On July 1, Bountiful indie rock band Squid Picnic headlined Kilby Court’s first full-capacity show since the pandemic first hit in March 2020.
Many venues in Salt Lake City are bringing back full-capacity shows this summer, with the belief that all who want to be vaccinated in Utah have been able to do so by now. At Sartain and Saunders venues like Kilby Court, masks are optional, and there’s no proof of vaccination requirement.
Kimball Mumford, a recent Woods Cross High School graduate, enjoyed the concert.
“Hearing lots of people singing along was such a good vibe. The energy and hype of the crowd was so intense,” he said.
All Bountiful High seniors next year, the four members of Squid Picnic officially formed as a band last June, even though half of them didn’t have any prior musical experience. Since they started making music together several months into the pandemic, the July 1 concert was their first official full-capacity show, which they were able to sell out.
“You guys are the best crowd we’ve ever had,” Brandon Smith, the exuberant lead singer, exclaimed in between songs — which felt genuine, given this concert was objectively their biggest show as a band.
Squid Picnic describes themself on Spotify as the “self-proclaimed second-largest indie/folk/funk/rock/punk band (with a phaser pedal) in [the] eastern Davis district area.” Although their first three released tracks are musically fairly similar to many young indie rock bands around, their tangible enthusiasm and passion make them stand out.
The band has managed to grow quickly, notably winning the Utah PTA Battle of the Bands competition this year.
Smith expressed excitement over the band’s release of their debut album this year, noting he’s hoping it comes out in the fall.
Drummer Spencer Pelaez, or as his friends call him, “Spoon,” felt like the band was finding their sound with their first few songs, but the music on the upcoming album is different and better than anything they’ve released so far.
From special musical guests to enthusiastic guitar solos and crowd, the show truly felt like the first full-capacity concert since the pandemic — as if all the time away caused the crowd to overflow with a desire to dance with others and simply have a good time more than ever before.
Kilby Court, the longest-running all-ages venue in Salt Lake, has survived the pandemic by continuing to hold safe concert cruises and put on shows where social distancing and masks were required. Squid Picnic played a couple of those shows earlier this year.
Smith noted that Kilby Court is central to a Salt Lake music scene that he believes is growing quickly.
“When you think of the music scene in Salt Lake City, most people think of Kilby, and if you don’t, then that’s sad,” he said. “Kilby is a super special venue because of the intimacy there. It’s a smaller space, but with so many people in there it comes to life with energy.”
With a maximum capacity of 200, the venue as big as a three-car garage has held concerts for popular touring artists and Salt Lake’s best local bands alike.
Smith continued to praise Salt Lake’s music scene.
“I think [Salt Lake’s music scene] is underrated because it’s one of the biggest and best music scenes in America right now,” he said, noting that some of his favorite local bands are The Backseat Lovers, Ritt Momney, and Blue Rainboots.
Smith admitted that there’s probably several other cities like Portland and Austin that have bigger music scenes, but perhaps that initial confidence and enthusiasm is exactly what Salt Lake’s biggest bands need to possess to be considered one of the best music cities. And Squid Picnic is leading that charge.
Almost 16 months ago, the pandemic tore away the beautiful experience of attending a full-capacity concert, but the wait is finally over in Salt Lake. And just like with many aspects of life, the pandemic has forced us to appreciate live shows more than ever before.
Visit Kilby Court’s website to see all 70 full-capacity shows they’ve already announced in 2021.
Follow The Globe on Instagram to learn about our staffers’ pre- and post-pandemic concert habits and plans.