Michael Gross & The Statuettes, Wizard Fest 2009, Hopewell | Music | Salt Lake City Weekly

Michael Gross & The Statuettes, Wizard Fest 2009, Hopewell 

Live: Music Picks May 28-June 3

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Michael Gross & The Statuettes
  • Michael Gross & The Statuettes


Michael Gross just gets better and better. In another lifetime he held down guitar and vocal duties in The Brobecks before breaking away with Let’s Become Actors. And while both projects left a trail of memorable songs, Gross wanted to write material that better reflects his creative sensibilities. With the Statuettes—version 2.0 includes James Kelley, Benjamin Johnson and Matt Glass (who, by the way, takes amazing photographs)—he’s crafted a tight little album whose appeal is instant and lasting. Dust & Daylight adds a bit of twang to the group’s signature pop, which carries a slightly uneasy tone beneath the jingle-jangle flow. The six-track EP is flawlessly produced with instrumentation that downright shimmers around Gross’ heartthrob delivery. Wow. This is fast becoming one of our favorite jams. Get it while it’s hot at tonight’s show also featuring artwork by Glass and Jeremy Wilkinson. The Collective Loft, 10 N. Main, Farmington. All-ages (with The Rotten Musicians)

After the Party is a cult favorite around these parts, celebrated for their good vibes, use of theremin and stroke of insight that spurred them to launch Wizard Fest. The annual gathering is 100 percent sponsor-free—no vendors, no corporate tie-ins or VIP tent—and propelled mostly by word-of-mouth buzz. Cardboard wizard cutouts mark the way to the festival site in northwestern Utah, adding an extra spark of magic to the whimsical affair. This year’s lineup includes Get Stakerized! (with City Weekly contributor Brian “Awkward” Staker), Dos Hombres Van a Morir, Sunday School, Ben Thunderblood, Antelope Island and Reciprocal Redux and, of course, After the Party. Also scheduled—a Dracula in the Old West puppet show, magician Matt Bruce, and a Boxcar gallery displaying all sorts of goodies, from paintings to Voodoo artifacts. Visit the Website for driving directions and additional factoids. Locomotive Springs, 3 p.m. MySpace.com/AfterTheParty


“White man in a white suit plays his Victrola up on the roof / every fiber of his being is bent on his plan,” Jason Russo sings on “Over the Mountain,” a track off Hopewell’s new album that conjures Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo dragging a steamship over a mountain to fund his pie in the sky plan. Hopewell’s portrait of the stubborn dreamer is propelled by tribal drums and Russo’s undulating war cry, distinct and provocative as ever. The one-time Mercury Rev bassist is a commanding live-wire who himself is often dressed head to toe in white, at times stealing the spotlight but with a group this tight center stage is just as soon reclaimed by Tyson Lewis, for example. His Hammond organ on “Stranger” surges like whirling Dervishes. Good Good Desperation (Tee Pee Records) is psychedelic, urgent and just about as epic as Fitz. Perhaps slightly more grounded. The Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, 10 p.m. Tickets: 24Tix.com


Moe (Depot, June 5); Metalfest ‘09 (Club Vegas, June 6); Wooden Birds (Kilby Court, June 6); No Use For a Name (Burt’s Tiki Lounge, June 8); A Camp (Kilby Court, June 8); The Juan MacLean, The Field (Urban Lounge, June 11); 311, Ziggy Marley (Usana Amphitheater, June 11); The Helio Sequence (Urban Lounge, June 12); Paul Van Dyke (Great Saltair, June 12); King’s X (Club Vegas, June 12); Ben Kweller (Avalon, June 13)

Music Blog | Jamie Gadette Twitter

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