Dawes and Lucius

Dawes • Lucius • March 19, 2024 • The Commonwealth Room

Reviewed by Kevin Rolfe

Photographed by Alisha Gregson

Dawes? Good!  Lucius?  So good! Dawes & Lucius??? Wow!  I was not prepared for how good this concert was going to be. We’ve had the privilege of covering Dawes several times over the years and last year we were excited to review Lucius.  These are some of the best live bands that come to Utah.  When I saw that they would be touring together and that they would be playing The Commonwealth Room I was really hoping that Utah Concert Review would be there to cover the show.  Fortune favored us and we were there!

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Mom Jeans

Mom Jeans • Summer Salt • March 3, 2024 • The Union

Reviewed and Photographed by Morgan Newbold

Photo Credit: Morgan Newbold

Last Wednesday night, indie-rock band Mom Jeans came out to Salt Lake City to play to a nearly sold-out crowd at The Union! Opened by Summer Salt and Hunny, it was a spectacular show filled with so much energy, infectious indie riffs, and heart-wrenching emo songs. I walked into the venue to see so many young people, indie post-punk fans alike, ready to cause a ruckus. The merch was pretty cool. I firmly believe the smaller indie bands always have better merch designs, anyway. 

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Pretty Woman The Musical

Pretty Woman The Musical • April 2, 2024 • Eccles Theater

Reviewed by Kevin Rolfe

Photos by: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade. Provided by Broadway at the Eccles

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

I have to admit, I totally forgot that the 1990 film Pretty Woman was adapted for the stage.  Pretty Woman The Musical appeared on Broadway in 2018 and it wasn’t until the Broadway at the Eccles announced their 2023/2024 Season that I remembered it existed.  Since its Eccles Theater stop was announced, I have been curious to see how the show worked in musical form.  On Tuesday, April 2, I found out. 

Pretty Woman The Musical has everything needed for a successful production.  Highly acclaimed director and choreographer, check.  Jerry Mitchell has choreographed big-time shows like Hairspray, Legally Blond, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and The Full Monty and directed Kinky Boots (choreography also) and On Your Feet.  Well-known songwriters, check. 

Bryan Adams (yep that Bryan Adams) and Jim Vallance have written some of the most recognized songs of all time.  Pretty Woman The Musical would be their first time writing for musical theater.  Well-known book writers, check.  You don’t get much bigger than the late great Gary Marshall.  Writing for shows as far back as I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show, Marshall has written some of the most beloved television shows and movies in history. Joined by J. F. Lawton, a respected screenwriter in his own right, the book has some all-star power.  Gary Marshall passed away before the show was completed.

The cast of Pretty Woman The Musical is given the unenviable task of getting the audience to buy into their interpretation of these characters and try to forget the memorable performances in the movie.  Vivian Ward is one of Julia Roberts’ most iconic roles.  Ellie Baker did a great job of not trying to mimic Roberts.  That would have been a disaster.  It’s simply impossible to portray the role exactly like Julia so I liked that Ellie gave the character her own spin.  It did take me longer than I wanted to get in the zone of this production and forget the movie.  But eventually, for the most part, I did get there. 

Chase Wolfe did an admirable job of portraying Edward Lewis.  His powerful singing voice drew the audience to him and I overheard audience members talking during intermission hoping for more songs from him in the second act.  They got their wish.  

Adam Du Plessis stole the show as Happy Man. The Eccles Theater audience was delighted by his performance.  He appeared in multiple scenes as different characters within those scenes and each time he’d show his face, the audience would cheer or laugh.  Mr. Thompson, the hotel manager was Du Plessis’s best character.  At first leery of Elie Baker then evolving to be her biggest support was the journey we all went on through him.  He was funny, heartfelt, and probably got the biggest ovation at the end of the evening. Some of the biggest highlights of the show were when Adam Du Plessis was paired with Connor Kabat as Giulio the bellhop. Most of Kabat’s scenes were met with large laughter.  I think without his and Du Plessis’ performances this show would have fallen flat comedically.   

