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March 10, 1986 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-03-10

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Monday, March 10, 1986 Page 5
New wave Rovers disappoint folk fans

By Joseph Kraus
HILE it's not hard to figure out
Swhy. the Irish Rovers have been
successful for over 20 years, it's
depressing to think they've taken so
much of the spotlight that might have
gone to more talented and inspired
purveyors of Irish folk music.
Friday night's show at Hill
Auditorium was a play-it-safe affair
for the band, who are in the midst of a
lengthy international tour.
The Rovers are a band who play
exactly what they think their
audience will want to hear. They're
skilled at honing their traditional and
traditional-style material into in-
nocuous pop ditties that maintain
their original charm but lose their

substance.
They have added synthesizers and'
drums to their original lineup of
guitar, pennywhistle, banjo, accor-
dion, and bass, instantly giving their
songs a sheen that makes them more
palateable to audiences fed on top-40
fare.
Synthesizers are just plain wrong in
their lineup. Part of the beauty of
Irish folk is that it's dirty. It's a music
that grows out of late night pub sings
and out of sons learning it from
fathers around a fireplace. Syn-
thesizers sound a saccharine note,
disturbingly smooth in comparison to
the rougher and more interesting ac-
cordion.
But the drum set may have been an
even greater blasphemy. Irish folk
music has a subtle yet powerful

rhythm that grows out of verbal and
instrumental phrasings. At its best,
that rhythm constitutes an un-
touchable running commentary on
the words and tune. Trap drums, at
least as the Rovers used them, ex-
changed that magic for a stale pop
backbeat.
But the Rovers are entertainers
before they are serious musicians,
and it is primarily as entertainers
that they must be judged.
Band leader Will Millar comes
across as a spry teller-of-tales and
singer. He has a knack for telling
jokes and has remarkable energy for
a man in his mid-forties.
As pleasant as his manner was, he
seemed disturbingly insincere at
times. The last of the band to leave
the stage after the end of the regular

show, he reappeared for an encore a
scant 15 seconds later. The audience,
which seemed pleased with the show,
would probably have called him back
for more, but most of the fans hardly
had time to begin clapping. Never-
theless, Millar thanked everybody
profusely. He and the band should
simply have skipped the formality of
going off stage.
The band's second most prominent
figure, singer Jimmy Ferguson, was
ultimately nothing short of un-
pleasant. Affecting a fat 'n jolly
stage character for himself, he con-
sistently stretched jokes to where
they were no longer funny. Worse,
when he wasn't acting, he made apish
pantomime, called out distracting
comments when others were talking,
and pulled off some gags in

remarkably poor taste. At what must
have been the low point of the show,
he came out with a paintbrush and
cup of water, spraying everyone on
stage and in the front rows in a
mockery of Catholic holy water.
In similar spirit, Millar and
Ferguson told various jokes that in-
sulted, at different times, blacks and
Chinese Americans. Describing an
African chieftain in a joke, Ferguson
added unnecessarily, "... and he had
a big ghetto blaster on his shoulder."
Similarly told at least two jokes on the
supposed inability of Chinese
Americans to distinguish between
words like "supplies" and "sur-
prise."
The show's high point came, not
surprisingly, when Ferguson had left
the others on stage to do a pair of in-
strumentals. Accordion player Wilcil

McDowell emerged from behind his
synthesizer to give the only stunning
performance of the night. Unfor-
tunately, he went right back to his
synthesizer.
It was frustrating to watch Mc-
Dowell and Millar, who turned in some
impressive performances on the pen-
ny whistle, obscure their talents
behind the insipid arrangements. It's
one thing to serve as ambassadors of
Irish folk music, as the Rovers pur-
port to do, but it is quite another to
sanitize that tradition into a forget-
table strain of pop music the Rovers
have been successful for 20 years, not
because they are innovative and
dynamic musicians, but because they
have always appealed to the least
sophisticated instincts of their
audience.

