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February 03, 1978 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1978-02-03

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, February 3, 1977- Page 5

Daily Photo by WAYNE CABLE
Singer Niagara appeared with band-mates Destroy All Monsters, the Seatbelts,
and the Pagans Wednesday night at a free Michigan Union Ballroom concert
sponsored by campus FM radio station WCBN.
Orpheus myth becomes
a scandalous frolic

WCBP
By ALAN RUBENFELD
T HE NEW WAVE of Rock 'n' Roll
took Ann Arbor by storm Tues-
day and Wednesday. WCBN's thirty-
four hour New Wave Marathon and
Wednesday night's punk concert fea-
turing Destroy All Monsters gave
this new musical form needed expo-
sure and helped demonstrate to the
uninitiated that the New Wave is a lot
more than ugly, screaming people
wearing safety pins in their cheeks.
Well, then, what is it all about?
The seventies have been a period of
stagnation for pop music: The rebel-
lious character of Rock 'n' Roll, so
much an integral aspect of the music,
has mellowed to the point that the
very performers who formerly sang
about alienation, revolt, and disillu-
sionment are now sitting in the 450
SL's and determining how to duck
staggering tax burdens while main-
taining high profiles at Hollywood's
big parties. The musical hunger of
the sixties has become the padded
chair, prefabricated style of the
seventies.
THIS DECADE'S music has been
generated largely in an- effort to
create mass audience appeal. These
days, songs are recorded in the com-
fortable, formulaic, and stylized
fashion most conducive to beguiling
the audience-oriented radio program
director into sending a the tune out
over the airwaves. Instead of becom-
ing an outlet for the performer's
emotion, music becomes an acces-
sory to making Him part of the
"catchy hook" world of the listener.
Creativity has taken a back seat to
the megabucks.
What makes this doubly disheart-
ening is that the social environment
of the seventies could have been a
prime source of creative energy in
music. With the much-observed de-
cline in the overall quality of life this
decade, rock music had an opportun-
ity to be an outlet and expression of
general discontent.
Instead, music has only served to
muffle this anger by sweetly ignoring
pain and dissatisfaction with the
world. Modern pop music does not
make the listener think, it simply
lulls him into a pseudo-euphoric bliss
through repetitive simple rhythms,
and catchy melodic "hooks.". Con-
temporary lyrics usually match the
inanities of the music; the song never
challenges the listener, simply over-
whelming him with syrupy nothing.
All this, though, before the New
Wave.
,,WHAT THE New Wave represents
most is a return to feeling in rock.
The antiseptic, calculated approach

catches Ne

that practically every major artist
utilizes is what the New Wave rejects
absolutely. The new music does not
overwhelm you with nothingness; it
challenges you and your very rele-
vancy. The .New Wave forces you to
think and react, whether it be to
Johnny Rotten's hideous sneer while
taunting Queen Elizabeth and her
"fascist regime," or Elvis Costello's
unrelenting visceral anger at the
plastic world he abhors.
The New Wave bares its soul to the
listener, but unfortunately, this tends
to rock the boat of FM commercial-
ity. Most programmerscin America
are afraid of the unconventional
nature of the New Wave and there-
fore the music's accessability is
limited to a few stations, such as
WCBN.
The New Wave Marathon on
WCBN was a satisfying success, ac-
cording to Michael Kremin, the
station's program director and or-
ganizer of the marathon and concert.
"It exposed music that is underdevel-
oped on the airwaves across Amer-
ica, and interest was much more
widespread than we expected. The
marathon had a big response, with
people calling in and requesting
obscure cuts we didn't even have."
OVERALL, WCBN was quite com-
petent in the program material they
presented. Although one or two disc
jockeys were rather haphazard in
their hit-and-miss approach to play-
ing punk tunes, the-majority of the
programs showed thought and dis-
crimina tion, offering listeners both
an overview of New Wave music and
samples of the genre's spiritual an-
cestors.
Groups such as The Ramones,
Pattie Smith, Elvis Costello, and the
Sex Pistols received heavy airplay,
while requests from the audience and
the disc-jockeys' good tastes exposed
lesser-known units as: the Adverts,
Stranglers, and X-Ray Specs. In fact,
The Spec's single, "Oh Bondage, Up
Yours," was undoubtedly the most