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

Memorable scenes from the movie, like Elie being snubbed by women at the Rodeo Drive store only to burn them later didn’t have the same impact as the movie.  The scene where Edward snaps the jewelry box before Vivian can pick up the necklace which makes Vivian laugh, was valiantly attempted but impossible to avoid recalling Julia Roberts’ well-known laugh in that scene.  I think those moments were just going to be too difficult to avoid comparison.   I tried hard not to compare but I just couldn’t do it.  

Overall, Pretty Woman The Musical is an entertaining production.  It falls short of other Pygmalian-type stage productions like My Fair Lady or even Once Upon A Mattress.  I think the familiarity with the movie both helps and hurts this musical.  That being said, it’s a good time and while it’s not the best show to have come to Eccles Theater, it’s still a fun night out of theater with a very talented cast.

Pretty Woman plays Eccles Theater until April 7. For ticket information, including how to get $50 Student Tickets, click here.

The Kooks

The Kooks • March 19, 2024 • The Union Events Center

Reviewed and Photographed by Mike Ferguson

Photo Credit: Mike Ferguson

The Union Event Center in Salt Lake City experienced a spectacular celebratory night of indie rock on Tuesday, March 19th, as The Kooks brought their tour for the 18th anniversary of their debut album, Inside In/Inside Out, to Utah. The evening was an unforgettable journey as fans came for a night of fun and great music. 

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Warren Zeiders

Warren Zeiders • Austin Williams • March 13, 2024 • The Union

Reviewed and Photographed by Sascha Steadman

Photo Credit: Sascha Steadman

Lines of boots and hats wrapping around the block. It’s safe to say Utah’s gone Country for rising star Warren Zeiders. The Union Events Center has had a solid lineup of Country artists over the years. This night was no exception. Zeiders brought the fans and the music.

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LANY • Hazlett • Conor Burns • March 9, 2024 • Delta Center

Reviewed and Photographed by Alisha Gregson

On Saturday, March 9th, multi-platinum pop-rock band LANY, brought their A Beautiful Blur tour to The Delta Center in the heart of Salt Lake City. The Los Angeles-based band consists of lead vocalist Paul Jason Klein and drummer Jake Clifford Gross. The duo performed an incredible and non-stop entertaining show to a packed house. The band made it clear that their top priority was their fans. Although it was LANY on stage, they kept the crowd in the spotlight all night. The way Klein interacted with the audience was above and beyond what I typically see at concerts, and it brought an exciting energy to the show. I am convinced that the connection between the band and its fans is a big reason they have such a loyal following. 

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Dancing With The Stars

Dancing With The Stars • March 8, 2024 • Eccles Theater

Reviewed and Photographed by Miriam Wasden

The area in Salt Lake City where the Eccles Theater is reminds me of New York City. The buildings are not as big in SLC but the design of the streets change quickly, store type reflects the pattern of the roads, and there is more parking and transportation available. Walking down the streets were cold as the buildings created a wind tunnel but it was all worth it to see the colorful differences in comparison to other venues in SLC.

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Chelsea Cutler

Chelsea Cutler • Yoke Lore • March 9, 2024 • The Union

Reviewed and Photographed by Mike Ferguson

Chelsea Cutler brought her tour The Beauty is Everywhere through Salt Lake City to The Union Event Center on Saturday, March 9th. If I had to sum up the night in one word, that word would be Incredible. My wife and I had the opportunity to attend this show and both of us were blown away by the energy and spunk the artists brought as well as the energy the crowd had all night. It was an amazing experience that I will not soon forget!

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Real Estate

Real Estate • March 5, 2024 • Urban Lounge

Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe

Indie Rock band, Real Estate played at the Urban Lounge in Salt Lake City.  They mentioned it was their sixth time playing at the venue.  The venue and the band made for a good match.  The show was sold out so it was clear that people of Utah were familiar and excited to have the band back in town.  This would be my first time seeing the band.  I had heard good things, so I was eager to finally get to see Real Estate live.

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