The Michigan Daily
Tuesday, March 29, 1983
John Hall defie
By Susan Makuch
and Mare Hodges
Daily Photo by DEBORAH LEWIS
Cellist Anne Sheldon, who performed on the Psychedelic Furs' last album, 'Forever Now,' adds a classical touch to
their concert Sunday night at the Michigan Theatre.
By E. Scott
T HE PSYCHEDELIC FURS: Psy-
j chedelic only by title; furry,
perhaps in a metaphoric sense.
Hence, the Psychedelic Furs couldn't
be said to have played up to their name
Sunday night at the Michigan Theatre.
They did, however, enthrall their
eyeliner-ridden, demanding post-punk
Lead singer Richard Butler vocally
caressed the crowd into a sort of cap-
tive mesmerization with a stage
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presence comparable to a young David
Bowie 'on ,quaaludes. He's smooth to
move, but verbally abrasive in the
brusque drone of his melody. At the
same time, he remains somewhat
detached from the moment, ensconced
instead in an intriguing self-absorption
which throbs with an intensity of
mystery and maybe mostly pretension.
Who's to say? Let's call it art and.
forego judgement. Unabashedly nar-
cissistic (Oh, the consequences of being
a rock star - or would "new wave"
star be more appropriate?), Butler
maintains a degree of tastefulness in
-his self-indulgence - a brusque sort of
tastefulness - such that when he com-
mands the audience to "Love My
Way," it's hard to argue otherwise. Too
cool for comfort, indeed.
The Furs' concert, orthe experience
thereof, is a personification of Butler
himself, or an abstraction of his
presence. (Butler would agree, it would
seem and relish is the bias of such an
attribute.) As a result, the music is
more confident when Butler is holding a
cigarette because Butler himself is thus
assured of his suavity, drag in hand.
While no -one is sure whether Butler
really smokes, he does handle his
cigarettes admirably, even while snap-
ping his fingers. Such a feat is coveted
by many seasoned smokers, and ac-
complished by a rare and talented few.
Again, the man is sublimely cool.
The Furs' music has been
categorized as anything from punk to
post-new wave. It's hard to say these
days, expecially since the Furs are
even played on CKLW. Maybe it's safer
to conjecture that the Furs are a
prototype for a classification yet to
In any event, the sensation the Furs
delivered Sunday night would be com-
parable to a sea before a storm, to be
tritely poetic. The listener is drawn in
by an overwhelm of something ominous,
yet fascinating, and at the same time,
curiously alluring. But this is only at
the peak of the Furs' performance. You
might say the concert began at ebb tide,
and worked up to the furor of high tide
by the set's end.
The first two pieces, "Into You Like a
Train," followed by "President Gas,"
were executed without flaw as well as
enthusiasm. It was obvious that Butler
and band have been on tour for too long
a stretch, and did not want to be on
stage at the Michigan Theatre. It
wasn't until they played "Dumb
Waiters" that Butler, cigarette in hand,
and the rest of the Furs lit up with
energy, smoldering with confidence.
Butler spent most of the show en-
ticing a groping groupie audience at the
end of a runway off the stage. If you
saw the audience, you would commend
the man for his courage. The rest of the
band remained back on the stage,
although brother Tim Butler made a
few shunned (physically, by Butler) at-
tempts to vie for molestations en
masse. The band itself should be com-
mended for playing to please instead of
to tease, as Butler seems to prefer.
In any event, Butler and the in-
strumentalists rendered an outstanding
performance by working together. You
might say the Furs furtively furled a
fury of phantasmagoric musical
phenomena. Now that's psychedelic.
H E CROSSED HIS long legs and
leaned forward to wipe sweat from
his forehead with the towel he had
strewn across his shoulders. "A great
song and a great performance will
always make a hit," John Hall ex-
plained. Having just completed his 40-
minute opening set for Bob Seger at
Cobo Hall Sunday evening, Hall and
company proved just that.
Hall continued, "I love everything
from Vanity 6 to Joni Mitchell to the
Police." However, as fellow band
member Bob Leinbach pointed out,
"There are really only two kinds of
music, as Louis Armstrong once said-
good and bad." The John Hall Band
seems to be concentrating on the for-
mer, as evidenced at Sunday night's
"We don't want to get pigeon-holed
into one musical category...As soon as
you get restricted it's no fun," Hall
profesed - obviously aware of the
stereotypes prominent in today's' pop
music industry. Being restricted is the
primary reason John Hall departed
from the "pop" organism called
Orleans. When he was with that group
they produced such hits as "Still the,
One" and "Dance With Me."
"It got to the point where Orleans
became a commercial-pop-group,"
Hall explained. "There's nothing wrong
with a pop group," Leinbach added,
"we just don't want to get on a ban-
dwagon." Leinbach can empathize with
Hall's departure from Orleans - Lein-
bach, in fact, was John's replacement in
the band. The two left for identical
reasons - namely stagnation.
