Salt Lake City Music Scene
Lauren Wells | April 5, 2014
Utah has churned out an eclectic, talented amount of musical acts and performers throughout the years, making it a city to keep your eyes and ears on for up and coming talent. During the late 1950s, The Osmonds emerged from Salt Lake City and into the mainstream music scene, charming America with their soft, pop rock hits over the years. During the 1990s, a cappella groups like Voice Male, bluegrass bands like Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand, and harder acts like the alternative metal band Iceburn and the hard rock band Royal Bliss got their careers started in the Utah area. Violinist Jenny Oaks Baker, country pop girl group SHeDAISY, and metal band Katagory V also impacted Salt Lake City in the 1990s with their very different musical styles. The millennium brought about genre-bending acts like The Used, Panic! At the Disco, and the grindcore metal band Gaza. Also emerging from Utah during this time were performers like Meg and Dia (an indie rock group), American Idol’s pop singer David Archuletta, indie folk rock artist Mindy Gledhill, and death metal band Bird Eater. Offering up a variety of talent, Salt Lake City was also home to alternative rock bands like Neon Trees (known for their hit “Animal”), the Moth & the Flame, and Fictionist. Grammy Award winners Imagine Dragons also hailed from Utah before moving to Las Vegas, garnering much success for their hit “Radioactive.” Indie rock bands like King Niko, Parlor Hawk, and the New Electric Sound also got their start in Salt Lake City during the 2000s. If edgier bands are more your style, check out Chelsea Grin, a deathcore band, and Get Scared, an alternative hardcore rock band. On the complete opposite end of the genre spectrum is the classical/pop group The Piano Guys.
Abravanel Hall, one of Salt Lake County Center for the Arts’ venues, overlooks downtown Salt Lake City and is home to the Utah Symphony. Various performers such as Jethro Tull, Lenny Kravitz, George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, Jane Goodall, and Michael Pallon have all taken the stage for their respective causes. The 2,768-capacity venue offers orchestra seating as well as three tiers of additional seating. For a wide variety of concerts, lectures, and films, check out Abravanel Hall!
Another Salt Lake County Center for the Arts venue, the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre is located in downtown Salt Lake City. Home to Ballet West, Broadway Across America – Utah, and the Utah Opera, the theatre is an official historic landmark hosting Broadway productions, concerts, and community events. Originally opened in 1913 as the Orpheum Theater, the Capitol Theatre was a vaudeville house turned movie theatre before renovations in 1975 transformed the building into a performing arts space.
A 1,200-capacity venue, The Depot hosts acts like Christina Perri, G. Love & Special Sauce, Chuck Ragan and The White Buffalo, Anthony Jeselnik, Cat Power, Animal Collective, CHVRCHES, Rodriguez, and Mastodon, among others. With great acoustics and an impressive roster of artists coming through, The Depot is a great place to catch a casual show.
The Complex houses four venues: Rockwell, The Grand, Vertigo, and The Vibe. The 16,500 square foot Rockwell, the largest of the four venues, hosts concerts, dances, and sporting events. Equipped with a beer garden and a 2,500-capacity, the Rockwell hosts acts like The Glitch Mob, Switchfoot, Childish Gambino, Neon Trees, and Young the Giant. The Grand is the second largest venue at the Complex, measuring in at 4,500 square feet with a capacity of 850 people. Vertigo, a 21+ venue, is a 425-capacity space with a full bar, mezzanine, and VIP seating. Lastly, The Vibe is a 200-capacity, 21+ venue with a full bar, food and drink specials, VIP seating, a small stage area, and eight TVs. For plenty of entertainment options, the Complex has you covered.
Having hosted artists like Built to Spill, Aesop Rock, Xavier Rudd, The Heartless Bastards, Camera Obscura, STRFKR, Juicy J, Daughter, Deer Tick, Dead Prez, Flying Lotus, Dr. Dog, Blind Pilot, and Gramatik, The Urban Lounge offers up an impressive events list. The venue encourages dancing, bringing all your friends, and getting loud.
Known for hosting big names like Katy Perry, The Eagles, and Lady Gaga, the Energy Solutions Arena is home to the NBA’s Utah Jazz. The 20,000-capacity indoor arena opened in 1991 and hosts major sporting events and concerts throughout the year.
