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November 22, 1985 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-11-22

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Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 22, 1985

Talent and the limits of genre

Records

1

BARS & CLUBS

I N YET ANOTHER evening of
country-rock/cowpunk/whatever-
the-hell, Austin's Zeitgest and last-
minute additions, Dreaming In Color,
played the Blind Pig Wednesday
night. The show was overall a
promising success, but at the same
time revealed some of the real
limitations of the whole Southern rock
sound.
As a raw band begins performing, it
often develops character while
becoming polished. Dreaming In
Color was a perfect example of a band
that has never had this opportunity.
Taking the stage at the last minute
to replace 66 Spy, Dreaming proved to
be well polished and competent, but
completely styleless, save that of
their prototype, REM. Dreaming also
tended to take themselves much too
seriously. This was especially evident,
as the bassist continually admired

himself in the mirror on the opposite
wall, and the members seemed to
idolize themselves much more than
the majority of their audience did.
Dreaming is a technically adept
band, however, they must develop
their OWN character in order to
produce some great music. This
greatness was achieved on the final
song, Big Star's "September Girls,"
on which Matt Smith from It's
Raining succeeded in adding the
necessary character for great music
on the successful cover.
Zeitgeist was not exempt from
problems either. Having been given
the albatross of a fashionable label,
they were confronted with the task of
proving themselves to be more than
just another "down-home Southern
rock band." This was made in-
creasingly difficult by the absence of
co-writer/guitarist/vocalist Kim

Longacre, (she was on maternity
leave); which prevented the band
from performing up to the potential
promised on their album, Translate
Slowly. They were hindered by in-
compatible vocals put forth by the
bassist; as they continually failed to
establish the essential contrast to the
droning lead vocals. "Sound and the
Fury" is just one example of a great
song on vinyl, tainted in concert by
the bassist's irritating tone.
Instrumentally, Zeitgeist proved to
have the power absent in most other
bands in their genre. "Things Don't
Change" and "Without My Sight"
were just fantastic, as were the two
instrumentals; which exemplified the
band's ebullience and high capacity
for musical greatness, with layered
harmonies and riffs building very ef-
fectively.
Ignoring the substitute vocalist, the
energy of Zeitgeist's performance
thrusted them beyond mediocrity -
and hopefully emancipated them
from the crippling genre of "Southern
rock."
- Katie Gentile

Stevie Wonder -
In Square Circle
(Tamla)
For somebody who hasn't released
an album in about four years, Stevie
has done awfully well. His "Ebony
and Ivory" single with Paul McCar-
tney three years ago (can it have been
that long?) was a smash, and he
pulled in a hit last year - as well as
an Academy Award - with the
sugary "I Just Called to Say I Love
You" from The Woman in Red soun-
dtrack.
And yet, with the phenomenal suc-
cess of Michael Jackson's Thriller,
he's been knocked off the perch as the
number one Motown child. Never
mind that Jackson can't hold a
sequined glove to Stevie for sen-
sitivity or subtlety, the man sold 15
million copies of his record.
So here's Stevie, and he's com-
pletely unflustered. He needed a good
album to prove his sabbatical wasn't
permanent burnout, and he's got
one: no gimmicks, no saccharine
hooks, just the same good music he's

been putting out since long before
Jackson had his nose fixed.
Wonder remains a genius with a
synthesizer. Now that we are thank-
fully moving from a time when every
band that could afford it (read Soft
Cell, et. al.) threw in a synth, into an
era of intelligent synthetic sound (like
the Eurythmics), it's refreshing to
hear someone who hasn't forgotten
that music can still sound nice.
As far as composition goes, Wonder
hasn't slipped a notch. He seems less
to write songs than to carve them out
of the music he hears all around him.
He tried to explain some of that in the
mid '70s; here he's just doing it.
It's tough to tell, but some of these
songs may actually rank with Stevie's
best. (And that's no small com-
pliment.) The vanguard single "Part-
Time Lover" and "Stranger on the
Shore of Love" are both engaging
without being syrupy. But the
strongest cut is probably
"Whereabouts" which seems another
timeless gem from the Motown mine.
But Wonder's finest talent is still his
voice. He's singing here as well as
ever, and thankfully he's discarded
the vocoder from "I Just Called to
Say I Love You."
What we have is vintage Stevie
from a rested artist who promises to
stay as strong as he was at age 15 long
after Michael Jackson takes to
wearing street clothes.

