When we book bands to play in our annual awards show—this year there are 22 bands in seven show-cases—we strive to match genres to make for a cohesive concert. But, as is inevitable with this many bands, there are changes and add-ons, so we get as close to cohesive as possible. Two of the four showcases in the first CWMA week featured strange bedfellows, but the diversity and dovetailing of talent made for evenings to remember, and even left us wondering why we don’t mash up genres more often. Add to that the always-bustling DJ Spin-off and a stellar hip-hop showcase (one with a near 1,000 percent increase in attendance from the hip-hop show in 2012), and you have a weekend of locally made, locally played music that was simply outstanding—so much so that we’ll do it all again next weekend.
Flash & Flare at Zest Kitchen & Bar
The first of the two DJ Spin-offs can be summed up as such: artisanal drinks, artisanal beets, artisanal beats. Amid a dancing, sweaty group of beat junkies, Flash & Flare spun an impressive set that was all over the BPM and genre spectrum.
DopeThought at 5 Monkeys
After DopeThought put lazy hip-hop heads on blast, the crowd pushed to the front and he put down a nasty performance. DopeThought and producer Worth are arguably the most interesting rap duo in Utah. (Colin Wolf)
Concise Kilgore at 5 Monkeys
Concise Kilgore, Utah’s most respected rapper, owned the stage like a landlord—I felt like I owed him money, performing songs from Kobain, which is basically one heavy banger after another. (Colin Wolf)
The Bully at Burt’s Tiki Lounge
The Bully’s twangy, gutbucket songs about whiskey, pills and women were sung by unlikely frontman Jake Fish (The Devil Whale bassist), who has enough charm and wit to leave a crowd with a feeling of hope, even after sad songs.
Folk Hogan at Burt’s Tiki Lounge
Six-piece punk-grass band Folk Hogan cranked up the volume and energy, and their fans—the most energetic and enthusiastic locals—reacted by throwing beach balls, shouting at the band and tossing confetti. The 10-song performance was probably my favorite CWMA set of all time.
Juana Ghani at The Woodshed
The “underground gypsy cabaret” Juana Ghani took over the stage—literally, because there are so many band members—to perform songs at once cacophonous and mystifying. They are a performance band foremost—an orgy for the eyes.