As I walk the alley to Kilby Court, there’s already a queue, probably 70 or 80 people lined-up 20 minutes before the show even starts. When the doors open, the young people of Salt Lake City flood into their indie chapel. The garage-turned-concert-venue is concentrated with recent high school grads, juul pods, striped shirts, cuffed pants and Doc Martens.
Kipper Snack, Provo’s newest contribution to the Utah music scene, takes the stage. At the first stroke of the guitar the audience is instructed to rock back and forth and the earth-shattering bass gets people swaying in sync. Frontman Sean Mena contemplates each note he sings and the band brings an electric sound to the humid room. The show is a bittersweet one for the group, as it is for many, since two members are also in The Sardines. Ritt Momney and The Sardineshave played many shows together over the past year and have formed a strong bond, so it only seems fit that they would be joining the lineup for the following night of farewell festivities.
Enter The Backseat Lovers, who get the crowd cheering by the first chord. Everyone in the room knows the lyrics to ‘Kilby Girl’ and it seems like the energy might shake the venue’s thin metal roof off. Josh Harmon, the group’s charismatic lead singer and guitarist, jumps and dances around the stage, screaming each lyric and shaking his long hair. The Lovers’ music gives wings to their audience during the last verse of ‘Pictures,’ as they reach closer and closer to the ceiling with each jump. The band ultimately delivers on their promise for a show full of sweat and laughter.Good friends of Ritt Momney, The Lovers are honored to play their farewell show and sad to see them go.
The sun begins to set and brings much needed relief to the hot night. Juxtaposing the previous set, Ritt Momney subtly enters. They fade seamlessly and quietly from their soundcheck into ‘I,’ drawing the audience obediently into a reverent silence. The emotion during ‘Lew’s Lullaby’ makes me nervous for the inevitable tears that will fall as the the show progresses through the album, Her and All of My Friends, which had only been released mere hours before. After ‘Phoebe,’ frontman Jack Rutter pauses and takes the time to explain the consistent chord progression that can be heard throughout the album, a “fun fact” he states.
‘II,” a soft and wordless melody, begins and the two girls standing behind me get emotional. They keep explaining to each other that they don’t know why but they’re crying. To some this might seem like any other Friday night at Kilby Court but, to others, this show is different. Tonight is a goodbye. A love letter from a band to the city that made them. During ‘Pollution/Disclaimer’ the space overhead is crowded with phones and cameras capturing what many realize to be the last time this group will play this song together at their home venue. ‘(If) The Book Doesn’t Sell’ gathers people in who had been through something often too painful to talk about, a perfect example of Ritt Momney’s vulnerable writing. Rutter illustrates what it’s like to doubt and eventually leave the religion you were raised with, a common background for those in the crowd.
“I’ve never really had a problem being vulnerable with my lyrics,” Rutter said, “I feel like people like vulnerability. Nobody makes fun of me for it. The fans have been super cool about it. I’ve hardly even had second thoughts about writing about depression and stuff because its just become so normal to talk about stuff like that. It’s not like the movies where everyone is super mean. It’s been good.” The set closes with the last song on the album, ‘III.’ The period at the end of a beautiful and heartfelt sentence. Even though my feet hurt and I have a headache from the heat I wish the set would go on for another hour, but that’s not what’s meant to be. For a less than spontaneous encore, Rutter invites his girlfriend on stage to sing ‘Young Adult.’ He explains that she sang on the original recording of the song, and I can’t help but think that they’ve made it full circle at this point.
I am one among many that leave the show with a tear stained face.