SEPTEMBER 18, 2003
A Revamped Redfest
A Tour of this Year's Changes and Lineup
By Autumn Thatcher and Jordan Scrivner
his year’s Redfest is going to “rock your socks!” So says Alice Anderson, chairwoman of festivals for the Associated Students of the University of Utah Presenter’s Office. This mentality maintained by ASUU is precisely what provides excitement and anticipation for U students.

The Presenter’s Office has made changes in this year’s Redfest. The principal difference is that this year students will not have to pay for any events, except the Pennywise concert. ASUU members know that in the past, putting prices on admission has caused controversy among students and contributed to a smaller percentage of students who actually attended the festival.

Anderson and fellow ASUU members hope that this year’s Redfest (no affiliation with RED Magazine) will truly establish a name for itself. Vendors and organizations from all over the Salt Lake City area will be hosting tables to promote themselves. Some of the more interesting vendors include a psychic and a table selling Tibetan food. Local bands will grace students with appearances throughout the day and into the night, while visiting touring bands will add a little out-of-the-area flavor. The organizers designed this year’s Redfest to accommodate the various tastes of a diverse student body.

ASUU has taken the time to really organize an event that will appeal to both students and local residents who don’t attend the U. The festival began on Wednesday, Sept. 17, and will run through Saturday. Saturday promises to provide entertainment for even the younger generations, as it is called “Family Day,” but ironically ends with a performance by punk band Pennywise.

The various bands performing at Redfest are what promise to arouse the interest of all who attend. To meet nearly all musical interests, ASUU has arranged a well-rounded lineup of performances in the effort to rock the U’s socks off.

The ASUU established the festival 25 years ago to both celebrate the end of school and familiarize the university students with both each other and the various organizations that exist within the confines of the U. Known until 2001 as Mayfest, the party consisted of days of fun that would last through the weekend. Though Mayfest earned itself recognition at the university, it was oddly timed for its purpose. When the university changed to a semester-based institution, members of ASUU realized that the festival no longer made sense at the end of the year. This prompted the ASUU board members to transition Mayfest into Redfest and organized the function so that it took place at the beginning of the school year rather than the end.

Anderson claims that the ASUU Presenter’s Office, operated by the student government, makes continuous efforts throughout the year to bring the students together. Out of the 75 to 80 ASUU-organized events throughout the school year, Redfest is “the biggest event of the year.” Says Anderson, “It is a good way for people here to get involved and take a break from classes.”

The Out-of-State Lineup


The Solution
[this segment by Jamie Gadette]

  Amad-Jamal, of The Solution, along with Salt Lake City-based DJ Brisk, will bring underground hip hop to Redfest.

Amad-Jamal didn’t need to leave the safe, supporting network of friends and fellow artists from the Los Angeles underground hip-hop scene, yet he’s still making efforts to stretch his boundaries. “I’m more well-known overseas—and in New York and L.A.,” Jamal says. Traversing new ground is an understandable venture, but Salt Lake City seems an odd place to begin the rapper’s latest journey.

Jamal’s connection to the city came courtesy of DJ Brisk, a local musician who has appeared at such venues as Suede and Harry O’s. The two artists met during last year’s Sundance Film Festival and immediately hit it off. Their collaboration resulted in a single, which led to a full-length album and the formation of The Solution. Tonight the group will perform in place of Clipse, which canceled after the airlines canceled flights due to Hurricane Isabel. The Solution’s appearance will feature performances by fellow Netweight Records artists Concise Kilgore, Brisk One, Ms. Carter and Ramases—all of whom currently reside in Salt Lake City. [Reported by Jamie Gadette]

The rap duo of brothers Malice (Gene Thornton) and Pusha T (Terrence Thornton) will be the first touring band to perform. Scheduled to appear at 8:00 p.m., the Virginia natives are on the road promoting their debut album, Lord Willin’, which was released in January. The pair has been working with friends, fellow hip-hop group and production team The Neptunes for nearly 10 years now. After overcoming a disagreeable experience with Elektra Records, the duo is excited to make a name for itself with Arista Records. The pair promises to be a dynamic force within the hip-hop world and guarantees that despite the move from New York to Virginia, the brothers are still educated in street life and able to communicate this through their music.

  Elliott Smith will offer contemplative songwriting.

Friday: Elliott Smith
Though Elliot Smith is stingy in his willingness to give an interview, he is sure to be a crowd pleaser with his 8:15 p.m. performance. Smith has been producing music on his own since he split from former band Heatmiser and released his debut album, Roman Candle, in 1994.

