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January 31, 1986 - Image 8

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-01-31

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Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 31, 1986
Maniac-ly frustrating

4

'Old-timers,' New dance

By Byron Bull tifice, she affects a spontaneous,
graceful manner, breaking into
P LAYING THE bar/club circuit something like impressionistic
is a heavy enough due for any gestures of a traditional folk dance,
fledgling band to pay, but for certain sashaying and spinging across the
bands, those with a highly unique stage with a childlike gracefulness.
vision requiring special con- As for the band, they are an ex-
sideration, the experience can be par- tremely well versed, articulate en-
ticularly harrowing. Such was the semble, seamlessly integrating any
case with 10,000 Maniacs, who not number of styles into whimsical, at
pnly had to deal with the far from times playfully charming melodies.,
adequate staging accomodations at though they also have a strong nerve
Rick's American Cafe Wednesday for good basic rockmanship and can
niight, but on top of it were faced with belt out a rough rhythm to match any
a less than ideal audience. The band barband veterans. Particulrly im-
prevailed dignity intact, and made a pressive was Robert Buck, whose
most impressive showing, but the evocative, thrilling guitarwork might
evening was far from memorable. best be described - and this doesn't
do it justice - as part Bruce Cock-
SOn vinyl, the Maniacs cut finely bur yiimadpr oetFip
crafted, often beautifully delicate urn lyricism and part Robert Fripp
'snsthat rsuet traditional experimentation, and was woven in
songs thtressurect rdtoa and around the songs with haunting
"Anglo-American folk styles through a effect.
thoroughly modern pop perspective. ebts
What the band brought out in live in- The problem is that the Maniacs are
terpetaionwasavitlit, aviban-not a bar band, they belong in a more
terpretation was a vitality, a vibran- intimate, respectful surrounding than
cy, that one could only sense as the cramped, rowdy meatmarket
suggested on their last album, but conditions at Rick's. The Maniacs,
that producer Joe Boyd - who ob- crammed onto that ridiculously small
viously listened to the band through the
ears of an old folk purist - whittled makeshift stage, and having to resort
down in the mix. _:- to amplifying the sound beyond
Imagine R.E.M. crossed with tolerable limits just to be heard above
I anifR.E..illandrossed gwtthe general drone of conversation,
Steeleye Span, if you will, and you get were relegated to performing in front
a hint at the Maniac's rich, evocative of an audience instead of playing for
work Theumteriarangingfro one, a change of position they clearly
gentle numbers of pastoral beauty, weren't pleased with.
like the sadly wistful "Back 0' the There were a few irritated looks
Moon" or tenderly nostalgic "Cotton between band members throoughout
Alley", to more edgey, garage-like the show, and Merchant appeared
pieces like "Scorpio Rising" and the restricted in her movements, ob-
nervous, abrasive "My Mother the viously used to having more space to
War" - the latter featuring an exten- perform with
ded discordant improvisation in the Not that their discomfort ever
fine thrash/avant garde tradition of spilled into their playing, for they
the Velvet Underground. were far more gracious performers
Singer/songwriter Natalie Mer- than the crowd of whistling, howling
chant is an impressive figure on piss-drunk regulars around the bar
stage. Devoid of any theatrical ar- deserved. Of course not everyone
there was indifferent, there was a
WARREN MILLER'S significant number of people present
who came because they obviously
were familiar with the band and their
music, and a fair number of the just
AND curious concert goers as well, but
packed in front of the stage like a Mc-
Donalds lunch hour crowd, the
problems of real audience rapport
were more than surmountable.
The band tried to realign the show
accordingly, realizing that Mer-
.chant's singing was only marginally
comprehensible,wand that little sub-
tlety could be picked up in the playing,
they dove into bits of arcane jamming
and an overextended everything-but-
d the-kitchen-sink instrumental that
was a first invigorating but eventually
grew to be tiring, and the show's en-
ding was not so much one of
exhiliration as relief.
II

