Photo: Jeremy Hinks
Voices In My Head Tour
I have covered K.Flay previously as she was one of the headliners at the 2019 Loveloud festival. A very talented, loud, noisy rocking queer kid making her dent in music, she plowed through a set that day with her hybrid fun Rock-Hip/Hop. I loved every minute of her performance that day and found her to be incredibly charming to talk to. SO, when I saw she was making her return to Salt Lake, I jumped on the opportunity to see her again, if not just for the great show, I loved the new music she had recently released, the album “High Enough”, and to be going to concerts again… (regularly scheduled ones too).
The show had been sold out for months, and we just waited for the day to get here. I drove down in a blizzard, a literal blizzard, and because the show was sold out, and across the street from another venue, I had to park several blocks away and walk in the slush. Soaked and cold, I walked to the venue gate and the bouncer didn’t even see my camera bag, he just said “Hey Jeremy, are you here to shoot tonight?”. It’s soooooo good to be back.
I walked into the venue as they had moved all the punters into one of the ballrooms to wait inside, and everyone was just giddy. I walked into the main hall and waited with the VIPs, K.Flay and the band walked in and plugged in for the soundcheck, she said “Hey everyone, we just got here and had to leave everything behind in Wyoming, we just landed a few minutes ago. We are going to do a 5-minute soundcheck…. With Borrowed instruments.” So they played for a few minutes and had nothing else they could do. Then they left, everyone was in a state of bewilderment asking ourselves “What were we going to get?”.
Fast forward through two amazing bands, one “Corook” was reminiscent of, believe it or not, Frank Zappa, and had us all cheering and bantering, as she had written a song on the flight to SLC about one of the Jonas Brothers, that no one was even ready for. I am now her biggest new fan.
Then, out comes “Kidsistr” if the Runaways were reprinted into a 3 piece, you would love these ladies. Check them out too.
K.Flay emerged with BRIGHT BLUE HAIR, (mixed well with the lighting actually) walked onto the stage and said “Ok everyone, we are here with NOTHING. We left everything on the tour bus somewhere in Wyoming on the way from Denver, and we had to re-imagine this entire setlist. We would like to thank Kidsistr for letting us borrow their bass, we don’t have anything else really to work with, so you are all going to get a once in a lifetime performance”.
So, what are you going to expect from an artist telling you that at the beginning of the set? Well, let me tell you.. She just tore into it, the band on the same drum-kit the two previous bands had played on, one borrowed bass, one electric guitar, one acoustic guitar, no effects processors, no pedals, nothing but directly plugged into an amp, then into the house sound system. This whole performance was a plane going down in flames kind of disaster.
She kicked off with a slight monolog, how at age 19 learning about music and the music in her head, and how it drowned out the voices and ROCKED the house. She was singing her heart out, dancing like always, but on an almost empty stage, the band cranked it out behind her, on an acoustic, guitar, basically an “MTV UNPLUGGED” type show, only better.
Her songs sounded like you would expect them to be if stripped down to the basics, and every note was crisp, unscripted, and wonderful, she sounded great, and at the same time was being drowned out by the singing and cheers from the audience. Most artists would be frustrated if they couldn’t even hear themselves over the crowd, K.Flay however, was feeding off of this and was giving it right back to us. I have not seen anything like this since Patti Smith, the better she played, the louder the punters got, and that pushed her to give us everything.
She sat down on the edge of the stage, and told a story/singing a song, she explained about being 8 years old, and doing all of her homework perfectly, even though she didn’t know if anyone was actually going to look at her math problems. As if it was therapy to tell all of us about her anxiety as a kid, she delivered with such beautiful intensity, she is that calm before the storm kind of person. She became that young kid for a moment, making herself vulnerable enough to let everyone in. She connected with her audience just a few feet away. Then she stood back up on stage and went back into this manic performance of stripped-down rock.
After a few songs of flying by the seat of her pants, on total adrenaline, she sang better than anyone could imagine. I honestly was so impressed with her performance, and how she sounded, being exponentially better than she had been last time I saw her play, and sounding better than the album.
After she played “Bad Vibes” she turned around, picked up the bass, played a few notes then said.. “Wait, why the fuck am I playing bass, here” handed it back to her bassist, and grabbed a guitar, and they gave us “TGIF”.
She talked about the world being run by complete lunatics and invited everyone to put their middle fingers up, I guess some sort of solidarity, at this point we were all of one mind, complete beautiful chaos, when she played “My Name Isn’t Katherine” off the new album, sounding nothing like we were expecting, just raw power.
Next, they were trying to tune for a song, and she said “Wait, can we even do it like this? Well, Why the fuck not? Let’s do it then”. Yeah, it was wonderful, all of it was.
They played an intimate tiny “bar” like performance to a packed ballroom, to everyone even to her surprise she delivered something every single punter was impressed with.
K.Flay had EVERYTHING go wrong and had nothing to fall back on, all production was tossed out the window, and she only had herself, and a few instruments. It is in moments like this that you get to see what someone is really made of. All of the stress and pressure she was under, squeezed the absolute best out of her. She had sold out this show and was not going to let the punters down.
No one attending that show could have a single complaint, it was so powerful everyone was in AWE by the end. K.Flay herself was impressed at how incredible it was, though, I am sure she wouldn’t what to be in that situation again, she gave her all, and stories like this are what rock and roll are all about. Thank you K.Flay, rest up, you earned it, along with all the glory from this one.