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March 30, 1985 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-03-30

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The Michigan Daily Saturday, March 30, 1985 Page 5
'Guadalcanal Diary'redefines eclectic

By Hobey Echlin
W alking in the shadow of the big
man is a hard thing to do.
Especially if that big man is the likes of
R.E.M., the dB's, the B-52's and many
other bands that have come out of
Georgia's neo-Motownish music mec-
ca. But in a show of diversity, can-
vassing everything from country of
African music, Guadalcanal Diary left
the big man face-down in the mud with
boot-prints on his back. G.D.'s sound
turned the packed Blind Pig crowd into
new followers of this highly talented
band that up until now has retained a
great degree of obscurity as a southern
cult-band, even though they have war-
med up for such acts as the psych Furs
and X. But after Thursday's show, they
probably won't be the ones opening for
It's Raining opened the show with a
surprisingly strong set, featuring ex-
cellent sound, a formidable Brian Eno
cover, and fantastic drum-work from
Brad Ross Fairman. "Radioland," the
title track from their EP, proved to be
the strongest song in the set, as
singer/guitarist Matthew Smith alter-
nated spastic guitar work and spirited
Guadalcanal Diary appeared,
opening with a smooth cover of the
Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows,"
a kind of friendly gesture to the new
Northern audience. "Michael
Rockefeller" followed with clean, Byr-
dsy vocals from frontman Murray At-
taway and varying guitar work from
Jeff Walls, ranging from subtle, quick
picking to ringing chord shifts from his
cutaway Rickenbacher.
"Dead Eyes" came next, revealing
the more harsh side of the band with its
sound, like a cross between the Damned
and the Grateful Dead. Carrying their
macabre theme to the heartstrings,
G.D. followed next with the ballad of
the help-seeking homicidal maniac
called "Please Stop Me".
And if you're doubting G.D.'s in-
tegrity about now, understand it's all
part of their unique ability to combine
the uncombinable. Not many bands can
open with a psychedelic Beatles' cover
and then break into a song that fuses
the unlikely elements of country and
African rhythms, as heard in "Michael
Rockefeller." But when you see bassist
Rhett Crowe doin' a bit of Southern
clogging while John Poe pounds out a
heavy tom-laden tribal beat during

"Dead Eyes," you know it just comes
naturally to G.D.
The theme of combining the uncom-
binable is also manifest in the more ab-
stract spiritual element of the band.
Songs like "Fire from Heaven" and
"Why Do the Heathens Rage?" are fun
songs you can dance to. But underneath
lies what writer Murray Attaway
described as his "personal fascination
with Christianity as a force." A force,
Attaway adds, that through history has
been responsible for the unlikely com-
bination of starting the most wars and
producing some of the best music ever
Don't get me wrong; G. D. is no
religious band. Songs like "Gilbert
Takes the Wheel," are instrumentals
and nothing else but professions of
musical talent. "Gilbert" was my per-
sonal favorite of the show, I guess just
because it sounds like Iron Butterfly
doing "I Will Follow" and quickly shifts
into a kind of rock fusion. And if you're
still not convinced that G.D. isn't some
Zen-mastered outfit, their heavy metal
cover of "Johnny B. Goode" that had
Murray "gatoring" on his back with
maracas while drummer John Poe sip-
ped a beer disinterestedly, ought to be
proof enough.
G. D. ended their set with "Watusi
Rodeo," picking up on the
congo/cowboy theme of "Michael
Rockefeller," heard in "Rodeo" 's mix
of country guitar and African drum-
ming and natives-cum-cowhands
Still fusing the disparate, G. D.
managed to thoroughly amaze and
please the Pig with its diverse encore
set. "I Can See For Miles" found its
way into the middle of a frenzied
"Kumbayah," while "Minnie the
Moocher" (you know, the song Cab
Calloway sings in the Blues Brothers)
had a surprising "London Calling"
opening. The white hat of the "Gun-
smoke" theme got a chuckle or three,
while the black hat of the fallen gun-
slinger in "(I Wish I Shot) Johrt