In their new creation, the John Hall
Band, both Hall and Leinbach allow
themselves the space to follow their
own instincts. "I think we're actually
being true to ourselves with our
music...If you try and follow a trend by
cutting an album with that (the trend)
in mind, by the time the record comes
out the trend will have changed," Hall
laments. The only way the band has
found to combat that artistic con-
finement is to "let loose - right or
wrong, a song should have a life of its
own. A song is something that allows all
the influences in your life to come out -
it shouldn't be contrived," Hall said.
Nothing in John Hall's life seems con-
trived at this point. He's an artist that
follows his beliefs, whether they are
popular or not. One battle he fights for
vehemently is the anti-nuclear cause.
"I have a three-year-old daughter,"
Hall explained, "and that has a lot to do
with my concern for the future. I have a
new song called "security," which is
about nuclear arms. I don't know about
you, but those things make me feel
anything but secure. I don't want my
daughter to grow up in a world that
may be blown up by nuclear bombs.
There has never been a weapon
produced that hasn't eventually beebi
used. What makes nuclear arms arty
Hall's forceful political beliefs dofN
take anything away from his music; as
a matter of fact, his emotional ties to
such a cause bring a power to his reti-
ditions that would be absent fron
another performer's. His song entitled
"Power" conveyed a story about the
dreaded nuclear problem. A few weeks
later Three Mile Island occured. Never
let it be said that rock 'n' roll isn't
John Hall and his group of unrestric-
ted rock 'n' rollers will give Ann Arbor
audiences an opportunity to experience
their expansive music at the Second
Chance this evening. "We get onstage
and play, what we want," John Aall
says. Be assured they'll play what the
audience wants - good music. <
The John Hall Band will be performing tonight at the Second Chance. Hall is
best-known for his work with mainstream pop band Orleans, but today he
wants to shake that restrictive image.
The child is father to the man
By Deborah Robinson
'Live And Let Live' (Salsoul)
Although Live And Let Live is an
album of competent funk grooves, it is a
major disappointment coming from
Aurra. Just a year ago, this group was
on the cutting edge of funk with the
searing rock guitar of "Make Up Your
Mind" and the incessant groove of "A
On this year's model, they sound just
dlike another formula outfit. The
strongest cuts here include "You Can't
Keep On Walking" and "Undercover
Lover," which attempt with moderate
success to re-create "A Little Love."
"Such A Feeling" works best, however,
with its original, hypnotic bass line.
Despite several good moments, Live
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And Let Live is basically a sandwich of
self-respect platitudes around a core of
fairly funky bass licks.dNext time out,
bassist, producer and band leader
Steve Washington might think about
waiting until he has some stronger
material before he puts out a album.
"Make Up Your Mind," mind you, is a
classic, but Live and Let Live is
basically a dud.
A S THEY THEMSELVES sugges-
ted, in jest or not, the Boys of the
Lough could well be called the Men of
the Lough, if such a name had as good a
ring to it. With only the newest member
of the band "still with a two in the first
digit of his age," and many years of
playing on the road behind them, The
Boys have come of age. In two shows
Sunday night, the band performed dan-
ce music and songs of Scotland, Nor-
thumberland, the Shetland Islands, and
Ireland with a mature finesse im-
pressive to Celtic-trained and
uninitiated ear alike.
I shall state my complaints outright
and, briefly: they didn't play long
enough, and with the exception of
Cathal McConnell, the Boys seemed a
bit bored - as if they had done hun-
dreds of similar shows all over the
world (which they have). After twelve
years of success, perhaps the stiffness
of age is catching up to them.
Aly Bain, from the Shetlands, is the
band's fiddler. He is a superlative
master. of versatility - changing from
an intense, slow aire to the marshalistic
lilt of a Scottish strathspey to the
swinging drive of an Irish reel without
stopping. Aly's playing captures the
feeling of each style he attempts,
without trying to cover up his Shetland
roots. The most fantastic tune of the
night was his rendition of a French-
Canadian version of "MacPherson's
Cathal "Music Machine" McConnel
lived up to my every expectation. Musid
is his life. His fellow band members
good-naturedly teased him which
prevented him from being the only life
of the show. It seemed like he could
have played forever. McConnell plays
both flute and tin whistle, which he
traded at random intervals and in the
middle of tunes. I didn't mind that,
though; it seemed to be in the nature of
his imersion in the music. He played
with the music as he played it, turning
entire tunes inside out and backwards
yet not losing a phrase.
Hopefully the Boys Of the Lough will
return in less than the five year gap
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Such delight should not be denied Ann
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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30,
RACKHAM LECTURE HALL
FREE TO PUBLIC
to the Movies °E
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