Music at the Theatre
The Kamas Theatre, known for its matinee and evening screenings of Hollywood film, will interrupt its regular programming to give its community a chance to see local hip hop, rock and electronic artists perform.
The upcoming performance on May 16 follows the May 2 debut of Oakley-based rock band Robin Mary’s rock opera production, "Music for the End of the World Extravaganza." The event attracted a sizable crowd to the unlikely venue for the synthesized riffs and electric rock melodies for which the band is known. More than 60 people took a seat for the 90-minute performance, a number grabbing popcorn and sodas at the concession stand.
Many in the audience that night were likely too young to see such an act in a private club for cocktails and beer without a fake I.D. while others were likely hearing the group’s hip and youthful style for the first time. But was the idea, and the impetus behind the upcoming concert next week featuring Robin Mary, Broken Silence, the Park City-born rap-meets-rock group, and Stem Cell Ghost, a two-man industrial music-performance art group, with members who are seldom seen without respirator masks.
As Vince Simas, once a student at South Summit and now representing Robin Mary and Stem Cell Ghost, explains, "Bars can be genre-specific, but all walks of life are welcome at a movie theater. We wanted to do the same thing with this concert. We wanted to expose more people to more music."
In addition, Simas says he and Clifford Sundberg, Robin Mary’s front man, wanted to refresh the experience of going to a concert. They were looking for something more theatrical.
"We thought the performance art piece should be incorporated into music more," Simas explains. "The theatre is the perfect place to do that because it immediately opens up people’s reaction of the show and they’re more likely to be on key with the acts and what they’re trying to portray."
They also thought the event might be a good experience for the younger crowd in southern Summit County, where, as kids, they felt they rarely, if ever, could find concerts of the kinds of musical genres they cared about "It would have probably been very inspirational for me to see people push the limits (in music) If I had this opportunity, I think it would have changed my life," Simas says.
Beyond Sundberg and Simas, the members of this consortium of musical performers, despite their diverse tastes in music, are old friends.
"There isn’t that much music in Summit County, but the bands that usually last over a year have been actually really talented and we’re pretty much friends with most of them," says Bryan Anderson, a member of Broken Silence. "None of us perform the same type of music, but we all ran together because we were all musicians. It’s just kind of a tight-knit little scene."
Anderson remembers deciding to form a rap group in Park City as an odd experience. "It was strange being part of a hip hop band for sure," he remembers. "We would all get together and freestyle at lunch and have these little groups. It was kind of like a fun thing who could outdo the next guy. We started to make a couple songs and we had so much fun, we thought we should just take it seriously. We released an album in 2004 and (local) critical reviews were pretty good."
Broken Silence has performed at Park City’s Star Bar, but has, for the past few years, been relocated to Salt Lake, playing gigs and working in the studio to produce new material for a second album that includes performing with a live back up band called the Mad Hatters. Anderson says the May 16 performance will be the public’s first opportunity to see the new act.
"We’ve been known for putting on a pretty good show, but we wanted to step it up," he says. "As of now, this show in Kamas is going to be our first show with our new set up, but already we can just tell the energy is going to be so much higher."
But in the past six years, and after he returned from Arizona’s Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences, Anderson and Broken Silence moved to Salt Lake, where, Anderson says, the interest in the genre has grown. "Hip hop is very much alive Salt Lake," he says, adding that the scene has grown from places like the city’s Uprok Records and more recently, the Urban Lounge.
But is Kamas ready for May 16?
"I think it’s a really good idea there’s not a better spot for it, actually," Anderson argues. "People in small towns look for something besides the obvious to do on weekend nights. If we do it right, and get places like Coalville, Wanship and all those cities involved. It might be really successful."
See hip hop, rock and electronic music at the Kamas Theatre
*Who: Three Park City, Oakley and Salt Lake City-based musical acts including Broken Silence, the hip hop group, Stem Cell Ghost, an industrial electronic group and Robin Mary, a post-punk rock band.
*Where: At the Kamas Theatre on 30 North Main Street in Kamas, Utah
*When: Friday, May 16. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Performances are slated to begin at 7 p.m.
*How much: $10 at the door.
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