Monday, January 19, 1987
The Michigan Daily
Nero fails to fire show
reopie uancing' deivered an enjoyabie evening as the rerfornance
By Katherine Hansen
Whitley Setrakian and Dancers
ought to change their name to
People Dancing, Singing, and
Displaying Quality Acting Ability.
T'his local troupe of six performers,
an apprentice, and a guest artist
shone as their efforts were rewarded
by people clapping.
People Dancing, which per -
formed this weekend at the
Performance Network, displayed a
repertoire that was intellectual but
hot too much so, serious but not
uffocating, and never spoil by
condescension or self-conscious -
Unself-consciousness was even
celebrated as the beauty of folk-
culture expression, which usually
goes unrecognized as legitimate art.
'"Waiting for the Preacher,' a piece
featuring Sacred Harp songs and
traditional ballads sung by
choreographer Setrakian, pald mel-
ancholy tribute to backwoods cul -
ture of the South. "Walting for the
Preacher" not only elicited audience
gratitude for the talents of People
Dancing, but also for the artistic
vein of an American subculture.
The artistry of another
subculture was borrowed for use in
an untitled premiere piece. Accom -
panied by the music of the Beastie
Boys, Setrakian performed her own
rap that chronicled her quadruple
life. The audience could certainly
appreciate the difficulty of her
multiple roles as dancer, choreo -
grapher, wife (of company member
David Genson), and mother (of
two). It's too bad that the vibrant
music came to us via a single
jambox; the sound quality was
neither pure enought for Setrakian's
voice to be audible, nor pervasive
enough to obscure the sounds of the
Impure sound was counterpoint
during the "Rachel" trilogy. Susan
Cowling and Giles Brown warmed
the audience's collective heart as
they nostalgically danced to Nat
King Cole's scratchy "Stardust
Melody." As a charming Jack and
Jill-ish couple, the pair narrated the
tale of "Rachel," her Aunt Iris, and
the busybody, limited world in
which they live. After a strange
° traterrestrialencounter, the
Cowling and Brown characters
waltzed through an era past, in
which Rachel and Aunt Iris remain.
Guest artist Loi Kail performed a
new piece entitled "A Ballet Book."
Aided by a hand-drawn slideshow
and Michael Roberts' piano music,
Kail portrayed a fresh-faced
balletomane. As she expertly per -
formed the tendus and releves of a
student at the barre, Kail's face
revealed the sweetness of a young -
ster scanning her first audience for a
glimpse of her mother.
Sparking the show was "Stuff to
Do - a Study in Random Tasks."
Company members and audience
members alike roared as the dancers
mimicked each other, demonstrating
various dance genres, and providing
expert comic commentary on their
The premiere performance of
"Rachel's" final chapter marked the
show's conclusion. Set in a bomb
shelter, the Cowling and Brown
characters conveyed through dance
and dramatic dialogue an annihilated
world from which Rachel and Aunt
Iris can no longer escape.
By Alicia Stevens
This winter marks the 25th
anniversary of Peter Nero's career as
a pianist, composer, symphony
conductor, and arranger. He is
probably mst famous for his
juxtaposition of jazz and classical
music, but he has also
experimented with pop and rock.
Nero performed to an almost full
house at Hill Auditorium Saturday
night, but those who were present
probably didn't hear what they were
excitedly anticipating. Any
excitement generated at the concert
was on the audience's part, and
before the concert even began.
Nero is a polished showman.