requested song of the marathon:
Listener response was so overwhelm-
ing that several DJ's had to discon-
nect their request lines in order to
program their shows.
The free concert Wednesday night
in the Union ballroom demonstrated
that both good and bad punk exists in-
Michigan. The opening group, De-
troit's Seatbelts, seemed somewhat
out of place in a punk concert with
their incessant heavy metal attack.
They substituted clanging loudness
for genuine energy, a definite mis-
take for any band trying to fit the
New Wave mold. Seatbelts sounded
much better on the studio recordings
heard on WCBN.
THE PAGANS, Cleveland's contri-
bution to the evening's festivities,
showed true punk vitality in their set.
Unfortunately, their energy failed to
make up for their lack -of talent, as
the band experienced unusual diffi-
culty playing in rhythm. However,
the group was loud and snotty, and
their striking visual appearance, if
nothing else, was quite intriguing.
R. C."Junior Peter Labella observed,
"I'm glad they were here, but if you
play like that, 250 miles is a long way
to come."
The band that caused the biggest
excitement in the Union ballroom
was Ann Arbor's own Destroy All
Monsters. Led by ex-Stooge Ron
Asheton, Monsters launched-an aural
attack on Rock 'n' Roll in the best
Detroit high-energy fashion. They
played fast, hard, and, unlike the
evening's other performers, in tight
unison.
They whipped the crowd into a fre-
netic froth as the audience pushed
and pogoed itself right onto the stage
(pogo dancing is a random jumping
up and down step with consequent
physical abuse to anybody near you
on the floor). Lead singer Niagra
proved to be in fine form, as her gift
wrap dress and full length bra was a
natural turn-on for her many male
admirers. Her intonation and moan-
ing were evocative and gelled well
with the band's accompaniment.

n/avE
THE MONSTERS rocked admir
ably, performing the old Stooges
classic "I Wanna Be Your Dog,'
"I'm So Bored," and a few othei
songs until their Already abbreviated
set was terminated by the powers.
that-be in the Union.
After the performance, a very sat-
isfied Ron Asheton commented on his
roots with Iggy and the Stooges: "We
were never pretentious, but we were
the first punks. We were just living
the way we wanted to." Ashetom
agrees that the New Wave is partly a
media-hype, but added "The hype is
making things happen. Regeneration
is a real feeling in music. Now it's
gonna happen again in Ann Arbor."
With their performance Wednes-
day night, Destroy All Monsters are
on the road to making it all happen
again. A few more gigs, a couple of
new songs, a bit less reliance on the E
chord, and the group should get the
recognition needed to make a nation-
al impact. The band's single, "I'm So
Bored," will soon be distributed in
Europe by Virgin records. This ob-
server can only hope that bands like
Destroy All Monsters and the suc-
cessful radio marathon on WCBN are
the beginning of a new chapter of
success for the Ann Arbor New
Wave. As 6ne individpal observed;
"It's pop music for now people."

T ' T

r

The University of Michigan
FKj" Professional Theatre Program

By NINA SHISHKOFF
j ACQUES OFFENBACH wrote 90
J operettas, most of which have
been forgotten. One that hasn't is
Orpheus in the Underworld, the
latest production of the Comic Opera
Guild. That this work is a favorite is
not surprising - we all know the
famous "Can-can" from the last act.
What is amazing, in fact, is that it
isn't performed more often.
The opera concerns the "inside"
story of the Orpheus myth. We've
been led to believe by the ancient
poets that when Eurydice, Orpheus'
wife, dies, Orpheus is so grief-
stricken that he descends to Hades to
win her back. Nothing of the kind. In
Offenbach's version, Orpheus can't
Orpheus in the Underworld
Lydia endelswhn
February 1I, 1978 .
Eurydice .......... ... P mela Littlefield
Orpheus .,.......... ........Rob Morisi
Pluto .... ................ .... William Craven
Public Opinion..................Paula Boffa
Jupiter.........'.................... Harold Haugh
John Styx .............. . ........ Ted Van Sickle
stand Eurydice, and she has a dim
view of his musical talents. When she
dies in order to become the mistress
of Pluto, Lord of the Underworld,
Orpheus is overjoyed. It's the impos-
ing figure of Public Opinion that
demands Orpheus do the proper
thing. If not, warns Eurydice, his
musical admirers will be informed
he uses colgr coded strings on his
violin. Orpheus agrees, reluctantly,
and they climb Mount Olympus to
seek Jupiter's aid.
The home of the gods turns out to
be ir turmoil, Olympus is a bore, and
everyone is sick and tired of nectar
and ambrosia. War is prevented
when Public Opinion shows up with
Orpheus, since the gods want to
accompany Jupiter to the Under-
world, purportedly one hell of a
swinging place.
SO BEGINS the Guild's produc-
tion, in -the highest spirit of fun.
Director Thomas Petiet is also
responsible for translating the score
from the French, and the numerous
sight gags he employs mock the oper-
etta as the operetta mocks the myth..
Jupiter says to a passing god, "Hi,
Prometheus, how's your liver?" and
adds (if I heard correctly) that he
has just the thing for him: "Jimmy
Carter's little pills." When Mercury
arrives on Mount Olympus, it's to
deliver a bouquet of flowers, FTD
style, to one of the goddesses.
The production bogs down here and
there, but it's hard to know whether
to blame Petiet or the choreograph-
er. In the chorus scenes there are
simply too many people on stage; one
can't see the scenery for all the gods
and goddesses crowding the stage
and valiantly trying not to step on
each other. The chorus ended up

