didn’t even know were missing. An all-star cast accompanies him: the previously mentioned Colin Hatch on bass, Tighty Willis’ (recently married) Preston Lewis, Zach Johnson (The Old Grey Geese) on keyboard, and (also recently married, to our friend and contributor Alex Pow) Lynn Wiberg, frontman of the Crylics, on lead
guitar. The quintet come together to play some wonderful loose music heavily rooted in early Rock & Roll. The songs sound straight off a 60s radio, though they still retain that classic “Cody Rigby” sound, thanks in large part to his unique voice. While far from the tightest set I’ve ever heard, they still kept the energy up and were thoroughly entertaining and just plain fun throughout the set, building on the energy that the previous acts had established.
It was a wonderful show, and a great end to the summer. And for all of you that came out to Velour and saw us play last Friday, thank you so much for being there!
Now that fall is here and all of Provo’s prodigal prodigies are back, expect regular updates from the site again. Hopefully this year even more people will learn to hate me!