Every Wednesday and Sunday night starting at 9pm, Twilite Lounge is home to live music hosted by David Payne of The Red Bennies. Wednesday typically features musicians playing traditional instruments such as guitar, keys and bass. Sundays is geared toward creative electronica and DJs Lord British, Falchion B and Twin Bee. During these respective nights, Payne hosts through his group Jazz Jaguars and his alter-ego, Lord British. Payne says, “We play ´Doom Lounge´ music—lounge defined as music that is beautiful, engaging as possible, but soft enough to encourage conversation amongst the people there. It’s called Doom because of our generally slow tempos.”
The Twilite Night Lounge nights were started out of a need for places to perform. Payne had already been experimenting with taking soft music more seriously with students from his music-reading group. A bartender at Twilite invited Payne and company to play there. Soon the lounge nights were being frequented and guested by local acts playing similar versions of their material. Payne says, “We have guest bands every time.” Some notable groups include Strong Words, Muzzle Tung, Sam Burton, 90s TV and Cool Banana.
In order to play, acts must follow certain rules. Rule one: the guesting acts cannot be made up solely of male performers. Rule two: no soloists—ensembles only. Finally, rule three is that groups must present themselves with “lounge sensibilities.” Payne says “We really try and make it pleasant while posturing as non-background music.”
The musicians who play Twilite Lounge Nights don’t do it for pay. Musicians instead perform through the support of a kind of anti-capitalistic artistic integrity. “Of course, I’m sensitive to the concept that we all need money. But a paid relationship would ruin what we do over there,” Payne says, “ I don’t believe in artistic capitalism. I think other labors should pay your bills. I think that money is a major distraction to the artistic process, which is expressing eeyourself to yourself in view of other people.”
According to Payne, spurring on local music has been difficult in part due to Utah’s religious and cultural stigma against alcohol. It’s a stigma that is becoming steadily outdated thanks to new bars opening their doors. The trick though is that not all of the new establishments are sponsoring live music. Payne says, “I think every artist here knows that we live in a pop culture that doesn’t value the arts, especially local.”
But Payne is not deterred. He wants to see nights similar to Twilite Lounge nights spread into other bars throughout the Salt Lake Valley. “I’d like to see more bars adopt the kind of thing we do,” says Payne. “I want real, local, non-capitalistic, regular, dense, normalized, constant, artistic activity.” For more on Payne’s Lounge nights, visit Twilite Lounge on Wednesday and Sunday evenings.
Twilite Lounge: 347 E 200 S, Salt Lake City