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September 18, 1989 - Image 13

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-18

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 18, 1989 - Page 13

REVIEWS
dontinued from Page n
Whenever I watch Pink Floyd's
cinema opus "The Wall," I wonder
bw crowds would react to a perfor-
niance by the alienated, drugged Pink
played by Bob Geldof. After watch-
ing David J's amazing imitation of
Pink at the Fox on Saturday, I knew.
With enough smoke and mirrors
L)ove & Rockets can fool most of the
people most of the time.
'The basic problem with the show
was the use of the worst piece of
technology in the music industry, the
Kynclavier. Every song was amaz-
i4gly re-created on stage; each change
ir.Love & Rockets' complexly struc-
tuted songs was perfect, just as they
arg on the records. The use of of pre-
reeorded tracks to flesh out the sound
got extremely annoying. From the
middle of the main floor it took me
quite some time to convince myself
tlit anything besides the vocals was
Bally live. But the vocals should
dve been dubbed too, given the
bind's prof-like stage presence. At
least George Michael can dance, even
if 'his band consists of a computer,
too.
Eventually I decided the majority
of the music was real, but that didn't
make it any better. Using a backing
track takes the spontaneity out of
live performance; when a musician
as to keep time to the unforgiving
tape no possibility of truly playing
as a group exists. Each night be-
comes just another run through the
set-list from the night before. Love
& Rockets compose intense, guitar-
driven, psychedelic songs that a
power trio could really exploit if they

wanted to. Unfortunately the band of
jaded pop stars was more interested in
strumming along until the next
bridge or chorus than taking a song
somewhere. The closer, "Yin and
Yang the Flower-Pot Man," should
have provided guitarist Daniel Ash
plenty of space to show off some-
thing, but the song merely proved
that Kevin Haskins and David J could
play the repetitive rhythm perfectly
and Ash could remember his various
unimpressive, too-quiet solos.
The set list drew heavily on the
current platter for sale, Love &
Rockets. The older material was all
the expected singles with the excep-
tion of "The Game" from the first al-
bum and a partly acoustic "American
Dream" from the second. For an un-
deserved encore the band showed off
their upcoming fascination with
jazzy swing music, but the result
was no more interesting than the
canned stuff earlier in the show. And
the Bubblemen, whose goofy-great
outfits require the use of recorded
music and make it worthwile, did not
show up at all.
The opening act, The Pixies, fared
much better. This quartet enjoys
playing their pretty much derivative
music and they play it well. The lead
singer's unique yelps and use of for-
eign languages kept their set fresh.
Although the incredible preten-
tiousness of the crowd at the Fox
would prevent it, what they and the
band really need is a good brace of
Grateful Dead (and/or Commander
Cody) concerts. Psychedelia devel-
oped in the '60s through the work of
the San Francisco bands onstage and
the Beatles in the studio. Love &
Rockets should stay in the studio;

their fans can have a much cheaper,
louder, and enjoyable time at home
(where one can enjoy much more
freedom to ingest) or on the dance
floor than in any concert hall.
--Brian Jarvinen
Kottke proves
more than
adequate
The question most often asked
upon my announcement that I would
be going to see Leo Kottke on Satur-
day was, "What type of music does
he play?"
"I don't know," I answered. "It's
kind of folky, a little jazzy and he's a
great acoustic guitar player."
The truth is, Kottke defies descrip-
tion, as exhibited by his presence on
the Ark's September calendar under
the New Age, Old Favorites, Virtu-
osos and In Their Own Category se-
lections. But he did not defy expecta-
tions of an excellent performance.
In the intimate setting of the Ark
(a bar well worth mentioning but
inadvertently excluded from the mu-
sic section of the Daily's New Stu-
dent Edition), Kottke played as if he
were in his own living room, the au-
dience merely guests or, perhaps, old
friends.
He had hoped to begin the concert
with a bang, he announced, but in-
stead attended to his instrument
which he could not seem to tune to
his liking.
"This guitar is for sale," he
quipped after a few moments of frus-
tration.
Once the basics were taken care
of, Kottke launched into song, in-
stantly disproving the belief of Di-

Bauhaus-derived kings of goth, Love and Rockets should stay in the studio where they belong. They shouldn't go
outside anyway, at least not in daylight, in the interest of maintaining their glamorous pallor. Why is the guy on
the right wearing sunglasses?

