Grid City Music Fest features two spectacular performances for a special nightAug 05, 2022 09:25AM ● By Jesse M. Gonzalez
Grid City Music Festival captivated audiences with some amazing talent from musicians to local vendors at The Commonwealth Room on the weekend of July 16. However, on the following night, many spectators had witnessed something truly special.
It seemed that many of the attendees came to see the psychedelic, folk-rock band Mapache, but it was the opening act, a one-man band called The Bones of J.R. Jones that garnered the attention of an audience that had predominantly never heard of him. Jonathan Robert Linaberry, the name of the singer-songwriter, played a haunting, intimate, passionate set that beautifully fostered the emotions and senses of the crowd in visceral style.
“I’ve never heard him before. I discovered him for the first time tonight,” said Jake Reedy, who was among those drawn to the rustic, folky, bluesy nature of The Bones of J.R. Jones. “The music supports the vibe. It was fun; it was cool!”
After Linaberry’s performance, he came down to play one final song in the standing pit. People gathered around him at every angle as he sang and played without a mic nor amp—creating one of the highlights of the night.
Linaberry, who is from upstate New York, began indulging in the punk rock scene before ultimately deriving his rooted influences from musicians like Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen to form his own, unique sound.
“I just try to lose myself in that moment before anything else in the world. Every show—the good shows, I feel like I can reach in, and tonight was a good show. I felt like I was ‘in it,’” Linaberry said.
The Bones of J.R. Jones played his first show of his tour in South Salt Lake and will eventually make his way to Georgia in September before heading back to his home state.
“I love Salt Lake. I have very good friends that live here and it’s always a treat to come out here,” Linaberry said. With a loyal fan base that had seemed to grow exorbitantly that night, The Bones of J.R. Jones is still an independent artist who has not signed to any record label at the moment.
“Find that bright moment and strike when you can. I’ve been doing it long enough and I feel like you pay your dues, play at crappy bars to five or 10 people, and hope the next time it’s 15, and the next time you hope it’s 20. It’s just word of mouth and a hope to impress people,” Linaberry said.
The second and final act of the night, and also what the majority of ticket buyers came to see, was Mapache, the Los Angeles based duo of Clay Finch and Sam Blasucci. They took the stage, giving a brilliant, ’60s and ’70s inspired performance to close the night off.
“They have such a cool sound—a really laid-back energy and I think they’re just so good at songwriting,” Reedy said. “I feel like in a real genuine way, they go back to a simple time when things were more carefree.”
Mapache, meaning raccoon in Spanish, drew the majority of the crowd with songs like “I Love my Dog” and “They Don’t Know at the Beach.”
Local eateries like The Taste Masters and Sweet Vinyl Bakeshop provided food and drinks came from local brewery Han’s Kombucha.
Grid City Beer Works collaborated with State Room Presents to make the festival happen and they will do so again Aug. 5-6 as well as Aug. 20-21. Each weekend will include different vendors and each night will feature different musicians. Tickets available at gridcitymusicfest.com. λ