By Jamie Gadette
There’s always been something special about Tyler Anderson and BRONCO. Two years ago—after the native Utahn returned to Salt Lake City from Austin, Texas, he learned how to emote without shouting and lassoed a couple of players to round out his no-fuss alt-country groove. Anderson then went on to share bills with mismatched bands and play to crowds who’d paid to hear sounds cranked to 11. In response to how Bronco managed to get the mob to quiet down and listen up, Anderson just smiled, slightly gap-toothed, and said, “If it’s good enough, they’ll listen.” And that was that.
Of course, Bronco had just four songs to their name and a drummer who soon left to pursue a solo career. With a shaky lineup and nothing in the way of full-length LPs, the group could have easily disappeared. Instead, Angie Midgely (and occasionally her husband Greg on keys), Mike Ryan Shelton and Mike Kuczma kept their noses to the grindstone, bunkered down with guitar-shredder/engineer-about-town Mike Sasich (also behind the forthcoming ¡Andale! release!), and came up with Constant Everything—a tight though no less raw version of Bronco’s signature, heartbreaking twang with dark, blue-collar fringe.
Lyrically, Anderson’s at his best, with harmonica-fueled content exploring good love, big mistakes and deception. In fact, opening track “Shot in the Dark” seems fitting for a scene in the film No Country for Old Men. Sweet harmonies (especially on “Back Pain” and “Deep Waters II”) help break the tension, but not enough to diminish the heavy feeling you’re left with when the record ends.
On Saturday, Bronco releases Constant Everything with a show well tailored to their strengths. Opening act Band of Annuals is always a good bet when the mood calls for slide guitar, heartbreaking vocals, barroom choruses and whiskey all around. Bronco CD release @ The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 746-0557. Saturday, Nov. 24, 10 p.m.
By Scott Renshaw
You don’t tend to see many 90-minute plays that include a 10-minute intermission. Then again, you don’t see many plays like Plan-B Theatre Company’s production of GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL! that are such an aerobic workout for the cast members that you fear they won’t remain properly hydrated.
That’s because Kirt Bateman and Jay Perry do it all in Gutenberg!—by design. As Doug Simon and Bud Davenport—the book/composer duo behind the titular celebration of the printing-press inventor—Bateman and Perry dive into a mock “staged reading” of the work-in-progress musical intended for potential Broadway investors, complete with asides helpfully commenting on their creative process and the conventions of musical theater. Employing baseball caps indicating in Magic Marker the character currently being portrayed—“Drunk #1,” “Anti-Semite”—the two actors convey the enthusiasm of guys who know the rest of their lives depend on this moment.
It’s a ferociously hilarious example of acting commitment, and it serves a production that’s not just an affectionate send-up of its own genre but a pretty damned catchy collection of tunes in its own right. You’ll laugh, you’ll sing along—and you might catch just a little sweat if you’re sitting in the front row. Gutenberg! The Musical! @ Rose Wagner Black Box Theatre, 138 W. 300 South. Nov. 16–Dec. 30. Tickets: 355-ARTS
The Coen brothers enter a familiar world of crime and punishment in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, but find an unfamiliar—and grim—worldview in the process. (Read Article) No Country for Old Men, opens Nov. 21 at theaters valleywide.
By Geoff Griffin
If you’ve ever enjoyed singing along with the crowd to the chorus of a song by one of your favorite bands, think how much better it would be if everybody actually knew the words—because they had the music in front of them. The 30th annual MESSIAH SING-IN, presented by the Utah Symphony & Chorus, offers the opportunity to enjoy communal vocals as the audience becomes part of the show during the choral numbers of Handel’s classic composition. Bring your own score or buy one at the concert—you’ll have enough money since tickets are only $7 and $14—and don’t worry about your voice. The sing-in offers an encouraging environment where, much like youth soccer, effort is appreciated just as much as talent. Besides, with everybody in Abravanel Hall singing at the same time, who’s going to notice if you’re really an alto who likes to pretend she’s still a soprano?Every year, everybody from Linus Van Pelt to Ebenezer Scrooge reminds you Christmas isn’t just about buying a lot of stuff (although you’re going to have to buy some stuff if you want people to talk to you). So here’s your chance to open the holiday season by following their words of wisdom. There’s hardly a better way to celebrate Jesus’ 2007th birthday (more or less) than singing the “Hallelujah Chorus” along with a couple of thousand fellow amateurs. Messiah Sing-In @ Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, 533-NOTE, Nov. 24-25, 7 p.m. UtahSymphony.org
Here & Now Other New Happenings This Week
PETER PAN Sew your shadow to your feet and fly up to Park City, where the Egyptian Theatre Company presents the classic family-friendly musical for the holidays. 328 Main St., Park City, 435-649-9371, Nov. 23–Dec. 29. EgyptianTheatreCompany.org
CHRISTMAS CAROL 2 Sure, we all know that Ebenezer Scrooge “kept Christmas” better than anyone after his ghostly visitations. Find out what happened a year later at the Off-Broadway Theatre. 272 S. Main, 355-4628, Nov. 23–Dec. 29, TheOBT.com
DOBIE MAXWELL The comedian nicknamed “Mr. Lucky” returns to Utah to let us know why he feels at home here: It’s a great place to be a “dorky-looking white guy; I blend right in.” Wiseguys Comedy Café, 269 25th St., Ogden, 801-622-5588, Nov. 23-24. WiseguysComedy.com
BUY LOCAL FIRST WEEK As you begin your seasonal shopping spree, keep in mind which businesses are based right here in Utah, rather than evil corporate megaliths foisting lead-infused goodies onto an unsuspecting populace. Nov. 24–Dec. 1, LocalFirst.org
THE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT OF UTAH: LIVING BEYOND OUR MEANS If everyone on the planet lived the way Utahns do, we’d need more than five Earths to survive—so says Sandra McIntyre of Utah Vital Signs. Learn what you can do to lighten the load. Sugar House Garden Center, SugarHouse Park, 1400 E. 2100 South, 277-8836, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 7 p.m.
FESTIVAL OF TREES Gingerbread houses, treats, Santa and plenty of evergreen—will the magic of the season never end? All proceeds go to Primary Children’s Medical Center, and the venue is TRAX-convenient. South Towne Expo Center, 9575 S. State, Sandy, 565-4490, Nov. 27–Dec. 1.
BRANCHING OUT: E. ETHELBERT MILLER ON LANGSTON HUGHES Poet and Fulbright scholar Miller explores the work of the groundbreaking African-American poet. Main Library Auditorium, 210 E. 400 South, 524-8200, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 7 p.m.