General consensus among the
genuinely concerned was that 10,000
Maniacs is a great band, with
significant potential, but - I'm not
counting their initial gig here at the
Blind Pig some months ago because I
wasn't there - unless they have a
chance to fully display the breadth of
their talent, in appropriate surroun-
dings - and the Ark would be the
ideal place - we'll have to be
satisfied with this tantalizing,
however frustrating, glimpse.
Books
By Lisa Berkowitz
Morning Star
By Kerry Newcomb
Bantam, $3.95, 384 pp.
"SHE LEFT her brother's side and
hurried to Joel's waiting embrace.
His arms enfolded her and his heart beat
wilder than the drums... "
This passage from Kerry Newcomb's
Morning Star is typical of romatic fic-
tion. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall
in love. In the popular world of
romance novels, however, Morning
Star shines brighter than others of its
genre. It is an adventurous, at times
unbelievable, tale of passion and
courage in a vividly captured past.
The main character is Joel Rya, or
"Silvertip" to the Cheyenne Indians
he befriends. Ryan wins the trust of
the savage Cheyenne's when he
rescures Mourning Dove, sister of the
chief, from a vicious blackmailer.
Mourning Dove and Joel fall in love,
and leave the Cheyenne camp to build
a home out west. Tragedy strikes,
though, and sets Joel on a twelve-year
quest for revenge. But with the help of
another woman he starts life anew
and learns to love again.
The unusual twist in Morning Star is
that there are two heroines. Although
Mourning Dove is pictured on the
book's cover she dies halfway through
the book. This situation is odd in
popular romance fiction, and comes
as a surprise to the reader. Just when
we begin to doubt a happy ending
Sarah McClinton enters the scene.
McClinton is the opposite of the
quiet character of Mourning Dove.
Thoroughly Irish, she possesses a
fiery temper and hair to match. She
leaves Manhattan to live with Joe
Ryan on his Montana ranch. The
situations that bring Sarah and Joel
together are certainly farfetched, but
needless to say, their marriage suc-
ceeds. Sarah is a true heroine in every
respect. She has the courage, pride,
and beauty to keep the reader in-
terested throughout the sometimes
doubtful plot.
Actually this book could have been
two separate novels. The first book
could have been the romance between
Silvertip and Mourning Dove, and the
second book Joel and Sarah's struggle
for survival. Both the characters, ex-
cept Joel, and the scenery change
midway.

By Jose-A rturo Martinez
T HEY ARE the self-described
"old timers" of the U-M dance
department. Though they are not
necessarily the oldest dancers to
go through the Master's program,
they make up in experience for
what they lack in age.
Inside Out is a juxtaposition of
sombre, introspective works with
light, and more entertaining
pieces. Steve Mann and Betsy
Glenn are the choreographers and
sometimes dancers in this concert
for which they will receive credit
for their degrees.
The concert will showcase
various collaborations between
dancers, composers, musicians
and visual artists; most of the dan-
cers are from within the depar-
tment, the others are a group of
Howell, Michigan high school
students.
Mann and Glenn met for the first
time at an audition to be admitted
into the dance program at U of M.
They "hit it off" right from the
start and actually started the
planning for this concert last April.
Steve Mann, 33, is a native of
Texas who has been living for the
last several years in Seattle,
Washington, He's currently a
graduate T.A. in the department
and brings fifteen years of ex-
perience to his role. He is curren-
tly a member of "September Dan-
ces" as well as the local troupe
"Ann Arbor Dance Works".
Among his works to be perfor-
med are "Batterie," a commen-
tary on child abuse which will be
performed to the music of David
Darling on cello and percussion.
"Pipe Dreams," Mann's opening
solo, is a dreamy look at the life of
a street person accompanied by
the music of a porcelain music box.

Steve Mann and Betsy Glenn will present a Master's thesis concert of
original dance works tonight and Saturday in studio "A" of the dance
dept. building, adjacent to the CCRB.

Betsy Glenn, 24, also brings
many years of dance experience
with her as well as an un-
dergraduate degree from E.M.U.
Glenn will present "... and you
go on," a collaboration with com-
poser Jennifer Stasack that looks
at the changes one goes through in
life and it's continuation despite
the obstacles you encounter.
"Found It! !" is a jazz oriented
work which will feature Glenn and
eight dancers from the Howell
area. These dancers are students
of Glenn's from the dance studio in

Howell where she is a teacher. The
work will be performed to the
music of avant garde composer
Brian Eno.
Inside Out will be performing this
Friday and Saturday, Jan. 31, and
Feb. 1 in studio A of the U-M dance
department which is adjacent to
the CCRB located on Central Cam-
pus. The performances will begin
at 8 p.m. and patrons are reminded
that seating is limited and those
who wish to attend should come
early to be assured of a seat.
Tickets are $3 for general ad-
mission.

