Tying up the year and the decade, 2019 is ending with some great moments, stories, and experiences.
City: Salt Lake City, UT
Venue: The Complex
I had seen Miya Folick at the Loveloud festival in June of this year, and was beyond impressed. Standing solo with her guitar she stole the show on 2nd stage. She should have been on the main stage with the performance she gave us. I had met her when I was interviewing her girlfriend K.Flay and was impressed with her as a person. I pestered her management for an interview after hearing her entire catalog, hoping to get more of her. She was scheduled to play a gig in my home town in early August, which I was planning on covering, just excited to see her do a full set with a full band. Her management dogged me for weeks and I couldn’t figure out why, I could not get them to nail down a time for an interview. Then I was told that the August gig had been canceled, but they said there was a good reason for it. Then I was surprised to get the email of an interview slot, and the announcement that they had rescheduled for her to tour with Bishop Briggs. Indeed, that is a pretty AWESOME reason to postpone the gig. I have said this before, for the genre, this might as well have been The Who, and Zeppelin on the same ticket. I was going to have to wait till November, believe me, as excited as I was, this was a long torturous wait. Miya has in the mean time become one of my favorite female vocalists to crack the market in the last 5 years. So creative, so different, so, in your face doing whatever she wants. She is not riding on the coat tails of her girlfriend, Miya can stand on her own.
The opening act was a surprise, Jax Anderson, from Detroit. The modern Female Lesbian version of Iggy Pop. I’ll cover her later, just know, if Iggy Pop had a daughter, that is who I saw on stage, she was just brilliant.
After having seen Miya perform at Loveloud with just a guitar, and two songs, I thought I had a good sampling of what we would be getting live. Her catalog is so diverse, it’s wonderful, and she delivered once before. I felt I was entitled to a five star performance, and being the snob I am, I really had some extremely high expectations for this performance. Bishop Briggs aside, Miya was something I was placing so much importance on, I was wondering if maybe she couldn’t live up to what I had built up in my mind. This is one of those times where my expectations were so far off from what I actually got.
The stage went dark, and a large screen behind her had her name in beautiful calligraphy “MIYA FOLICK”, the band played some dreamy lush intro for about 4 measures, then she walked out with just her silhouette against the screen. She put her hands together as if praying, and bowed to the audience with the grace of a Geisha, only with a delicate, but metaphysical presence to her. She looked nothing like she did at Loveloud, with her head shaved almost to the skin, and a baggy t-shirt, and baggy pants, and sneakers. You never would have thought it was the same person. She took on a powerful persona this time, unlike anything I expected. She started singing “Dead Body” that was so striking and sounded just pure and intense. Caught up in the awe of her presence on stage, and hypnotic voice, I realized that the song was already over, and somehow felt I had missed it, cause I was still in the glow of her just saying “Good evening Salt Lake City”. She had begun to elevate the entire crowd into something like a focused meditation, where her voice guided us through some powerful thoughts.
She churned through a few more songs that all just blended together in sound, intensity and beauty. About the 3 rd song I felt like everyone in the venue had been taken to a center of nirvana, to the very space of the creation of the universe. If Florence + The Machine and Tangerine Dream had created a way to transport you to musical bliss, that is how we all felt by then. Miya was full of something rather divine at that moment. I am still trying to describe it, she possessed a gentle approach throwing you into a tempest of just wonderful sound. To be honest, I was so in awe of the feeling that I felt the show slipping away, as each song ended, I felt a loss, knowing that it was getting closer to the end, that really did not want to happen.
I was hoping to hear “Cost Your Love”, and was very happy with that, even more so, because it was far better live than the album version. Or maybe it was just the whole moment. The songs all blended together. I just had to sit back and enjoy it all once I was done shooting photos.
It was like my first time skydiving, that 60 seconds of free-fall were intense, frightening, beautiful, and a complete rush of too many thoughts to take in. It is the longest 60 seconds you will ever experience in your life, because you have no idea how to take it all in. Time suspends for you to fall to the ground at such a rate, when it ends, you can’t believe it took that long, and was over too soon. You will never experience that first jump again. THAT is what Miya Folick live is like. You will just have to see her perform with the band.
She said “This is the last song” and played “Thingamajig”, as a climactic end to a surreal set that I still am reflecting on as one of the more metaphysical musical experiences I have ever seen. It could have been hours long, I really did lose track of the passing of time, but then it was over too soon.
Having felt entitled to a five star performance, with such ridiculously high expectations, Miya buried them all. Expecting a five star show, the experience began at fifteen stars, and went up from there. Yeah, you want to catch her live, even if a small set, it is worth whatever you do to experience the show.
With the outspoken loud in your face LGBTQ ally Bishop Briggs, you have no doubt what you are going to get. There is no mistaking her love and support for the community, just be ready for a set completely unlike Miya.
The same lighted screen was behind her, and the band was on a platform above the screen, almost out of view. As she took the stage, she was solo on the floor. I thought odd, or ego, that it was all to focus on her with the band nowhere in sight. I shortly realized that was for their safety, (and hers). Bishop Briggs is the most animated performer I have ever seen. I can’t say she was dancing, she was doing Parkour on stage, needs her space, and puts on one hell of a performance, just watching her move is exhausting, and that she can sing while moving that fast, and keep her breath, yeah, that is impressive.
She opened with “Champion” then bantering with the audience she played “Wild Horses” and bantered some more. That was the day of her new album release, and she was making sure everyone was enjoying the party. She talked about how she loved breathing in Salt Lake City, the air is like home in Scotland I suppose. What can I say, if you don’t know Bishop Briggs, she is one to really enjoy getting into. She played “JEKYLL & HIDE”, then “White Flag” just a string of fun numbers, not really slowing down.
She pulled out a stool, and sat down, surprising all of us actually. Her guitar player came down and played an acoustic medley of My Chemical Romance songs, “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies/ Welcome The Black Parade”. Rather a nice departure from the way it was going. Then she went back at it, jumping about with no restrictions to her movement.
She tied it up with River, as we were all expecting that somewhere I the set. For someone so intense, she is always smiling, clearly she loves being on stage performing, as if she just waits anxiously for the moment to shine for the crowd, and shine she does. The Bishop has blessed us all. Making me proud of another Scot, loudly making their point. (what we are good at)
To me, this was going to be the gig of the year, and honestly, it probably would have been, but it was beyond even that. The Who and Led Zeppelin on the same bill, could ONLY be equaled by Bishop Briggs and Miya Folick. Both artists are beloved of the community, and neither should be missed. So, you know what to do when you see them coming to your city.