He walks on stage with the dignity
Of the three members of Snake-
out who are on this record, only
one remains. Tim Reagan, the
group's original drummer, left
shortly after the recording to be
replaced by Dino Kovas, of Back
Porch Video fame, who left to join
The New Monkees, and now some
other guy is drumming. Greg
Mitchell, the bassist, is leaving the
band to educate himself. The
entropy leaves us with Len Puch,
but since Len is the product of
growing up with a name that no
child ought to be saddled with, and
since Len was the big Sperm
Dancer to begin with, Snake-out is
still trundling on, sort of like
Since Snake-out is one big,
obscene, whopper of a live act, they
did a real smart thing when they
recorded this record. They held a big
party for all of their obnoxious
friends and played, and pald an engi -
neer a pretty paltry sum to tape the
event. The end result is somewhere
between a live album taped at a
"real" concert, and secret tapes from
a Hustler office party. This serves
Snake-out well. The band's surf-
billy sound is augmented by the
hoots, grunts, and horrendously off-
key contributions of the gathered re -
The record is, on the whole, very
good, grungy and ornery, but it
lurches to true brilliance on two
cuts, "The Devil in Mrs. Brady," a
fire-and-brimstone condemnation of
the possessed Florence Henderson,
and "Hockey Night in Canada," an
anthem for those who can't resist
the deadly combination of Moose -
head and Channel 9, (and they claim
to have recorded it at the New
Boston Ice Arena, which is a good
lie if they didn't!).
And, as if all this weren't enough,
Live Pizza is without question the
best-packaged LP of the year. It
comes in a Pizza Box, with aposter
(soon to be a hot New Monkee col -
lector item!), a lyric sheet (which
features a longi warning to critics
like me, and other funny stuff), and
a big piece of cardboard. A few
more albums like this one, and
Snake-out might edge the DeFranco
Family to become New Boston's
fifth favorite band.
Batteries Not Included!
The Hysteric Narcotics, from
that suburban Detroit la-la-land
known as Livonia, are one of the
area's fabbest live bands and the
core of the local neopsych-
edelic/garage scene. Their debut
LP, Batteries Not Included!,
recorded right here in scenic Ann
Arbor, is one of the highlights of
the past year's local vinyl and
one of the year's outstanding
garage releases. -
Batteries should hopefully
change the Narcs' status from one
of garage's best-kept secrets to
one of its better-known propo-
nents. Blessed with industrial-
strength chemistry and a sense of
humor to match, the band seems
to have the potential to go the
More than a jolt of garagey
reckless abandon, Batteries" ter-
minally-groovy trappings - the
headache-inducing cover art, feed-
back, fuzz, and cheesy organ -
don't drown out the basically
solid pop songwriting under-
neath. The lead track, "Devil in'
You," has a folk-rock-ish ring to
it and comes off well, as does the
fuzz-drenched and funny "Electric
Children." The pointed irony of
the Narcs' lyrics is rare in garage,
and shines in tunes like "Char-
lotte's Web" and "Such a My-
stery," both of which are high-
lights of the LP.
"Shop Around" successfully
butchers the Miracles' classic by
merging thrash and psych. "Do
Like Me" transforms the eerie
Uncalled For obscurity off
Pebbles 8.. It's one of the LP's
best tracks, and typical of the
Narcs' conscientious, aggressive
approach to cover material. Only
a couple of tracks, notably "Wild
As Soul", don't quite deliver.
Musically and lyrically "Wild"
seems less clearly articulated, like
the band's holding back.
While not without its flaws,
Batteries is an encouraging docu-
ment, a real credit to the local
scene and hints at even better
things yet to come. If you
haven't seen this band live yet,
do so. Their light show, which
was once owned by the Grande
Ballroom and cast its freaky glow
on luminaries like the MC5, has
to be seen to be believed. Bat-
teries not included? The Narcs
don't even need batteries. As it-
stands, it sounds as if they've got
all of Detroit Edison behindf
them. Avaliable at hepper local
record outlets or via Raffscallion
Records, PO Box 2275 Livonia,
and subtlety of Sinatra and speaks
with the deep sensitivity of Lou
Rawls. But these analogies can
only be drawn on physical
appearances because by no stretch
of the imagination can Nero stand
up to these great artists musically.
He simply lacks that certain energy
which some artists possess.
Starting with the first piece that he
played (the classic "Pick Yourself
Up and Start All Over Again" -
usually an extremely upbeat, crowd-
pleasing tune), there was a
mechanical and almost vacant look
and sound. His range and dexterity
are remarkable. He never seems to
miss a single note, but without
seeming to enjoy and love the
music himself, he can't generate
pleasure to the audience.
