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October 10, 1984 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-10-10

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Wednesday, October 10, 1984

The Michigan Daily

Page 6


TKOs Ann Arbor

By Byron L. Bull
Despite the very serious threat of
nearly being up-staged by Pete Holsap-
ple and the dB's (who put on a damn
fine show), R.E.M. took the stage of the
Michigan Theater Monday night and
put on the sort of memborable evening
that is a rare treat for concert-goers.
When the band assumed the stage and
thundered out the opening chords of
"Radio Free Europe" and brought the
audience to their feet for the duration of
the concert, they solidified their stance
as once of the few popular bands who
can put on a unpretentious, intimate,
musically-sound performance in a hall
Sampling judiciously from their two
albums and EP, the band provided a

smart set of their best material, with a
few tantalizingly good new songs, and
more than a few nifty surprises, added
for fun.
Live, their sound is a little bit more
raw than on vinyl, but then R.E.M. is a
band that can quite intelligently
rearrange its material with rewarding
Their trademark gentle wood
percussion and piano shadings may be
gone, but the songs take on a new
liveliness with their more charged,
kinetic delivery.
While the guitars are perhaps
R.E.M's most distinguished sound, it
was Mike Mills sensual, outright lyrical
basework coupled with Bill Baley's
ferocious, tribal-like drumming that
formed the core of band onstage.
Peter Buck was easily the most flam-

boyant member of the band, bounding
from stage left to stage right, stopping
only to deliver a well timed kick at
Baley's cymbals. His guitar playing on
stage still had its characteristic
richness, but with considerably more
opportunity for power chording
flourishes. At the same time though,
Buck could pause and coax out notes so
gentle and delicate they almost faded
into the hiss of the amplifiers.
Vocalist Michael Stipe had his
graveled, rough voice intact, but with a
more resonating, emotionally
penetrating edge to his cries and
whispers. Withering and contorting on-
stage, often silhouetted by stark blue
backlighting, Stipe was often a startling
figure to watch. While not a
charismatic performer per se, he has
his own uniquely moving approach that
does work.
The curious thing about the bands'

stage presence is their apparent refusal
to theatricize themselves. They still
exhibit the sort of unchoreographed
free-for-all attitude one usually sees
only in young bands. Many may find
cause for disapproval in this approach,
I frankly found it refreshing in its own
right. 'And this is still a relatively new
band, that still has plenty of room to
By far, the most enjoyable aspect of
the affair was the pervading spirit of
complete spontaneity. From a gorgeous
a capella rendition of "Moon River" by
Stipe and Mills, to Mike Hosapple's ap-
pearance during the encore to lead the
band through a fine cover of the Beach
Boys's "I Wanna Go Home", this was
one of the more relaxed, unpretentious
shows this critic has had the pleasure to
witness. And the band itself must have
felt comfortable to go ahead and do
their own version of "So You Want To

Be a Rock and Roll Star" after those
countless associations to the Byrds the
press has tagged them with. ,
There are some who I'm certain
didn't find the band ingratiating enough
to satisfy them, and no doubt some of
the audience would have been happier
with a more perfunctory, fans-favorites
repetoire. R.E.M., however showed no

signs of sinking to either mentality, and
consequently gave the sort of intimate,
captivating concert most bands com-
plain they can't do in a theater, when
they really don't have the sense of
ethics and love for their work to go out4
and do. Bravo to the gentlemen from

10 A.

R 80 U.S.

The scene: American Megaversity
-The Big U.
The time: fall semester enrollment,
1984 or thereabouts.
Overage freshman Casimir Radon
is up to his neck in red tape, two of his
dormmates engage in stereo warfare
(heavy-metal vs. fugues), a "worm" eats
away at the crucial computer system, "The Airheads"
( 4') battle "The Terrorists" (d ), and the rest of the campus has
become a hotbed of cults, mutant rats, Crotobaltoslavonian freedom-fighters,
radioactive waste, educational theory, drugs, Dungeons & Dragons .
You have only two ways to find out what happens. Transfer to American
Megaversity. Or read THE BIG U. It's a novel.
A Vintage Original Paperback
Now at your bookstore, or for credit card orders call TOLL-FREE: 1-800-638-6460
ANNIVERSARY YEAR- A division of Random House

A Y, C
M. to



2 P.M.

Mich. League Ballroom

Daily Photo by DAN HABIB
Michael Stipe,.lead singer for R.E.M., displays his spastic showmanship in
Monday night's concert at the Michigan Theater.
The Third Rail brings



new sound
By Dov Cohen
FOR THOSE of you who could tear
yourselves away from the
Presidential debates, Sunday's all ages
show featuring the Third Rail was a
real treat.
I wouldn't go so far as to say The
Third Rail was electrifying in their
nightclub debut (though it would be a
helluva line), but they were at the very,
very least, promising.
A five member band from Com-
munity High School, Third Rail seems
bent on making it in Ann Arbor.
Although they have only been together
for 2 years and 7 performances, the
r. 5th Avenue at Ubert St.}
761-9700 : ,{,...
DAILY 1 st MATINEE $2.00
A N 0 T H E R ?'
DAILY 1:00, 7:00, 900
Emotionally Touching}
and Richly Haunting...
2 '9


to Pig

group has already cut an album of all
originals. (If they get a label, it should
be out in the next four months).
"It's rock by Pete Townshend's
definition," said guitarist Alex John-
son, describing the band's sound.
After a stiff but passable beginning
cover of Creem's "Sunshine Of Your
Love," the band loosened up and kicked
into what turned out to be their best
song of the evening, "Can You Help."
'Help' is a fantastic song by any stan-
dard, but it is downright unbelievable
by high school ones.
Everything jelled in this acid piece.
Charismatic guitarist Alex Johnson
kept up a driving, energetic tempo and
Ben Wilson chipped in with stirring
keyboard work.
Th& band was at its best when doing
their own. work. Johnson did double
duty on Dream Alone, another bright
original, leading the band with his tight
guitar work and helping out Charlie
Dental with some very pleasing vocals.
His solo on Nothing Left also showed
the band at its head banging best.
Their covers, which surprisingly only
made up 3 of their 15 songs, were a
mixed bag. "Sunshine" and
"Roadrunner" by the Who were accep-
table, but nothing like the group's
beautifully executed, kick-ass rendition
of "Sympathy for the Devil."
All their songs weren't that good. A
few like "I'm Falling" and "Mr. But-
terfly" proved to be pleasant bu4
forgettable. They seemed detatched
and never captured the group's en-
thusiasm. Sure, the music was fine; it
just didn't energize like the others did.
However, "Pushed Down I and II,"
though they didn't have the immediate
appeal of 'Help', did have all the
markings of songs that are quick to
grow on you.
Luckily, the fellas weren't too busy
concentrating on the music that the4
forgot to perform. Dental and Johnson
proved themselves to be quite
uninhibited on the stage. Dental would
march up and down, as Johnson would
strum the guitar in dramatic Town-
shend-like strokes.
It's too bad the drummer was hidden
back in the corner, because judging
from the sound, he would have been
something to see also. Throughout the
performance, the band was intense and

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