By Richard Provost
Over the last decade, Provo has seen immense growth in the number of music venues downtown. After the closure of several downtown venues left a void in the Provo music scene in the early 00’s, Muse Music, Provo’s oldest venue, stepped in to fill it and inspired a musical renaissance. Former Muse booking manager Corey Fox then went on to open Provo’s most successful venue to date, Velour Live Music Gallery, which is now in its 10th year of operation. Other venue openings followed, with The Wall opening up on BYU campus in 2013 and Audio West opening its doors in Orem a year later.
Tonight, April 22nd, Camille Mora, Bruneel, Beckett, and headliner Carlos Viitanen will take the stage at Gezzo Hall in honor of Gezzo’s first anniversary. Gezzo Hall opened in April of 2015. Since that time its large facility has provided a unique concert experience that other Provo venues haven’t.
Gezzo Hall frequently hosts smaller touring acts from out of state, providing a space where local musicians can foster new connections with artists from all over the country. Gezzo has been particularly supportive of the UTuber community as well, hosting successful musical internet sensations like Shaun Canon, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, and Scott Winn on a number of occasions. While not unique to Gezzo Hall, the venue is beginning to host a growing number of album release shows. Salt Lake’s Cinders will be releasing their eponymous full length album in late May, and Carlos Viitanen will be releasing his EP, From Where I Came, tonight.
“Gezzo Hall is a very unique venue to Provo, and one that I feel will play an even bigger role as time goes on,” Viitanen told Reach Provo. Viitanen gives Gezzo Hall pretty high praise. He performed there for the first time just a few months ago, and already he’s returning with a new EP in hand. “Each venue in Provo ads a really important dynamic. Its main characteristics are obviously – first and foremost – its size. You can pack that place. It makes for a really fun atmosphere. Also, it’s in a great location near downtown, and you can’t forget about the amazing food. I really appreciate and respect the guys at Gezzo Hall, especially Sam Mecham.”
Viitanen says From Where I Came is an introspective work – one that he wrote when he was in a dark period in his life. “All of us have ups or downs, but it seems like we learn the most about ourselves and the world around us during the downs,” he says. “In a way, we can be grateful for them. It’s always good to look back at where you came from – your roots, challenges, failures, regrets – and see how far you’ve come. There’s also something comforting about going back to a place or a time that is familiar, like it helps ground us or put things into perspective. That’s the reason for the name of the song and the EP.”
The EP was recorded with the help of Jared Scott, former bassist for Red Yeti. Viitanen and Scott became roommates two years ago. Within hours of meeting, they began playing for each other, swapping original songs back and forth. “He told me that day that he believes in me, and I am very humbled that he has supported me this whole time. He really is a special friend,” says Viitanen. “He really made this thing happen. He gave me full access to his personal studio and I have no idea how many Saturday mornings we’ve spent in there tweaking things and working on the songs until they were just right. He, in my eyes, is my musical mentor. He would tell me when something didn’t sound right, or when he knew I could do better. I really appreciate that about him. I really want to give him the credit for this.”
Viitanen is also excited for tonight’s lineup. “Bruneel is a band that I’ve seen many times, and I know those guys well. They’re great performers. I’m excited to play with Beckett and Camille Mora for the first time as well. It’s going to be a really sweet pallet and variety of music performed, which I think will appeal to everyone in the audience. I just hope people come, ready to leave behind their stresses and problems and just come and experience the stories and the emotions behind the songs we will play – just forget about everything for a while and feel. I think that’s what music is all about.”
Carlos Viitanen’s EP release show starts tonight, April 22nd, at 8PM at Gezzo Hall. Tickets are $7 online, $10 at the door. Hard copies of From Where I Came will be available at the show. You can check out his live cover of Hozier’s “Work Song” below.