Smith is perhaps most easily recognized from his Best Original Song Oscar nomination in 1997, for “Miss Misery” from “Good Will Hunting.” The artist’s most recent album, Figure 8, which came out in July 2002, earned rave reviews from many critics. Smith’s performance will provide students with a pleasurable mix of folk and indie rock.

Friday: Pedro the Lion

The RED Interview

  Pedro the Lion plays indie-rock, which past RED reviews have shown people who look like Val Kilmer enjoy.

For quite some time, Pedro the Lion has consisted solely of one person—David Bazan. The Seattle native has been producing his own music since splitting from former bandmates who were not cut out for life on the road. Dedicating his time to promoting his music, Bazan has considered his touring career a “revolving door,” constantly inviting new musicians in to play as others exit the stage.

Bazan is scheduled to open for Elliott Smith at 7:15 p.m. Bazan says that his performance at the U will include a longtime friend who recently moved to Seattle to become the second member of Pedro the Lion.

Raised on Christian music in a rigid home, Bazan discovered, in his early teens, musicians such as The Beatles, The Cure and Fugazi. These musical inspirations led Bazan to create his music, which he describes as “indie rock.” Dedicating this winter to building his own studio, Bazan plans on recording his fourth CD, which will be released sometime next spring, when Pedro the Lion is firmly intact with two members and a dedication to touring and establishing a fan base.

Saturday: Pennywise

  Pennywise will perform at the only ticketed concert at this year's Redfest.

The boys are back and ready to rock the festival with their smart, politically powerful lyrics. Set to perform at 8 p.m. on Saturday night, the members of Pennywise will appear at the U for their second performance since the release of their current album, From the Ashes, which came out on Sept. 9.

The guys from Pennywise share their views in a hard-core passion with fans who have loved them from the beginning. Though quite successful, the band members maintain a close relationship with their fans. In doing so, ticket prices stay low ($10 for U students, $25 for everyone else). So get out there and rock!

Saturday: Flashlight Brown
Most recently seen touring with the All-American Rejects, Canadian quartet Flashlight Brown is a group of self-described uncool guys who are sure to be the next big thing in pop-punk music. The group released its debut album, My Degeneration., in April of this year. Tracks like “Ready to Rock” are more about the game “Dungeons and Dragons” than the rebel coolness that surrounds pop-punk.

The album examines the joys of possessing a low self-esteem throughout high school. Though the members of the band may not hold themselves too high, they are talented enough to secure the interest of Green Day’s producer, Rob Cavallo, who gave the boys their start. Flashlight Brown will provide a “cool” show for Utah residents in the style that only former “Dungeons and Dragons” players could, opening for Pennywise at 6:15 p.m.

An Introspective Into Local Bands Playing Redfest

Are you ready to rock? No, seriously, are you ready to rock? No, I’m serious, I really need to know. Why? Well, in case you haven’t heard (’cause you’re probably too busy book-learnin’ to care,), the annual song and dance designed to get people to actually care about the damn university continues to host a ton of local bands. “I’ve played Redfest before. It’s a lot of fun to be outside, playing in front of 10 people with blank faces,” says Oliver Lewis, guitarist and vocalist of Blue Hour, without a hint of bitterness. Here are a few hand-picked highlights.


Malfeasa and the Manumitions
Taking their name from God knows where, the members of Malfeasa and the Manumitions (“Malfeasa” meaning evil-doer and “Manumitions” meaning “our quest for dominance”…I love these guys already) will be playing what will be only their second or third show ever this week at Redfest. Drummer Flora Bernard and guitarist/vocalist Tara Shupe are fun girls to hang out and drink with on a Friday night. What kind of music does Malfeasa and the Manumitions play? “Oh, I don’t how you would describe…” Shupe begins, but Bernard interrupts her with, “Rock and motherfucking roll, my friend!” The band has only been around since “just before the war,” Bernard says.

“We actually met through a mutual friend during a war protest,” said Shupe. “I was going through a depression and I heard Flora played drums. I suggested we play together one day, but at the time, it seemed like one of those things where you never actually expect it to ever happen.”

Although playing hooky isn’t something that Malfeasa and the Manumitions necessarily endorse, Bernard contends that ditching class and seeing Malfeasa might not be such a bad idea. “You’ll learn so much more! It’ll be great.” Be sure to look out for these up-and-comers this week.

Rezolution is the Summers brothers—lead singer Cole and Josh on bass—and pal Chris Swimley on drums. Influenced by Stone Temple Pilots and the Rolling Stones, Rezolution brings its alterna-rock to the U on Thursday.

“We played Rock the Vote with Everclear last year,” Cole Summers says. He also says that seeing Rezolution is a “no-brainer.” “We’re high-energy, really tight and we’re not just local anymore. We just finished a five-state tour last February and we’re going to L.A. to record a new album this October.” (The band finished its eponymous first album last April.)

