Luring bands to Utah |

Luring bands to Utah

ANNA BLOOM, Of the Record Staff

Andy Cantor notices a pattern when hunting on his favorite bands’ Web sites: many of the bands seem to skip over Utah, playing gigs in surrounding states. "A lot of bands are skeptical about playing in Utah – there’s a zero-tolerance stigma attached."

Cantor books musical acts for the Star Bar, a job that supplements his work as the Canyons’ snow reporter. A music devotee known to drive four hours to Idaho see a two-hour gig, he’s happy to add the task to his plate. Alongside managers like the Spur Bar and Grill’s Casey Metzger, Cantor plans to correct bands’ roadmaps to include Park City as a stop enroute to bigger metropolitan areas on the east and west coasts.

This summer Cantor brought 10 local bands from Ogden, Logan and other areas to the Town Lift Plaza for weekend gigs outside of the Copper Creek Pub and Grub. His selection was eclectic, adding an alternative mix to the usual Park City fare of hip hop and classic rock.

But the task of persuading a national act to come to an intimate 400-person-audience venue in Park City has been a decidedly different experience. Easing the difficulty is the lure of the Sundance Film Festival, which Cantor says has given town enough exposure that management teams are familiar with Park City, he says. However, compared to local acts, it takes longer to cement any deal with a band outside the state. Booking this Thursday’s act, Dusty Rhodes and the River Band, meant spending two months angling for phone calls with managers.

"It’s a different ball game, dealing with the behind-the-scenes agents, tour managers – dates have become crucial," he says. "When you’re talking to guys from Ogden, a lot more lines of communication are open."

Cantor hopes to bring back Eoto, a side project from the jam band the String Cheese Incident. The two-member band loops instrument riffs during live performances to create songs that sound like a multi-member band. Eoto has been to Park City twice.

Other acts Cantor hopes to introduce to Park City include the New York-based jazzy, funky organ trio, Soulive, and the Santa Cruz, California-based Sound Tribe Sector 9, an electronic jam band. He is also working on Acoustic Alchemy, a British contemporary jazz ensemble considered a powerhouse force in Europe.

Cantor will be booking acts that sing to his soul, hoping that others will appreciate the music as much as he does.

"It’s a very selfish venture," he explains. "I want to bring in music my friends and I would appreciate at a place I can walk to."

About Dusty Rhodes and the Riverband

Going retro-eclectic with Dusty Rhodes and the River Band

December concert in Salt Lake will follow this Thursday’s show at the Star Bar


Of the Record staff

"We call it ‘progressive folk,’ because it’s a little bit of everything – prog-rock from the 1970s, Neil Young, gypsy jazz," says Kyle Divine of Dusty Rhodes and the River Band. "It’s a hodgepodge of three-part harmony, pop sensibilities It’s a melting pot."

Divine plays guitar, vocals and harmonica; Allen Van Orman plays bass; Andria Babinski plays the violin and mandolin; Edson Choi plays guitar, banjo and sitar; Dustin Apodaca plays the keyboard and accordion; and Eric Chirco plays the drums. The story is Apodaca gave the band its name. "When he first tried out, Dustin gave us taped recordings of him playing on a Rhodes electric keyboard and called himself Dusty Rhodes," remembers Divine.

The members got together in Fullerton, Calif., just outside of Los Angeles, when many of them were enrolled in California State University. They played coffee shops, pizza parlors and bars and within two years branched out to L.A. Their latest album, "First You Live," is on iTunes and takes advantage of Dusty Rhodes’ various tastes and talents from uplifting gospel in "Keys to the Truck," a song about breaking free from oppression to "Dear Honey," a country-bluegrass song about a man who drinks away all his money and lives in the street. Many of the songs are about murderers, thieves and cheaters, but delivered with a local pub band warmth.

"At first, we kind of sound like a bunch of kids making drunk folk music," admits Divine. "But we’re actually deeper than that. We’re smart, but like to party. We’re doing it because it’s fun. Our music is dark, but it’s lovable and adorable at the same time, and that seems to work."

In October, the band was part of Los Angeles Times’ "Eight Bands to Watch." Dusty Rhodes will play this Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Star Bar in Old Town. Tickets are $5 at the door. The band will return to Utah on tour with Irish folk/punk band Flogging Molly in Salt Lake City on Dec. 7 at In the Venue. For more information, visit

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