Musical Baby sings sweet song

By Kathleen Havelind
Spring is coming soon, and with its'
promise of rebirth and new begin-
nings, it can only serve to put you in a
hopeful, bouyant mood. MUSKET'S
production of Baby last Friday
evening echoed that optimism. The
story is about three couples beginning
a frightening yet wonderful journey,
that of bringing a baby into the world.
The first couple, Lizzie (Kate
Ostrow) and Danny (Gary Adler)
were a typical college couple in
idealistic love. The baby for them was
unplanned, but instead of it causing a
strain on their relationship, it draws
Happy
alt Camper
To rock
By John Logie
When writers preview upcoming
shows, we try to seek out odd facts, lit-
tle tidbits of information. We then try
to organize this information in a
pleasing fashion, to encourage the
reader to join in our enjoyment and
anticipation. Unfortunately, I know
very little about Camper Van
Beethoven.
I first heard the band's "Take the
Skinheads Bowling" on WDTX a
couple months ago. My roommmate,
Rob, and I were sitting around, not
paying too much attention. It's got a
wacky chorus, a nifty punk-folk aura,
and lyrics like, "I had a dream, I wan-
ted to lick your knees."
I was sold. I began prowling local
used record stores for a copy of the
album. But before long, I broke down.
Though I generally have an intense
loathing for brand-new, expensive,
plastic-wrapped records, I sidled into
Discount Records, who at the time
had a lonely copy stashed amidst the
"C" section. The cashier told me it was
her teenage son's favorite record, and
that he had good taste, and I liked the
cover a lot, so I reluctantly paid full
price for the record.
The guys at Wazoo had expressed a
wish to hear the single, so I took it
over to the store, and they played a
sizable portion of the first side. I
thought it was pretty good, though I'm
not sure what they thought.
I walked the record home, gave it a
full, attentive listen, and concluded
that Telephone Free Landslide Vic-
S tory was one of the few records worth
paying new-record prices for. It's ch-
ock-full of hilarious lyrics, odd in-
strumentation (violin!) and an en-
dearing haphazard brilliance. The
liner notes feature a listing of the
band's ex-members, and nice ar-
twork.
The record made me very happy
that day. It continues to make me
very happy. And now the band is
coming to the Blind Pig. Based on my
knowledge of the band, the whole of
which is before you, I'm going to go to
the show. I think it will be a whole lot
of fun. Camper Van Beethoven soun-
ds eminently danceable, and it's been
too long since I last cut a rug. The
band also sounds like they don't take
their art too bloody seriously, which is
imporant. If you aren't having fun -
what's the point?
I hope some of you who haven't
s heard the record will ignore your

them ever more into love. Lizzie is a
woman with a great attitude, which
betrayed her age. She wants to keep
her baby yet at first refuses to marry
Danny because she thinks it would
cause him to be less than the free per-
son whom she fell in love with. The
idealism of their love was refreshing
and telling of their youth - Danny
toured the country for the summer in
a punk band to earn some money for
the child. Lizzie makes curtains and
pillowcases to make their basement
apartment homier. Their plans are
always short term and bursting with
love.
The second couple, Arlene (Lesley
Kranz) and Alan (Mark Cade) had

been married for fifteen years and
had a girl the same age. Their expec-
ted baby was the unplanned result of
an annivesary celebration complete
with rekindled romance, five bottles
of champagne, and memory loss. The
pregnancy caused them to question
how much they loved each other and if
they wanted to go through the ordeal
of being parents at the expense of
their role of lovers and friends. Their
questions were answered by the love
they rediscovered for each other and
the subsequent decision to be parents
together.
The third couple, Pam (Jenny
Head) and Nick (Kipp Koenig) wan-
ted desperately to have a baby, but

couldn't conceive after years of
trying. The problem caused them to
question their gender identities and put
an enormous strain on their
sex life. Only their immense love
for each other pulled them through
their disappointment.
The members of the cast of BABY
pulled off a practically flawless effort.
The delivery of songs was soulful and
uplifting, the dialogue realistic and
convincing.
Usually musicals have a tendency
to make me feel embarrassed or
bored because I rarely feel the songs
and the dialogue mesh into a
satisfying whole. Baby was a notable
exception to my rule.
VAN DYCK DOBOS
PHOTO STUDIO
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The Fourteenth
CONFERENCE ON ETHICS,
HUMANISM AND MEDICINE
Saturday, March 15, 1986
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
School of Public Health
Thomas Francis Building
1420 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, Michigan
TOPICS & SPEAKERS
AIDS: Clinical, Epidemiological and Experiential Considerations
Evelyn Fisher, M.D., Internist, Henry Ford Hospital
Jill Joseph, M.P.H., Ph.D., Professor at School of Public Health
Patient
DIAGNOSIS RELATED GROUPS: The Ethics of Economics
Carl Cohen, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Director, Program in
Human Values in Medicine
Sylvester Berki, B.S., M.A., Chairman, Department of Medical Care
Organizationand Director, Bureau of Health Policy Research
MALPRACTICE: Patient Rights vs Prohibitive
Malpractice Premiums
Douglas Peters, A'torney for Charfos & Christianson, Detroit, Michigan
Louis R. Zako, M.D., Immediate Past President Michigan State Medical Society
THE REFUSAL OF LIFE SAVING TREATMENT: The Right to
Die vs The Use of Heroic Measures
James Murtagh, M.D., Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellow, JNl'NC
David Velleman, Ph.D., William Wilhartz Assistant Professor of Philosophy,
University of Michigan
Prior Registration Requested Half- and Full-Day Sessions
For Phone Registration CALL WED., MAR.12, 764-6263

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES AT
HEBREW UNION COLLEGE
Tuesday, March 11
10:30 a.m. - 4:30p.m. at Mu
Rabbi Gary Zola, National Director for Admissions, will interview
students interested in careers as Reform Rabbis, Cantors, Jewish
Communal Workers or Jewish Educators.
Call 663-3336 for an appointment

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SUMMER '86 at C. "w POST'

At Long Island University's beautiful C.W. Post Campus,
this summer's schedule combines diversity with flex-
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Planning to work or play by day? Then our evening
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Call 516-299-2431
or return the coupon for a combined bulletin listing
Summer '86 undergraduate and graduate offerings at the
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Date:

March 10 through 14

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