I drove up to Provo on Saturday, my first visit to the Utah County town in years. That's right. I'm coming clean: it was my first time at Velour, Corey Fox's awesome all-ages venue which always books great touring acts and local bands on a routine basis. And while it certainly takes more energy to get there than does a trip to my neighborhood stomping grounds it's definitely worth the drive.
It's another world out there, in many respects. One: the main drag is actually "walkable," a quality that SLC planners strive for but only achieve in fits and starts thanks to zoning restrictions and SUV-drivin' policy makers. Two: a show at Velour is not just an excuse to go out--it is an Event! We showed up at 7:30 p.m. (obligatory disclosure: my boyfriend Charlie recently joined Band of Annuals who opened for The Devil Whale along with Seattle's Matt Hopper--he is playing tonight at W Lounge and again on Friday at Slowtrain as part of Gallery Stroll) and people were already lined up outside waiting for doors to open at 8:30 p.m. We waited in a back room reminscent of my high school bedroom and dorm room, a dimly lit space with walls covered floor to ceiling in retro record covers.
Matt Hopper went first and played to a packed audience, a relatively unheard of treat in SLC where people accustomed to downtown bar time often miss the opening act. By the time BOA went on, the crowd was rowdy--and most of them were sober! It's been a while since I witnessed concert-goers going ga-ga for a local band, singing along to every word and--some--downright salivating over the pedal-steel player. We had to leave before The Devil Whale performed to get to Urban Lounge for Why? (who packed in more than 350! people) and Ted Dancin', but I found footage from the Velour show. The band's maiden voyage (promoting their stunning new release Like Paraders) featured Seattle-based musicians who played on the record and who made the long 14-hour trip down to back their Utah comrades. Producer Shawn Simmons was also on hand. Check out his roster online.
The Devil Whale plays a second CD release show at Kilby Court on Saturday. Here's a taste of what you'll hear/see: