2024 Twilight Concert Series presents

Alex G

Cannibal Queen
Wednesday, August 21 2024
6:00 PM MDT
239 S Main Street
SLC UT, 84111
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    All Ages
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The Salt Lake City Arts Council presents the 2024 Twilight Concert Series

God Save the Animals opens with a sort of credo: "After all," sings Alex Giannascoli, the 29year-old, Philadelphia-based musician best known as Alex G. "People come and people go away / Yeah, but God with me he stayed." The first two words (which also comprise the song's title) suggest the inevitability of change and the artist's passive, if conflicted, relationship to it. Similar sentiments have appeared across Giannascoli's oeuvre, but here, on his fourth full-length for Domino and ninth overall, he seems drawn to a particular outlet for feelings of helplessness: "God" figures in the LP's title, its first song, and multiple of its thirteen tracks thereafter, not as a concrete religious entity but as a sign for a generalized sense of faith (in something, anything) that fortifies Giannascoli, or the characters he voices, amid the songs' often fraught situations.

The people in Giannascoli's songs place faith elsewhere as well, namely in those around them. "You can believe in me," sings the narrator of "Cross the Sea," his voice pitched-down, husky. Characteristic in not just its lyrical stance but also its layered production, "Cross the Sea" was the first song Giannascoli wrote for God Save the Animals, starting it in late 2019, after the first tour for his prior album, House of Sugar. The track builds from a quiet pairing of acoustic guitar and autotuned vocals, and subtly introduces new elements — the narrator's intonation, a complex drum beat, new voices weaving in and out — before dissolving into a haze of synthesizer and piano. Giannascoli credits his approach, in part, to the internalized influence of pop radio, the tendency of current hit songs to cloak the artist's voice in a range of modifications and levels of fidelity.

He wonders, too, if radio-listening habits encouraged him to labor carefully over the sound of God Save the Animals, seeking straightforwardly high-end mixes. As with records since his adolescence, Giannascoli wrote and demoed these songs by himself, at home; but, for the sake of both new tones and "a routine that was outside of my apartment" during the pandemic, he began visiting multiple studios in greater Philadelphia. God Save the Animals consequently features the work of some half-dozen engineers whom Giannascoli asked to help him produce the "best" recording quality, whatever that meant. The result is an album more dynamic than ever in its sonic palette, its thoroughgoing complexity, where tracks like the eerie and unpredictable rock song "Ain't It Easy" follow logically from "No Bitterness," which itself transitions midway from a skittering but contemplative ballad to something like hyperpop.

Beyond the ambient inspiration of pop, Giannascoli has been drawn in recent years to musicians like Gillian Welch and writers like Joy Williams, artists who balance the public and hermetic, the oblique and the intimate, and who present faith more as a shared social language than religious doctrine. Giannascoli achieves such balance in both text and sound, deploying quotation and varied vocal textures that present the given scenarios as immediate and distant at the same time. The songs "feel confessional to me," he says, but "they're not necessarily all true. I convince myself of things." Filtering his experiences through fact and fiction, and through narrators with varying degrees of reliability, Giannascoli also opened up the songs through a more practical method: collaboration. God Save the Animals features several individual contributions from his bandmates (guitarist Samuel Acchione, drummer Tom Kelly, and bassist John Heywood) or frequent collaborator Molly Germer on strings and/or vocals, whose presences loosen up songs like "Mission" and "Early Morning Waiting."

"Blessing" showcases the full band playing together live, a tactic Giannascoli last employed on House of Sugar's "SugarHouse." "Blessing" picks up on the synthesized noise that concludes its predecessor, "Cross the Sea," but soon gives way to a muscular drumbeat. What follows is a study in contrasts: The lyrics trade in flashes of hope ("Every day / Is a blessing") and vague but tense images ("If I live / Like the fishes / I will rise / From the flood"); the music remains sedate but hints at heavy rock bombast; and, while the vocals mostly proceed in whispered call-andresponse, an occasional firm grunting noise cuts through the mix. The whispers — featured across God Save the Animals — were inspired by listening back to quiet, late-night voice memos, while the tone and composition, here, draw obliquely from rock staples of Giannascoli's youth, such as Audioslave's "Like a Stone." An indirect but nostalgic invocation, the link suits

Giannascoli's larger songwriting project. He has long mined both his own and a shared past, that is, even if he doesn't quite know why he does it. "It's almost like I'm replaying situations that felt impactful to me," he offers, "and like I'm rewriting them a million different ways."

