Making More Musical Memories | Music | Salt Lake City Weekly

Making More Musical Memories 

Considering the best moments from a year in flux

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JADE CROMAR
  • Jade Cromar

The year just wrapping up has been a little bit like normal, but still decidedly not normal. Even as shows returned to stages across the country in 2021, many things were different: masks became a norm, as well as showing proof of vaccination to get into shows.

But there were other changes, too. As artists started playing again, there was a new emotional charge to all that music. We all missed this so much. Read below for my favorite musical moments of 2021, and take a moment to reflect on your own.

Return to Kilby Court. Last year, we interviewed a lot of local artists and music fans to ask what they missed most in our locked-down world, and one answer many shared was resoundingly "Kilby Court." The small, scrappy, all-ages venue is a magical place, where one can see both amazing touring artists and watch your local favorites grow up and find their voice.

For my part, some of the most amazing experiences I had this past year as I began going back to shows were there, too. The first one featured Josaleigh Pollett, who sang songs from her 2020 album No Woman Is The Sea and some from her vulnerable, lovely lo-fi Bedroom Demos 2021. At a certain point, many people were sitting on the ground and singing along to the refrain of one of my favorite tracks, the very-much-a-pandemic song "Earthquake Song (Bedroom Demo)." Along with her, we sang, "I can see the good in anything / do you want me to?"

After that show, I had the pleasure of seeing Mannequin Pussy, a Philadelphia punk band who I saw once before, as the opening act in the more cavernous Metro Music Hall. This time, though, MP was the headlining act, and man did it go off. It was right after Kilby joined other venues in requiring masks at shows, and so that's how I ended up in a hot, sweaty mosh pit for the first time in a long time—and for the first time, it was a fully-masked pit. I cried at the intensity of it, screaming along to favorite songs while admiring the gritty elegance of lead singer Missy Dabice.

Then, I finally got to see local artist Rachael Jenkins for the first time. The young soloist has found some real fame online, going viral for songs like her first single "Untitled." This fall's Kilby show was somehow her first ever, and she had to ditch her mic because it kept shocking her. Even without the mic, her voice rang clear and high, unbelievably present—her voice, like her earnest face and searching eyes, was as soft and true as old silk. Hers is, I think, the best voice I have ever heard live. Everyone was weeping at her short lineup of songs, and for my part, her performance—like those mentioned above—reminded me why I love music.

Perfume Genius's Love. I am not a huge Perfume Genius fan, but I really enjoyed his last album, 2020's Set My Heart On Fire Immediately. I got offered a ticket to the show at Metro Music Hall, so I decided to go alone. It's a good thing, too, because I ugly cried the whole show through. I didn't know beforehand, but Perfume Genius told us between songs that this was his first show back in two years. His excitement and emotion was palpable in the room, and he gave one of the most stirring performances I've ever seen, commanding the stage with outlandish props including cloud-like gauze, and caressing his mic like a lover. I was so happy for him, more than for myself for being lucky enough to be there. Even his lightshow added to the euphoric drama, and is definitely the best I've seen in any setting.

A Night So Stacked You See Your Fav Unimpeded. One interesting new thing about live music shows in 2021 was the sheer number of them that stampeded through the city during the summer and fall, overwhelming bookers and venues to the extent that many venues found themselves taking on artists who might ordinarily play somewhere else. Big artists landed gigs at small venues and vice-versa; new venues became cool as new bookers took the reins. So for that reason, I'm assuming, Julien Baker was performing at the gargantuan room that is The Complex the same night that Cloud Nothings made a long-awaited return to the Urban Lounge. The Complex is too big for Baker, but it drew the same crowd who may have been also considering seeing the just-as-popular Cloud Nothings, meaning that when I rolled into Urban on that Tuesday night, it was criminally under-packed. And that's how I nearly threw my neck out jumping around to one of my favorite bands, and got to stand right in front of them the whole time. Sometimes this pandemic really yields some cool shit to take your mind off the bad.

That all being said, I'm incredibly grateful that I got to get back to my favorite thing this year—live music. And while the future is now once again increasingly uncertain, I now know how good it feels to come back to the music, and that alone is enough to keep my head up.

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About The Author

Erin Moore

Erin Moore

Bio:
Erin Moore is City Weekly's music editor. Email tips to: music@cityweekly.net.

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