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January 24, 1980 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-01-24

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I1

The Michigan Daily-Thursday, January 24, 1980-Page 5

Police's

pop flounders, but XTC triumphs
ne, simply because of the way they toss they are is bound to leave one a little one of the most fun and important
themselves about the stage like stuck for words. It came as no surprise groups around. XTC will also be
marionettes and seem to exhort unseen that they were commanding and en- headlining at Bookies in Detroit
audiences when singing. Their vocal joyable at Tuesday night's concert. I February 6 for those of you who would
idiosyncracies are also surprisingly did expect more from the Police, prefer to avoid the occasionally enter-
similar, though Partridge's voice is far though. While it may be going too far to taining, but more often annoying,
stronger and more melodic than Bvr- expect to be constantiv amazed by Police.

HELP US
STRIKE 0OUT
BIRTH DEFECTS
MARCH
OF DIMES

ne's. The overall sound of the two
groups are also similar in their solid
bass foundation, overlaid with a
jagged, unpredictable rhythm guitar.
Aside from that, their sounds are quite
different. Whereas the Talking Heads
go for a dense, funk-oriented sound,
XTC will settle for nothing less than
razor-sharp pop fury. Besides, the
major point behind comparing the two
groups was only to give those who have
no idea what they sound like some kind
of handle on where they are coming
from.
Anyone who has heard XTC can cer-
tainly tell you, though, that their music
can stand easily on its own merits, and
any comparisons to any other group
playing now are bound to be
misleading. Few others are able to be
as consistently innovative and ac-
cessible as this group. The live versions
of all their songs are surprisingly true
to the originals, also. David Gregory,
their new guitarist, manages to com-
pletely fill the gap left by the departure
of the band's former synthesizerist,
Barry Andrews. What was truly
amazing was that he was able to fill in
most of the old keyboard sections on his
guitar. XTC couldn't have hoped for a
better addition to their sound. His
leads, which often seem to downshift in-
to oblique psychedelic mellowness in
the middle of irresistible frenzy, are a
pleasant contrast to Andy Partridge's
double-time riffing. Another treat was
that XTC also were able to maintain the
breakneck pace of their albums
live ... and in some cases, even beat
it! If you know their albums, you'll
know what a major statement that is.
One has to wonder if this group knows
when to quit. It's sort of reassuring to
know that they don't seem to.
All in all, there isn't much else to say
about XTC. Any group as faultless as

ctG a r 4laa.6y c itv y
them, it isn't too much to ask that they
at least give a pleasant, invigorating
pop show. It's also beyond comprehen-
sion that a far less talented and
creative group such as the Police are
able to gain so much more public sup-
port and airplay than a group like XTC.
One can easily appreciate the Police as
a step toward listenable but still
challenging music, but it's hard to see
them as anything but a small step in
that progression and certainly not an
end in themselves.
"Ten Feet Tall," a'pleasant love song
from Drums and Wires will 'soon be
XTC's first American single after
several brilliant British hit singles. As
Colin Moulding introduced this song in
concert, "This is our first American
single. What're you gonna do about it?"
I'd like to know too. If I were you, I
wouldn't miss this chance to latch onto

POETRY READING
with-
TASOS BELLAS
Thursday, Jan. 24
7:30 p.m.
refreshments
no admision charge

NOON LUNCHEON
Homemade soup and
sandwich... 75C
Friday, Jan. 25
DOUG HILL,
principal of American
Collegiate-Institute,
lzmir, Turkey:
"The Crisis in
the Middle East"

The GUILD HOUSE 802 Monroe (corner ofoakland)

Fl

[-

ENDS TONIGHT!
"TEN"
5:30. 7:40. 9:50

J

IAL
~YS.

STARTS TOMORROW!

Doily Photo by JIM KRUZ
Police lead singer and bass player Sting in action Tuesday night at the
Michigan Theatre. The Police's raggae-rock fusion sound scored some
points, but the hit of the concert was its opening act, eccentric pop group
XTC.

TIM CONWAY
DON KNOTTSy

BY MARK DIGHTON
The pairing of XTC and the Police at
he Michigan Theatre Tuesday night
could have been perfect. XTC is an ex-
cellent, eccentric pop group who would
easily have benefitted from the ex-
posure. to the Police's mainstream
audience. In turn, they also could have
provided a dynamic, danceable in-
troduction to the Police. At that point,
the Police could have brought out their
tasteful, polished pop tunes and brought
the evening to a rousing finale. This last
(*step is where the deal fell apart,
though.
The Police suffer from a severe iden-
tity crisis. It is almost impossible to
talk about them as any one coherent
style. They beg to be treated as several'
different groups., Theidt influences are
so diverse and seemixgiy contradictory
that it is easy to overlook that they
frequently border on being derivative.
In many ways, though, their sound is
certainly a pioneering fusion. At their
r est, they combine catchy, dense pop
choruses with sparse reggae verses.
The two complement and reinforce
each other ideally. The Police also have
an excellent stage presence, though it
relies almost exclusively on Sting, the
bassist and vocalist, with his English
beach-bum look. Unfortunately, their
charisma doesn't always preclude one
from noticing their rather obvious in-
fluences. While "I Can't Stand Losing
--You" echoes'occasionally of the Who, it
is nowhere near as blatant as their
ripoff of the Beatles' "Got to Get You
Into My Life" in their song "Hole in My
Life." Still, for the first three or four
songs I thought I was about to be con-
verted.
After that, things weren't quite so
clear. For one thing, the pacing of the
show began to falter. Toward the
beginning we had concise, eloquent
three-minute pop songs. Far too early
into the set, we were already getting
*ongs with unnecessary instrumental
breaks during which the audience sat
patiently and waited for a return to the
song itself so they could start tapping
and singing along again. By the middle
of the set, every song had some sort of
long break, each one slightly more
tedious and uneventful than the last. If
nothing else, XTC have learned the
lesson from Eno that soloes are most ef-
fective when you least expect them,
*referably while several other things
are going on. I was always told that if I
didn't have anything to say,I shouldn't
make so much noise. Obviously no one
ever told the Police that. They seem to
think that being cute and catchy gives
them a license to be self-indulgent. On
several songs (in a row, no less)
everybody in the group took long exten-
ded soloes employing echo effects. By
the time Sting got to doing his echoed
vocals, I was having trouble separating
*hem from any of the early '70's Led
Zeppelin ripoff bands, such as UFO or