Wayne" had the audience singing the
grating "Steppin' Stone"-ish chorus.
And if you'd never think all those songs
and tastes could be put into a 4-song en-
core, well, you'll get a chance to see
them again in about 6 months, but
that'll probably be at the Michigan
One final note about the band itself.
I've been saying all along how G. D. can
mix oil and water and come up with
something a helluva lot better than a
sour salad dressing. The band as people
are proof enough of that. Bassist Rhett
Crowe, clad in a Twister-mat skirt and
cowboy boots, with large, clear horn-
rimmed glasses dominating her close-
cropped hair and makeup-less face,
learned bass just three years ago, and
admits her lacking in musical prowess.
But she seems to be the one having all
the fun. Drummer John Poe, a lanky
veteran of bands, has a style that
suggests his simple 5-piece set and he
are somehow organically attached.
"Drum just came natural," he com-
ments, which seems okay from
someone who suggests his musical in-
spiration comes from "listening to bir-
ds" and other elements of nature.
Guitarist Jeff Walls combines about
twelve styles into his own unlikely
style, which fuses, among other things
the sporadic harmonics of the Edge of
the clean picking and chord work of a
blues* master. Never have I seen
smoother twelve-string than Jeff Walls,
What's more is he's got these "little
sausage fingers," as Rhett called them,
that make him an even more unlikely
guitar pro.
Writer/guitarist Murray Attaway
looked a bit like something out of a
Dead show, in his black robe and
amulet necklace. But as he explained
they aren't gimmicks: the robes are
comfortable, and the amulet, well,
that's a gift from a friend. No story, no
gimmick, just there.
And now you're probably asking
yourself how they can combine into one
band. Beats me, but somehow they do
it, and did it at the Pig Thursday night.

Daily Photo by ANDREW PORTER
'Guadalcanal Diary' rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist Murray Attaway helped prove that his band from Georgia is not
an imposter but a very impressive unit.
'Fals,,taff' proyes deliejous

By Jeffrey Seller
F ALSTAFF is an irresistable
opera. Synthesizing bright,
vivacious music and farcical, innocent
comedy, it is packed with charming,
eccentric characters and hysterical
situations that inspire our interest and
subsequently evoke our laughter and
enjoyment. Indeed, as presented Thur-
sday night by the University of
Michigan School of Music, it proved
that only one trapped in a sensory
deprivation tank could fail to delight in
this endearing opera.
Based on Shakespeare's The Merry
Wives of Windsor, the opera depicts the
frolicking efforts of Sir John Falstaff,
portrayed Thursday night by Stephen
Morscheck,.to retain his hedonistic way
of life by wooing two wives of Windsor
and consequently gaining access to
their fortunes. One hairbrained scheme
leads to another, and after numerous
silly situations, reminiscent of Abbott
and Costello movies, Falstaff receives
his due justice from the townsfolk.
The cast sings their roles with
varying degrees of vocal proficiency.
While I do not claim to be anything but
opera appreciator and theatre critic.
20/20 - George Benson
(Warqer Bros.)
Who is this masked man? Beneath a
veneer of slick, pop sounding MOR
songs 'with synthetic drums stands
George Benson. Remember him he
of the jazz guitar? He of fusion and soul?
Gone is that Benson of yesteryear, as
we clear for an album of purely com-
mercial material.
20/20, THIS new release from Ben-
son, doesn't contain one song penned
by the artist. This neat package of AM
radio love songs seems crafted to sell
him more as a pop-singer. The album
opens up with the bright, peppy "No
One Emotion," on which he doesn't
even play guitar. Instead, Benson has
been replaced by Michael Sembello,
which makes it sound quite a bit like
Maniaz of Flashdance fame. This
song, along with several of the other
numbers, including the catchy "Hold
Me," mixes pure pop with clean
production. It's fun and might even
deserve to do well, commercially.
However, it's just not like anything one
is used to associating with George Ben-
son. Drum machines and synthesizers
make up the bulk of this album
(although not in a heavy-handed way,
thankfully), and Benson merely plays
for occasional lead guitar fillers.
There is one piece that's straight

combined to write this review, I will
assert that Morscheck, as Falstaff,
projects a rich, focused baritone that
commands our attention, and Gregory
S. Broughton as Fenton, a young knight
seeking the hand of a local girl, projects
a bright tenor quality that rings with
clarity and beauty throughout the
Under the stage direction of Jay
Lesenger, the cast executes well and
with coherent togetherness. Nowhere
are their efforts more clear than in the
second act when Ford, the husband of
one of the wives Falstaff is wooing,
along with a group of armed townsmen,
rip-roars through his own house in
search of that scoundrel Falstaff, who
hides in a closet, then laundry basket.
Undergarments from clothing baskets
and stacks of paper from desk drawers
fly, wives run to and fro hiding Falstaff
from the men, and to complicate mat-
ters more, two young lovers run around
searching for kissing spots. Indeed,
chaos fills the house, but all is even-
tually rectified and the men and women
delight in Falstaff's defeat as he is
carried away in a laundry basket to be
dumped in the river.
This scene also beautifully exem-
plifies the amalgamation of music and