nosaur Jr. guitarist J. Mascis that the
guitar is "so undynamic." The true
essence of a one-man band, Kottke
provided bass and harmonics along
with a beautiful melody solely on his
guitar, setting the stage for the
wealth of talent to be witnessed for
the rest of the night.
Additional highlights came when
Kottke stopped the show to relate
lengthy and extremely humorous
tales regarding killing chickens on an
Oklahoma farm, his earlier trom-
bone-playing days and a dedication to
his Aunt Francis, "a woman I

sponged off of in Pasadena 20 years
ago."
While Kottke's humor often ex-
tends to his vocal pieces, he resorted
to more poetic lyrical tunes, as well
as a few covers, including the Byrds'
"Eight Miles High."
The opening act, little-known gui-
tarist Chris Proctor, also mixed hu-
mor with musical talent, telling the
audience it didn't matter whether he
played old or new material because
nobody would know the difference.
His playing, however, proved that he

was worthy of fame as he incorpo-
rated subtle electronic effects and a
piece for 12-string guitar into his an-
imated set.
Proctor also alerted the audience to
musicians' shortcomings, claiming
that medleys are created when a mu-
sician reaches the hard part of a song
or becomes bored.
Kottke also proved musicians are
not infallible. At the end of one
piece, he muttered, "Well, it wasn't
quite what I had in mind but it'll do."
You got it, Leo. It'll do just fine.
-Kristin Palm

Prince
Batman
paisley Park
So maybe the movie didn't quite live up to the hype
- how could it? Billboards were done up all over the
glace; no message, just an opening date. Bits of the
movie were aired over Entertainment Tonight, and the
.bat insignia became a mega-popular haircut trend for
the summer. Nicholson went all the way to the bank
with a smile, and audiences left with a sickly feeling
inside, minus five dollars. All the same, the film made
big bucks, and is advertised as making "history all over
the world." So what went wrong? The hype. Who

didn't believe it? Expectations were just too damn
high, and disappointment was the end result.
If you're wondering why I harp on that, something
similar happened with the soundtrack. Being the ulti-
mate Prince fan, I was vaguely pleased that he was ap-
proached to do a song or two for the film. Imagine my
dismay when the Princealbum - that's for the year,
mind you, the album itself, was released with a big,
yellow bat-sign slapped on it. The prognosis? Prince
sold out. And the ironic part is, nobody cared. Of
course not. Everyone ran out and bought the thing.
"Batdance", a dense, funk/dance collage of samples
from the movie and the album, floated to the top and

rested there like a helium balloon. And Prince, leaving
the scene of a commercially unsatisfying tour, got his
first #1 album since Purple Rain, which was five years
ago.
The record is hard to listen to, when your expecta-
tions are based on the organic, incendiary Lovesexy, or
the explosively brilliant Black Album. Some songs are
great; others far removed, somewhere in the realm of
musicians' dementia. Regardless of your musical taste,
a bit of digestion is necessary to appreciate it. "The
Arms of Orion," a ballad with Sheena Easton, is the
most diluted piece that I've ever heard from the man.
Laced with a piano and orchestra, it is tame enough to
charm only the most respected, conservative Academy
Awards judges; a far cry from earlier classics like
"Adore," "When 2 R in Love," or "Another Lonely
Christmas." Equally disconcerting is the filler
"Partyman," which frightens me because Prince ex-
pends some of his best lines, such as "Ain't nothin'
but a muffin/ we got a lotta butter 2 go" over a luke-

warm bassline and a groove that gives less than it gets.
The winners, however, are pure ecstacy on wax.
"The Future," a brilliantly sparse piece credited to
Batman himself, boasts an intriguing sense of convic-
tion that you could never wring from Prince's earlier
tales of carnal pleasures. Although sex does motivate a
great tune - "Lemon Crush," credited to Kim
Basinger's Vicki Vale, is sung in an exquisite falsetto,
and sports some killer hooks. He/she sings "Everytime
u kiss me/ such a rush/ nay I can't resist thee/ lemon
crush." And the role is pulled off without a snag. You
believe it.
The Prince classic, however, is a tune credited to the
Joker. "Trust," a song that you actually hear in the
movie, is played while the Joker and his band of merry
men hold a parade for Gotham city's citizens, all the
while planning to kill them. Ironically, although the
concept is based on hypocrisy, false trust, and psy-
chotic obsessions, the song ascends from this base to a
See RECORDS, page 18

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