There was no written program
for the twenty-odd pieces that he
played, but the especially
memorable ones included Billy
Joel's "I Love You Just The Way
You Are' (memorable because it
had that rare sound one only hears
in the nicest elevators and dentist
offices) and Michelle LeGrand's
"Summer of '42", for which Nero
received a gold record for his
interpretation. This tune was
equally reminiscent of the elevator
There were high points, though.
Nero swung into a medley from the
Broadway hit "The Wiz" and parti .
cularly roused the audience with a
piece entitled "Everybody Rejoice".
But the highest point was without a
doubt his Ellington medley.
Included in it were classsics like
"Satin Doll" and "Take the A
Train." He flew over the keyboard
but gave meticulous attention to
every note. However, instead of
having that loose and effortlessly
cool look of so many jazz players,
he looked stiff and awkward.
Peter Nero will probably (and
hopefully) never be considered a
truly hot jazz artist. People who
get into straight ahead, classic jazz
would be smart to avoid him
altogether. His concert was more
for those individuals who like
mushy melanges of classical, pop,
and jazz music.
WELCOME BACK WITH f
WEEK OF SUNSHINE
One week of tanning1,
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west side $40 0 with this on campus
1896 W. Stadium coupon 216S. State
662-2602 5TUDENID.Expr 7478844J n
. What's Happening
Wed., Jan. 28, 4:30 pm
Thu., Jan. 29, 2:00 pm
Sun., Feb. 1, 2:00 pm & Mon., Feb. 2,6:00 pm
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Winter Term 1987 Calendar of Events
FRIDAY, JAN. 30. "Motivation and Schooling" - One day conference, first
floor lecture hall, Rackham Building.
Speakers: Walter Doyle (Arizona), Penelope Peterson (Wisconsin), Robert Slavin
(Johns Hopkins), and Mark Lepper (Stanford).
Free, for information, contact Prof. Scott Paris or Ms. Kathryn Houser at the Center for Research on Learning and
Schooling, 3112 School of Education Building, or call (313) 763-2374.
SATURDAY, FEB. 7. "37th University of Michigan Mathematics Education
Conference" - One day conference, School of Education Building.
Speakers: Thomas Post (Minnesota) and Kathleen Cramer (Minneapolis Public
Schools) on "Middle School Mathematics in Transition," plus many others.
Fees; $12, including lunch; for information, contact Prof. Joseph Payne, 1029 School of Education Building, or call
TUESDAY/WEDNESDAY, FEB. 24-25. "27th Annual Michigan School
Testing Conference" - Modern Language Building (Tuesday) and Rackham
Speakers: U-M Athletic Director Don Canham on "Proposition 48: Cure or
Curse?" and Rita Foote (Southfield Public Schools) on "The Many Facets of
Testing," plus many others.
Fees: $40, plus $15 for dinner; for information, contact University of Michigan Extension Service, Conferences and
Institutes, 200 Hill Street, or call (313)764-5305.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11. Meeting for Prospective School of Education
Graduate Students-Tribute Room, 1322 School of Education Building, 6 p.m.
Presentations by Office of Academic Services staff members as well as faculty
Free; for information, contact the Office of Academic Services, 1228 School of Education Bnilding or call (313)
FRIDAY, MARCH 20. "Intelligence and Schooling" - One day conference,
first floor lecture hall, Rackham Building.
Speakers: Sandra Scarr (Virginia), Robert Sternberg (Yale), Robert Shweder
(Chicago), and Zhang Houcan (Beijing Normal University).
Free; for information, contact Prof. Scott Paris at the Center for Research on Learning and Schooling, 3112 School of
Education Building, or call (313) 763-2374.
FRIDAY, APRIL 3. School of Education Awards Ceremony - Schorling
Auditorium, School of Education Building, 2 p.m.
Speaker: To be announced.
For information, contact the Office of Academic Services, 1228 School of Education Building, or call (313) 764-7563.
For Information, Call IMSB - 763-3562