drama that Falstaff achieves. The
music, conducted by Gustav Meier,
director of University orchestras and
opera, breathes with the action, fueling
the chaos and suspense, and accom-
panying the dramatic victory with a
vitality that sends our spirits soaring.
Lesenger's visual artistry reaches its
height in the final act when the town-
sfolk, young and old, dressed as goblins
and witches, seek their final revenge on
Falstaff. Here, an animated mass of
people beautifully costumed in heavy,
rough textured reds, burgundies, and
browns, set against a blue-lit night,
move as one to taunt, scare and
aggravate the silly protagonist.
Lesenger is a director who knows
precisely how to provide an audience
with a good time. His opera never
misses a beat, from the first moment
when we are introduced to the lovable
rogue, to the last, when he is chased off
stage by an energetic group of eight
year old boys. Indeed, as the ensemble
;sings, "the world is merely folly, and
men are born to be jolly," one cannot
help but get caught up in the fun!
Falstaff runs through Sunday at the
Power Center. Saturday's performance
is at 8:00 pm and Sunday's performan-
ce is at 2 pm. Tickets are available at
the door.

Slade School of Fine Arts, University of London
Painting and Drawing for Credit of Non-Credit
Through The University of Michigan School of Art
July 1- August 8, 1985
Tuesday, April 2, 12:30 Wednesday, April 3, 12:30
Art & Architecture Building, Room 2213, North Campus

In repl...
Is passive smoking more"
than a minor nuisance
or real annoyance.
That's a broad and vague statement being made in a nation-wide, multi-
million dollar campaign by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.
For those who are fortunate not to have a chronic lung or heart disease,
who don't suffer from allergies, or who may not have an acute respiratory
illness that may be true. However, medical evidence is conclusive: passive
smoking is injurious to a large number of individuals - young and old, rich
and poor, and from any ethnic group.

music, titled "Stand Up." It's jazzy and
breezy, a big change from the rest of
the material. However, there are also.
two incredibly schlocky numbers that
make for purely painful listening. His
voice drowned in reverb, Benson now
needs only Jim Steinman to over-
produce "Nothing's Gonna Change My
Love For-You," making it an AM radio
hit, deservant of a rendition by Air Sup-
ply. The lyrics are pathetically sweet to
the point of saccharine (or maybe
Nutrasweet, now), ahd one could easily
lose track of how many times the word
"love "is mentioned, as in the chorus:
Nothing's gonna change my love for
you, you oughta know by now how
much I love you. One thing you can
be sure of, I'll never ask for more
than your love. . . Needless to say,,
this speaks for itself.
One truly bright spot on 20/20 is Ben-
son's rendition of the 40's song,
"Beyond the Sea." Upbeat and
classically big band sounding, this song
is great fun. However, there just isn't
enough of it to counterbalance the rest
of this album.
Takiing off in a new direction, Benson
seems to be reaching for wider com-
merical appeal, maybe just more of
that MOR audience that has been won
over by artists such as Lionel Richie.
For some, this might seem an attrac-
" c T~

tive direction. However, for those who
were fans of Benson's older styles, their
vision of this artist is no longer exactly
- Beth Fertig
3020 Washtenaw Ave., Ypsilanti, 434-1782
Fri.,Mon.-Thurs. 5,7, 9
Sat"&Sun 1 3,5,7,9
Fri., Mon Thurs. 4:45, 7:05, 9:25
1214 S. University - Phone 668-6416
Fri., Mon Thurs 4 30 7 00, 9:30
Sat. & Sun. 2:00, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30
231 S. State - Phone 662-6264
Fri, Mon Thurs 5:25 7:30 9 35
Fri., Mon.-thurs. 5:25,7:30, 9:35
Sat. &Sun.1103:205:25,7:30,9:35
Fri., Mon Thurs.5:20,7:25,9:30
Sat. & Sun. 1:05, 3:15, 5:20, 7:25, 9:30

'I -(K' utJ t2SCPtD \u AT OU'Y

Smoking is legal, no 'question about that.
But who has the right in a public place to
give some innocent bystander what the to-
bacco industry down plays as a "minor nui-
sance" or "real annoyance"?
According to the tobacco industry, smok-
ing is a personal decision made by adults.
Unfortunately the sidestream smoke from a
cigarette, pipe or cigar becomes public, af-
fecting everyone around, and therefore
should be subject to certain rules, controls
and laws to protect people in public places.
If we can have laws to protect us from
outdoor air pollution, why not for indoor
pollution from toxic tobacco smoke?

The tobacco industry complains about nonsmokers: "Total strangers feel
free to abuse us verbally in public without warning." That's usually the re-
sult when someone assaults another, and being forced to breathe another's
tobacco smoke is considered assault.
The majority of Americans are nonsmokers. There's something wrong
with the system when those in the minority can have such a drastic effect
on the majority ... and that's what so often happens when smokers' sides-
tream smoke invades the public air space of nonsmokers.
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