FRIDAY
The Ark - (761-1451) - The RFD
Boys, the Robin Flower Band, and
North Country Grass are featured in
the Bluegrass Jamboree.
Bird of Paradise - (662-8310)
The Jeff Kressler Trio features jazz
vocalist Patty Richards.
The Blind Pig - (996-8555)
Thrill to the wild rockabilly sounds
of Tracy Lee and the Leonards.
The Earle - (994-0211) - The jazz
ensemble of Rick Burgess and Patty
O'Connor is featured tonight.
The Heidelberg -- (663-7758) --
Mary and Gary play oldies rock,
country, and folk on electric and
acoustic guitars.
Main Street Comedy Showcase -
(996-9080) - Rich Jenny brings his
zany, sharp delivery to town tonight.
Mr. Flood's Party - (995-2132) -
Fluitist-trumpeter Bugs Beddow
leads his tight fusion band.
Mountain Jack's - (665-1133) -
Enjoy Don Dowland's blend of music
and comedy.
The Nectarine Ballroom - (994-
5436) - Dance to Top-40 tunes.
Rick's American Cafe - (996-
2747) - Get frantic with the diverse
rock styles of Detroit Panic.
U-Club - (763-2236) - DJ Tom
Simonian spins the new-music discs.
SATURDAY

COOKIES
1 Don't be o turkey,
Take a dozen of M rs. Pea body's '
f I
cookies to Mom's for Thanksgiving
f $l9ofdozen
Holiday Orders Coupon must be presented
761-CHIP Offer valid through 11-28-85
... -...- -- ---- - --... - ."

I

N I
Bird
(~Of
Parcdise
JAZZ CLUB
The Bird of Paradise
Ann Arbor's Only Jazz Club
Located at 207 South Ashley
662-8310

Featuring:
LIVE JAZZ
ENTERTAINMENT
Seven nights a week
9:00 P.M. - 1:30 A.M.
BUT
We're not just a nightclub. Come join
us Monday-Friday, 5 P.M.- 8 P.M. for
" Happy Hour Drink Specials
" After work Snacks
ALSO
Wed.-Friday & Football Saturdays
Live Music 5:30 P.M. - 7:30 P.M.

-Joseph Kraus

I

The Ark - (761-1451) - Stylish,
entertaining, spirited piano with
Mark "Mr. B" Braun.
Bird of Paradise - (662-8310) -
Jeff Kressler Jazz Trio with melodic
Patty Richards on vocals.
The Blind Pig - (996-8555) - Ann
Arbor's talented, Tracy Lee and
Leonards jam with cool inter-
pretations of some of the best pop-
rock tunes.
The Earle - (994-0211) - Once
again, Rick Burgess and Patty
O'Connor entertain.
The Heidelberg - (663-7758) -
The merry, melodic and varied
tunes of Mary and Gary.
Main Street Comedy Showcase -
(996-9080) - Witty ad-libber Rich
Jenny.
Mr. Flood's Party - (995-2132) -
Raspy jazz sounds with Detroit's
Bugs Beddow Group.
Mountain Jack's - (665-1133) -
Get down with contemporary'
musician and comedian Don
Dowland.
The Nectarine Ballroom - (994-
5436) - Roll with the dance-band,
Motown style of Domino.
Rick's American Cafe - (996-.
2747) - Join vocalist Chris Schuller
and Detroit Panic with their ska-
based rock.
SUNDAY

6
0
9

0

The Ark - (761-1451) - Tom
Chapin, brother of the late Harry
Chapin, is a star in his own right.
Bird of Paradise - (662-8310) -
Fine jazz bassist Ron Brooks and his
trio.
Main Street Comedy Showcase -
(996-9080) - Open Mike Night!
Correction
John Prine will be performing at
the Power Center Saturday night
(not Thursday, as incorrectly
reported) at 8 p.m. Tickets are
$11.50.

PASS
IT
AROUND!

Ii ft-I

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