Records

Lloyd Cole and the Com-
motions - Easy Pieces (Geffen)
Sophomore slump unfortunately sets
in with the Commotions' second LP,
Easy Pieces. Expanding on the suc-
cessful formula of '85s charming and
clever Rattlesnakes - a rocker of an
album complete with lush strings and
Cole's distinctive, jittery voice - the
Commotions have opted for songs
with a much stronger "air play" beat,
a cleaner sound, and for the most
part, lots less personality.
This is not to say that there aren't
any gems to be found among these
Easy Pieces. "Pretty Gone' is a
lovely ditty of unrequited love set
against the backdrop of steady
acoustic guitar picking and a swaying
rhythm. "Grace" almost belongs on

the first album. Amidst a fast back-
beat and whooshing accordion, Cole
speaks/sings his lines in ways which
seem to reshape the words. Cole's
voice is an unusual instrument which
is not quite full enough to sing, but
sort of jiggles and splatters through
his lyrics. Many folks will undoub-
tedly grasp a bit of Dylan or Reed in-
fluences at play, here. And the lyrics
can be nifty prizes, indeed, as in this
particular tune where he says to a
woman: You drown your sins in
amphetamines/do you weary so of
that bitter taste/so you
spit it in my face just to keep you
entertained.
Unfortunately, these two tunes are
the only real highlights of the first
side which is otherwise bogged-down
in tracks which aim too hard at

Ut,

Presents
Sat., Feb.1
7:00 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.
Michigan Theater
Tickets at: Box Office,
Ticketworld,
Bavarian Village

VAN DYCK DOBOS STUDIOS
VALENTINE
SPECIAL
2 - 3" x 5"s for $5.00
if taken before Jan. 31st.
663-6966
" Passport - Immigration
* Resume - Application
" Portraits
"Reasonable Rates"
407 E. WILLIAM
c. Division - Ann Arbor

ilEk

presents .. .

YAKOV
SMIRNOFF
Comedian
Sunday, February 9
8:00 p.m., Power Center "If you ever wonder why Russian men's
Tickets now available at Ticketworld in the Michigan Union teams w if the Olympics all thetime,
and Hudsons: $8, $10. Visa/MC 763-8587 t's because if aen ot win they
Yakov Smirnoff is coming to Ann Arbor! One of the hottest comedians around
and also the only Russian-born Jewish stand-up comic in America. Seen on the
Letterman show, Johnny Carson and Miller Lite beer commercials.
Tickets are Going Fast! Buy Yours Today!

hit-making with much too poppy
arrangements. "Rich" in particular
fails due to an annoyingly bright horn
section and thumping rhythm behind
the singer's whiney, thin vocals. In
fact, on this track it doesn't even -
sound like Cole is singing, as we know
he 'can do much better. And some of
the other tunes, here suffer the same
poor singing and weaker lyrics. The
songs on this album are much more
personal and this doesn't always
work.
The second side is considerably bet-
ter, as it features some stronger num-
bers overall. "Brand New Friend" is
absolutely irresistable; especially,
with a line like Walking in the
pouring rain with Jesus and Jane.
It also leaves the listener free to in-
terpret which person seems to have
let the singer down so that he is now in
need of this "brand new friend."
"Lost Weeknd" is a fun and silly
romp of a sad story, but the lyrics are
too cluttered. And "James" is
a melodramatic ballad which is too
pained. Cole can write a good balladl
- as with the distant, dreary tale of
"2 cv"- but this is not one of them.
The next two tracks are better,
especially the album-closer "Perfect
Blue" which moves from a desolate
harmonica/acoustic guitar combo to
a danceable groove, and an
outreaching effort at friendship.
These few good tracks - which are
probably half of the record's tunes -
make for an extremely inconsistent
album. Compared to last year'
brilliant Rattlesnakes, these Easy
Pieces show that the Commotions had
better put some more sweat into their
next LP before they approach the end
of. a good thing. All in all, a really
disappointing record when one con-
siders how much promise this Scottish
band showed.
- Beth Fertig
U

GET IT FREE!
At these locations:

Dormitories
Mary Markley
Couzens
Alice Lloyd
Mosher-Jordan

Dormitories
(Continued)
Bursley
Baits I
Baits II
nyfnrr inouina

Central Campus
Angell Hall
Mason Hall
Fishbowl
Natural Science Buidlinqi

Central Campus
(Continued)
Michigan Union
Michigan League
Student Activities Building

i

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