standing in groups, trying to liven
things up by nodding tMir heads and
whispering amongst themselves.
The scenery was simple and crea-
tive, with the exception of a pedes-
trian backdrop of the Arcadian
fields. Eurydice's chamber in the
Underworld accommodated the ac-
tion of the scene perfectly. Mount
Olympus, a huge crag jutting out
from the stage, provided plenty of
places for the chorus to perch upon.
THE CHOREOGRAPHY and danc-
ing were poor even by operetta stand-
ards. The "Dance of the Furies" was
more pathetic than electric. The
"Can-can" was better, but then it's
hard to go wrong with a line of
Rockette style dancers.
The music, on the other hand, was
quite fine. Sometimes the orchestra
drowned out the singers, and vice-
versa, but on. the whole there was
little to complain about. The singing
was good, and more than that, it had'
feeling. The orchestral balance be-
tween the strings and winds was
excellent, something often lacking in
such performances.
Though there were many charac-
ters to keep track of, all-around fine
acting diminished the problem. In
the Wednesday performance (roles
alternate with the day), Pamela
Littlefield was wonderful as Eury-
dice, and so was William Craven as
Pluto. Robert Douglas, as Mercury,
delivered the latest gossip of cen-
taurs and nymphs to Jupiter in true
Rona Barrett fashion. Harold Haugh
played a befuddled Jupiter with
great comic sense; dressed as a fly,
he accompanied a love duet with
Eurydice by buzzing.
For an evening's entertainment
there's nothing like a good operetta,
and Orpheus in the Underworld fits
the bill when well-performed. It was
a fun evening.

(A g
(A PLAY y EW40 ohr }
February l-4at pm
TruebtQodThpetr'r
University Showase 'roucec on
General admission $2.00
Tickets at Trueblood
Box Office 6.8 pm

The world-famed
Centicore ROBOT that
invaded Ann Arbor
before Christmas is back.
Come to Centicore to
see it. Hear and see it's
nine gears whir into'
action. Watch it's steel.
spring belly puff out as
it tramples everything
before it. But, most
amazing of all: it not<
only walks-it also does
the Australian Crawl.
$2.50 yach
Centicoe Bos
336 Maynard

.- 00 .
ThUrs. . .eb. IN CONCERT 4
. Power Center--8 pm
Reserved seats $5.00,
Tickets go on sate Sat., Feb. 4th, at the Michigan Union Box Office at
' 11:30. Beginning Mon., Feb; 6, tickets will be available at Michigan Union'
Box Office (763-2071) M-F, 11:30-5:30. Sorry, we cannot accept personal
checks.
Smoking and Beverages Sictly Prohibited In The Power Center "
Presented by the Office of Major Events
THE U OF M's OFFICE OF MAJOR EVENTS PRESENTS:
SPECIAL GUEST
ANDp i
WITH GUEST DON BOWMAN

HOURS
Sunday Brunch 12-4, Lunch 11:30-4
Dinner M-Sat 5-12, Fri & Sat 5-1, Sun 5:30-12
18w.lbertpi,anRuarbormI.665-3333

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