Joshua James, Brinton Jones, and the Occidental Saloon
Both Velour and Muse decided to have free events Monday night. Velour’s was a free screening of all the Occidental Saloon videos. And Northplatte Records teamed up with Muse to provide a free show of two of Provo’s biggest acts: Joshua James and Brinton Jones (The Devil Whale). With the promise of free events, large swaths of spectators flooded to 100 Block in Provo. And I was one of them.
Before I headed downtown, I rode my bike over to The Awful Waffle (100 points to everyone that gets that reference), a new waffle and crêpe shop just south of BYU campus on 700 East. I had a crêpe with Nutella and whipped cream, and it tasted like it came straight from a Parisian vendor. And I am qualified to make that claim, having lived in Paris for a few months last year. They also have waffles made with a belgian waffle-maker and belgian recipes, but I did not try one. But that crêpe was très delicieuse.
After eating, I rode on down to 100 Block where there were more people inside Muse’s cafe than I had ever seen at one time. I guess they had all heard that Joshua James was popular and also couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go to a free event. Muse was filled to the brim with young college students (aka “bros”, and not of the Mario variety) who are not your typical show-goers. They came out to enjoy some good music though, and Muse delivered.
If Muse was full of zoobies, Velour’s audience was mostly musicians and people that regularly contribute to the local music scene. The venue hosted a night dedicated to The Occidental Saloon. It’s not a band, but a series of videos showcasing Provo’s bigger bands. Artists like Parlor Hawk, Fictionist, Isaac Russell, Imagine Dragons, Joshua James, and even the visiting John Vanderslice all play raw renditions of their songs in homes, nature, or even boating down the river. The videos are accompanied by gorgeous cinematography and editing. The great productions and wonderful songs combine to create what is uniquely a Provo aesthetic. Velour set up their screen and projector to show the high quality videos.
Last night’s event was a celebration of two events: Neon Trees‘ Occidental Saloon video for their hit single “Animal”, filmed in Velour’s green room (where I crashed down on a couch pretty hard after our last show), reached two million hits. And the brand new video featuring Provo favorites Book On Tape Worm had its first screening, with a special artistic introduction by Maddison Colvin. The video is not online yet, but I encourage you to go to The OS’s website and watch the videos already posted.
Muse’s show was a special treat too. The room was so incredibly crowded that I couldn’t even get near the front (as evidenced by the pictures I took). Brinton Jones of the Devil Whale opened up the show with just an acoustic guitar. I recently gave their new album Teeth a listen and it’s really quite good. You can stream it for free online! Joshua James was the headliner, and he had a small band with him. Despite the fact that I run this website, this was my first time seeing J² live. I was impressed by the show and his incredibly voice. (Though I’m quite certain he did not live during the Depression so his lyrical content was a bit confusing.) But there is good reason that Mr. James gets national attention and songs featured on television. Very few other acts could have filled Muse to the brim like he did yesterday, even with a free show that only had a few days’ notice.
But mostly, I had a great night of hanging out with good friends and great people. Music is perhaps my favorite thing in the world, but I don’t always go to 100 Block to see the bands. I go to see all the wonderful people there. I appreciate all the hard work that these people put into the local music scene. Musicians, artists, sandwich-makers, venue owners, and just those who regularly go to concerts to enjoy good music – you’re all wonderful and I am glad to be part of this community as both an amateur musician and even-more-amateur writer.
And I feel compelled to advertise myself a bit at the end here. This Friday, both bands I play in: Wild Apples and The Travelling Salesmen are playing at the Deathstar (you know, that scary place between Velour and Muse). What makes Friday so special is that this will be Archie Crisanto’s last show in Provo before he moves back to Portland. Archie is the frontman of The Travelling Salesmen, who won Muse’s Battle of the Bands last November. He has also been Wild Apples bassist for every one of our shows and a key member of the group, helping give it a much more unique sound than I could have ever come up with on my own. Even though there is a wonderful Rooftop Concert Series event this Friday, I encourage you all to stop by the Deathstar to see the end of an era. John-Ross Boyce & His Troubles and 90s Television are also playing, and we get to open for these wonderful bands.
And now, pictures!