In The Venue is a live music concert venue that features DJs and bands from local and regional beginnings. Previous performers have included Deftones, Ingrid Michaelson, The Shins, Imogen Heap, Reel Big Fish, Sara Bareilles, My Chemical Romances, MGMT, Collective Soul, fun., Garbage, and Smashing Pumpkins. With an open patio and a full bar, In the Venue is an all ages event space.
Acts like Blue October, Break of Reality, Chiodos, Blood on the Dance Floor, and VNV Nation flock to play the Murray Theater. The all ages venue is a great place to catch an up and coming performer rolling through town before they make it big.
A part of the University of Utah, Kingsbury Hall is the university’s performing arts center. Opened in 1930, the venue has a capacity of 1,992 and has seen performances by Bill Cosby, Robert Frost, David Copperfield, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, Morrissey, and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.
The Sandy Amphitheater hosts a summer lineup that includes Rhonda Vincent, Rockapella, Sail Rock, Chris Isaak, Charley Jenkins, Huey Lewis and the News, and the International Folk Festival. A 2,750-capacity outdoor amphitheater, the venue encourages picnics and bringing the whole family to a show on the lawn.
The USANA Health Sciences Amphitheatre hosts performances by Tim McGraw, Barenaked Ladies, Kenney Chesney, Lionel Richie, Daughtry, KISS, Def Leppard, OneRepublic, The Script, Motley Crue, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Dave Matthews Band, and Luke Bryan, among others. The amphitheatre also hosts the Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival (with a lineup that includes Coheed and Cambria, Jane’s Addiction, and Walking Papers) and the Americanarama Festival of Music (featuring Bob Dylan and My Morning Jacket as headliners!), making it a popular Utah destination.
Home to the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies, the Maverik Center opened in 1997. A 12,600-capacity event space, the Maverik hosts sporting events and concerts. The venue has hosted acts like Elton John, Neil Diamond, Tori Amos, Dave Matthews Band, Mannheim Steamroller, The Jonas Brothers, Linkin Park, and Gwen Stefani. In addition to concerts and sporting events, the space also hosts private events such as banquets, meetings, and conferences.
Red Butte Garden hosts summer concerts featuring acts like Vampire Weekend, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Jackson Browne, Tony Bennett, She & Him, Old Crow Medicine Show, Pink Martini, and John Butler Trio, among many others. A part of the University of Utah, the garden is a non-profit organization that offers up 100 acres of natural gardens, walking paths, and hiking trails. The Red Butte Garden is the largest botanical garden in the Intermountain West. Their outdoor concert series is the perfect evening event after a day of exploring the lush landscape.
The Deer Valley Music Festival features acts like Kenny Rogers, The Music of U2, Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, 1812 Overture, The Texas Tenors, and many more. Held at Deer Valley Resort every July, the festival is the summer home to the Utah Symphony and the Utah Opera. Located in Park City, the festival is a beautiful place to catch a variety of classical and mainstream acts. The Twilight Concert Series is held on Thursday nights during July and August. Held in Pioneer Park, the series hosts acts like the Flaming Lips, The National, Bell & Sebastian, Grizzly Bear, Erykah Badu, Ludacris, Kid Cudi, MGMT, and Empire of the Sun. Both held at the Utah State Fair Park, the Flashback Music Festival and Warped Tour bring big names to the area. Flashback features bands like Foghat, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Three Dog Night, KC & The Sunshine Band, and Kenny Loggins. Warped Tour has an edgier lineup that features bands like Bowling for Soup, Bayside, Cute Is What We Aim For, Dangerkids, I the Mighty, Ghost Town, Less Than Jake, Mayday Parade, Of Mice and Men, and K.Flay. A large outdoor event, the Utah Arts Festival features culinary artists, dancers, filmmakers, visual artists, and performers over three days in June. For an art-overdose, check out the festival’s artist marketplace and its performance stages! A classical music event, the Park City Chamber Music Festival hosts the year-round Beethoven Festival Park City as well as the Park City Film Music Festival (the latter celebrates the impact of music in film). Launched in the 1980s, these festivals support classical music throughout the year. All held at the Gallivan Center, the Mix 107.9 Summer Blast Off, the Rock N Ribs Festival, Summer Jam, Big A** Show, and the SLC Jazz Festival keep Utah natives happy and entertained. The Salt Lake City International Jazz Festival features music from David Murray’s Infinity Quartet, Macy Gray, the Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra, The Ambassadors, and Vincent Falcone, among others.