The band played Kilby Court last Saturday, and with this mysterious new Hollywood album, Rezolution is certainly on the verge of something. Redfest is just a stepping stone for these friendly and photogenic gents.

Starmy, a band that once came this close to going on tour with The Strokes, may be the first band of any merit to break out of Utah. “We played Redfest last year, so I’m looking forward to it,” frontman Mike Sartain says. “We put on a good live show, and big things are happening [to the band.] We’re touring in early October all over the place, and our new album comes out in two months. I’m looking forward to seeing Redd Tape and Elliot Smith play. I hope everybody comes to the show.” Be sure to check out Starmy on the acoustic stage this Thursday afternoon.

The Red Bennies
The Red Bennies will be playing Redfest, and RED magazine got a chance to have a monochromatic interview via e-mail (The Bennies are just finishing up a tour of the West Coast) with David Payne, lead singer, about his thoughts on playing at ASUU’s event of the century. “I went to [the U] for a semester,” said Payne “and I enjoyed seeing bands on the way to class.” The Bennies are always hard at work touring and recording. “The usual stuff at the usual pace…TURBO!!!”

The Red Bennies will be hawking merchandise, including T-shirts and albums. Payne also recommends you check out Ezeetiger from San Francisco. He plays immediately after The Red Bennies. “He is our friend and plays great music,” said Payne.

Redd Tape's Scott Fetzer may appear sweet and unassuming, but his stage act is ferocious!



Redd Tape / Will Sartain
Still unconvinced that Redfest doesn’t boast the best of the best in terms of local music? Look no further than Redd Tape. The band’s debut album, Born in a Cardboard Box, rates quite high on my own personal rock-o-meter. Scott Fetzer, Redd Tape’s lead guitarist, is “definitely looking forward” to the annual outdoor festival. “You’ll dance…and have a good time [at our show.]” Lead singer Will Sartain agrees. “I’m pretty stoked,” the bespectacled rocker from behind the Union help desk says. “I’m excited.”

Redd Tape is currently still looking for a space to practice and to work on any future recordings, but Sartain’s untitled solo album comes out in October. If you thought Born in a Cardboard Box was a bit too intense, this might be the album to look forward to.


Will Sartain
Will Sartain is doubly excited to be at Redfest. Not only is Redd Tape set to entertain the masses, but Sartain will be going solo this week, performing his “a bit more low-key than Redd Tape” solo music with fellow Redd Tapist Sean McCarthy on keyboard and Blue Hour’s Charlie Lewis on drums. Sartain suggests that you “skip any class you have and come see all the awesome bands.”


Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band
The Shupes (Ryan’s sister Tara is in Malfeasa and the Manumitions. In case you’re keeping score at home, that’s the Lewises, the Summerses, the Sartains and the Shupes, all playing Redfest this week) are probably the most rarin’ to go of all the siblings playing Redfest. When Ryan Shupe tells you he’s excited to play Redfest this week, and especially excited to be the last band playing Wednesday night, you can feel his enthusiasm, even over a dying cell phone.

Shupe, guitarist and mandolinist for the band, plays folk and bluegrass music, has fun trying to fit his group into its own little niche. “I think we’re like the Dixie Chicks meets Dave Matthews. Like, we’re not a jam band like the String Cheese Incident, but we’re not as concise as, say, matchbox twenty.” The Rubber Band’s flavor of music makes Redfest an ideal place for them to play. “I enjoy these outdoor music festivals…and you won’t see a band like us [at Redfest.]” Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band just finished its fifth album, Hey Hey Hey, which will be sold at the festivities.

Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band is another Wednesday band. But you can also see them play this Friday at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8.

Blue Hour

  Blue Hour loves playing to "blank faces" at Redfest.

A band that may or may not have been named after a porno flick, Blue Hour got the invitation to play Redfest shortly after finishing Exit Seating, its critically acclaimed split EP with Alchemy.

Oliver Lewis’ love of playing at Redfest seems to be as genuine as the kind of music that Blue Hour plays. Blue Hour’s sonic-melodic experimental sound makes them a truly unique band at Redfest this year. They may very well be the most experimental band slated to appear. “That’s actually kind of sad if we’re the most experimental,” said Lewis, “but I guess we can look forward to educating the people.”

After the lesson, Blue Hour has big plans for the future. “We’re going to make a new batch of recordings,” Greg Migley says. Lewis confirms this: “We just bought a bunch of new recording equipment, and we’re going to make a full-length album after Redfest.”

Blue Hour will play Wednesday, so in case you’ve missed them already, be sure to keep your eye out for the next time they rock out. And keep your other eye out for any upcoming Blue Hour recordings.

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