One might say, then, that God Save the Animals presents its narrators as "Naked in my innocence / Tangled in my innocence," to repurpose the opening lines "S.D.O.S." They dwell on the past, revisiting its agonies and ecstasies, but also look to the future ("we should have a baby," someone says in "Miracles"). They feel resignation and guilt ("Forgive"); they act impulsively and say things they might not mean or understand ("Immunity"). Structurally organic and sonically meticulous, the music here heightens the drama of their stories in some cases and their playfulness in others. The album cover, painted, as always, by Giannascoli's sister, Rachel, likewise both estranges and entices in its depiction of a species of titular animal. To that end, someone asked Giannascoli if the breezy rock tune "Runner" was about a dog: "My runner, my man." Maybe it is. Or, maybe it's something else. It remains unclear who — or what — gets up to the "bad things" that the song invokes, or what constitutes "bad things" in general. It's a common theme for Giannascoli, the bad and the good, the right and the wrong, but he and his characters seem provocatively, reasonably unsure sometimes of which is which. God save the animals, at least.

The Salt Lake City Arts Council presents the 2024 Twilight Concert Series

2024 Twilight Concert Series Season Ticket Packages.

June 21st: Laufey with Grace Enger and Anna Beck at The Gallivan Center.

June 27th: Thee Sacred Souls with The Mañanas and Jazzy Olivo at The Gallivan Center.

July 19th: Watchhouse with Branson Anderson at The Gallivan Center.

August 7th: JUNGLE with BALTHVS and The Plastic Cherries at The Gallivan Center.

August 16th: The Marias with Automatic and Homephone at Library Square.

August 21st: Alex G with julie and Cannibal Queen at The Gallivan Center.

Gates & Food Vendors Open at 6:00pm for all events at The Gallivan Center. Gates & Food Vendors Open at 5:00pm for Aug 16th at Library Square.

In its 37th year, the Twilight Concert Series has presented a wide range of nationally recognized and upcoming recording artists paired with local musicians and performers. The highly anticipated summer series continues to be dedicated to connecting audiences through live music by presenting musically diverse artists that represent strong artistic values and diverse social principles. This vibrant and beloved program is presented by the Salt Lake City Arts Council in partnership with S&S Presents.

Thanks to our partner Utah Transit Authority, your ticket to the 2024 Salt Lake Twilight Concert Series also includes free UTA Fare. Ride UTA trains or local buses with your Salt Lake Twilight concert ticket and enjoy free fare all day on the day of the event (Paratransit, Ski, and PC-SLC Connect Service not included). Simply show your concert ticket to the bus operator or UTA fare enforcement personnel when you’re asked for proof of payment.

All events are held rain or shine. Artists subject to change. More info at twightconcertseries.com

The 2024 Twilight Concert Series is made possible by our generous partners: The Salt Lake City Arts Council, Salt Lake City Corporation, Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development, The Gallivan Center, Coors Light, Wasatch Brewery, Squatters Craft Beer, Blue Moon Brewing Co, Integrated Employer Solutions, ABODE Realty, Swire Coca-Cola, The Shop, Salt Lake County ZAP, National Endowment for the Arts, Utah Division of Arts & Museums, Downtown Alliance, The Blocks, The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, Visit Salt Lake, Five Wives Vodka, Madam Pattirini Gin, Utah Transit Authority, Rocky Mountain Power, XMission, Utah Paperbox, Look Look Tattoo, GreenBike, KRCL 90.9FM, KUAA, All City Event Rentals, Third Sun Productions, SLUG Magazine & Craft Lake City, 24tix, and S&S Presents.

Check out the official Twilight Concert Series 2024 Spotify Playlist here!

To provide a safe and enjoyable environment for all, please keep the following concert rules in mind. Check twilightconcertseries.com for updated info. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.