O.A.R. and Dispatch Co-headline at Red Butte Garden

The O.A.R. and Dispatch joint summer tour rolls into Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre on July 29, 2022 with special guest G. Love.

O.A.R. (an acronym for Of A Revolution) emerged from the college indie rock scene in the late 1990s. It was a time “of a revolution” for indie artists thanks in part to the file-sharing pioneer Napster and others that provided a vehicle for unsigned indie bands to share their music with a larger audience and potentially open up touring possibilities beyond a regional reach. 

Both O.A.R. and Dispatch benefited from those new technologies. A worldwide web of possibilities allowed them to get their music to the masses without support from a major record label. 

O.A.R. recorded their first album in their basement and then hit the road to build their fan base one hard charging live show at a time. They scored their first college radio hit with the reggae/rock fusion “That Was a Crazy Game of Poker,” a song about a poker game with the devil. With that success, O.A.R. signed with a major record label and released a string of hits such as “Shattered (Turn the Car Around)” and “Love and Memories.”

The band gathered a large fan following on the road over the years. Relentless touring and three full-length live albums demonstrate their commitment to those audiences. Their sound blends alt-rock guitar riffs with festive reggae rhythms and surf and jazz inflections. Unlike more traditional alt-rock bands who rely on guitars to build a wall of sound, O.A.R. brings in a sax to deliver a rich soulfulness.

Dispatch (Photo by Mike Smith/Courtesy Red Butte Garden)

O.A.R. is touring in support of a recently dropped album The Arcade. Its first single and accompanying video “In the Clouds” provides a contemporary jazzy sound while retaining a youthful rock playfulness.

Co-headlining is the New England-based band Dispatch. Like O.A.R., they formed in the late ’90s playing the college rock circuit with their own blend of reggae-infused jam rock. Dispatch never enjoyed the commercial success of O.A.R., but they built a huge fan base with their epic live performances. Despite the lack of a mega-hit single, the band amassed an impressive catalog of well-crafted tunes. How many under-the-radar indie rock bands can sell out three nights at Madison Square Garden? 

Dispatch is a socially-conscious roots rock band that blends folk, punk and blues and sprinkles in some reggae to keep the mood light. Their anti-war anthem “The General” is a great example of their musical and lyrical prowess. They even recorded a version of the song in Russian!

Opening the festivities is a solo set by G. Love (he usually tours with his band Special Sauce.) G. Love (aka Garrett Dutton) is a Grammy-nominated artist who blends old-school blues with hip hop, R&B and funk.

It’s hard to imagine O.A.R.’s “Shattered (Turn the Car Around) topped the charts nearly 15 years ago. Are we talking Millennial nostalgia? Is that even a thing?  Still, a good high-energy show transcends any generational era. On July 29 the Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre is hosting a trifecta of stellar live performers that’ll bring the crowd to their feet. I suspect the Garden will be packed with music fans from the Baby Boom to Gen Alpha and all stops in between.

  • Who: O.A.R., Dispatch, and G. Love
  • What: Reggae-infused indie rock
  • Where: Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre
  • When: July 29, 2022
  • Tickets and info: redbuttegarden.org

John Nelson
John Nelsonhttps://www.saltlakemagazine.com/
John Nelson covers the local music scene for Salt Lake magazine. He is a 20-year veteran of Uncle Sam’s Flying Circus with a lifelong addiction to American roots music, live music venues, craft beer and baseball.

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