Nazareth. Even "Roxanne" was not
spared one of these uniformly unin-
teresting interludes, though in this case
it was mercifully short.
But the Police are nothing if not a
great party band. They certainly take
full advantage of that form, but in
mtany ways are severely limited by it.
For one, I was struck by Sting's for-
ceful, bittersweet vocals and the entire
group's irrepressible energy, both
physically and musically. On the other
hand, I was bored and eventually an-
noyed by their derivative qualities and
self-indulgent excesses.
XTC were, in contrast, the epitome of
pacing and consistency. They modified
their songs enough to keep them in-
teresting and distinctive from the
original studio versions, but they were,
able to do this without overextending
the original song structure. They were
even smart enough to add arresting
visuals to. the only two slow songs,
"Battery Brides" and "Complicated
Game," just to keep the impatient rock
,and roll fans at bay. Throughout their
set, the lighting was always simple but
undeniably effective. "Roads Girdle
the Globe" featured a vertical pattern
of black and white bars projected at
them similar in effect to their first
album cover, Whie 'Music (and you
thought Blondie was so clever).
"Crowded Room" used a similar pat-
tern of black and white lines in a
narrow horizontal pattern which gave
an odd sort of video look to the number.
l'he simplicity of their lighting should
be emphasized again. This group
demands that nothing stand in the way
of the music. For one thing, they ob-
viously have dispensed with all concept
of image. You can see over the
progression of their album covers that
their faces have become less and less
prominent. There are no pictures of the
group included on the American ver-
sion of their latest album, Drums and
Wires. In, concert, the only noticable
thing about their attire was its utter
lack of noticability. In fact, the clothes
of most of the group members didn't
even seem to fit right. In addition to
that, no one in this group even looks
particularly like a rock star. If you still
question their star potential after
listening to their music, though, you
haven't been paying attention.
Their lack of a manufactured image
unfortunately seems to be related to
their distance from the audience. While
Sting of the Police may have gone too
far in milking every bit of applause out
of the audience, like a corny Vegas en-
tertainer, XTC might have put a little
more effort into relating with their
audience, other than just criticizing us
for not dancing.
In many ways, their live show remin-
ded me unexpectedly of the Talking
Heads, both in stage presence and
sound. I think the comparison has to be
made of Andy Partridge to David Byr-

THE
$1.30
BARGAIN
IAE PRIZ
FRI-6:20, 8:10, 10:00
FRI--Adults $1.50 til 6:45 (or capacity)
SAT, sUN-2:30, 4:20, 6:20, 8:10, 10:00
'AT SUN--Adults $1.50 til 3:00 (or cap.)
Adults $2.50 til 4:45 (or capacity)

Closing our Ann Arbor Store Very Soon!
ENTIRE STOCK GREATLY REDUCED IN PRICE
MANY ITEMS REDUCED UP TO
700,0
Fabrics! Apparel! China! Glassware! Store Fixtures!
A Rare Opportunity. HURRY1
orthogonalty
on the park
330 E. Liberty at Division, Ann Arbor-662-2600

\I-

I

.,.

OF

-a
The Ann Arbor Film Coopefke Presents at Aud. A. $1.50
Thursday. January 24
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
(Stanley Kubrick, 1968) 6:30 & 9:30-AUD. A
If not the ultimate trip as in the advertising, 2001 is certainly the ultimate
cinematic experience and the most original, mind-blowing vision to hit the
big screen. Less than 46 of the film's 160 minutes are taken up by dialogue;
the rest features the stunning, much acclaimed special effects. One year and
many million of dollars to make this movie that cannot be seen too many times.
Keir Dullea, HAL. 35mm Cinemascope multi-track stereo.
Tomorrow: The Marx Brothers in MONKEY BUSINESS
and HORSE FEATHERS at MLB
The Godfather
starring
MarIon Brando and Al Pacino
"One of the most brutal and moving chronicles of American
life ever designed . . . the gangster melodrama come-of-age
... a movie that transcends its imriediate milieu and genre.
-Vincent Canby, New York Times.
Friday, Jan. 25-7 pm & 10 pm
Nat. Sci. Aud. $1.50

-

i

.I

Louis Malle's

1971

MURMUR OF THE HEART
A brilliant film examining the realities and the pains and joys of adolescence.
Tastefully portrayed is the sexual relationship between, a mother and her
adolescent son. "We will always remember this as a special moment. . . but
we will never speak of it again," says Mom after the incestuous act takes
place. In color and in French. With LES MASSAIR and DANIEL GELIM.
Fri: HAROLD AND MAUDE
Sat: ANNIE HALL

CINEMA GUILD

TONIGHT AT
7:0.& 9:15

OLD ARCH. AUD.
$1.50

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I ~ ~ ~" ' ____________

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