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November 05, 1990 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-11-05

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 5, 1990 - Page 7

WEEKEND
Continued from page 5
the pit orchestra, all of whom
seemed to be actively conspiring to
ruin the show. Shall it be said that
4e interesting Brecht-like distancing
tat exists in the script - those
comments and cues which intermit-
tently remind the audience that they
are watching a cabaret-style musical
-- was overdone.
The black costumes of the
players were nearly invisible on a
black background. They were
essential for the opening number,
but ineffective for the rest of the
how. The lighting crew cast a
deathly pallor over most of the ac-
tots for whose cues the spotlights ar-
rived on time. The pit orchestra was
weak and at times painful to hear.
"Despite the efforts of the techni-
cal crew, however, the performers
managed to produce some excellent
vocal moments and a moving finale.
Perhaps in the next MUSKET pro-
'uction the performers will not just
wakly battle the techies, but win
the battle as Charlemagne won over
the Visigoths. We would all cele-
brate such a victory.
-Beth Colquitt
The Fluid
were
k When I still cared about school,
the weekend always started on
Thursday, and whether last Thursday
was a weekend or a weekday, Den-
ver's The Fluid finally made their
Ann Arbor debut. I could describe
the show, but The Fluid do it so
well themselves in their song
" fooked" - "the other night I was
out 'n' about with the boys /I needed
lrink and we all needed the noise/
and she just walked right up and

stole my heart away."
Actually, that last bit isn't true,
as the crowd was 90 percent male.
And, as is typical of shows like this,
full of jaded people who only come
out at night I think, there was a
dearth of smiles. Lead singer John
Robinson speculated there was a
shortage of acid in town. I agreed; I
remember smiling and thinking,
"This is supposed to be a happy
occasion."
The Fluid came out and played
jammin' rock and roll. They are not
a punk band - they will do punkish
stage antics like eating a dog biscuit
or taking off their pants, but only if
the crowd has the guts to do it first.
Sub Pop bands take a lot of flack for
being basically similar; while this is
true to an extent what sets these
bands apart is that they can almost
all sing proficiently and are lis-
tenable, too.
The Fluid have a lead singer who
doesn't play an instrument, and the
ax-men do some pretty creditable
harmony vocals. (If opening act The
Vivians would take this to heart they
would be a much better band. The
oboe or clarinet or whatever it was
they played on top of a generic rock
structure for their last song was kind
of neat, though).
The band played a great version
of the song that introduced many to
their sound, "Is It Day?," (a song
about the joys of driving your way
into a sunrise), as well as "Hooked,"
"Twisted & Pissed," and, hell, if you
are reading this far you were proba-
bly there and you know what the
group played.
If you weren't there, well, during
my years writing for the Daily, I
can't count the amount of times I've
heard the complaint that we only
write about obscure bands, as if we
do this on purpose to piss you all
off. I'm sure someone said that after
reading about some weird band called
R.E.M. when they played at the cor-

ner of Main & Huron way back in
the early '80s.
If you consider yourself a rock
fan but have never caught a live band
during your stay at the University,
think about this: in 1969 Led
Zeppelin came to America for the
first time, opening for various heavy
bands of the time. They played at
tiny clubs much like Club
Heidelberg, to people who were
brave enough to take a chance on
music they hadn't heard a thousand
times before. I'm sure many people
refused to go, asking, "Who the hell
are Led Zeppelin?" They invariably
blew these crowds away and had to
play as many as seven encores.
I'm not saying that the Fluid
show on Thursday was as
revolutionary as Zepp's arrival in the
States, but then you don't know
either. When incredible bands like
the Fluid play tiny places like the
Heidelberg, if you don't go it's my
gain I guess, but it is the artist's
loss, and yours as well.
-Brian Jarvinen
Taj Mahal
knows his
music
Among the many accolades
printed about Taj Mahal in the Ark's
concert calendar, the word musicolo-
gist seemed somewhat out of place.
While musicologists are important if
America is to ever remember its mu-
sical heritage, the thought of seeing
one performing live didn't exactly
sound like a great Saturday night ac-
tivity. Luckily, I knew ahead of time
that Taj Mahal is an accomplished
bluesman, thanks to years of listen-
ing to the radio shows Nothin' but
the Blues and Big City Blues Cruise.

Minnesota-based acoustic gui-
tarist Pat Donohue warmed up the
crowd with an all-too-short set of
mostly original songs and humorous
ramblings. He unfortunately played
only one song using a slide, but fol-
lowed this up with an amazing ver-
sion of Charlie Parker's "Yardbird
Suite," on acoustic guitar alone! As
Donohue joked, he is trying to
merge those two financially reward-
ing genres, folk and jazz, and while
he may not get rich, his listeners
certainly will. Donohue will be back
at the Ark on November 27th for a
free show.
Taj Mahal then came out and
proved that what he really is is an
entertainer with a capital E for
energy, enthusiasm and excitement.
Mahal played songs on six- and 12-
string guitar; when he switched to
playing boogie-woogie piano the
crowd was lucky to see some real
hammer time. But as it turned out,
Mahal is quite a musicologist; he
performed excellent versions of
Robert Johnson's "Walkin' Blues"
and Leadbelly's "Bourgeois Blues."
He also reminded us, as critic James
Marshall has pointed out, that the 2
Live Crew (or Hoes With Attitude
for that matter) are nothing new; the
song "Bar-B-Que" included a Lucille
Bogan couplet that would make any
sexually frustrated sheriff blush, and
this line was written in the '30s.
Despite Mahal's musical skills,
what truly proved his prowess for
keeping a crowd spell-bound was a
song he sang alone a capella. After
that, there was no doubt left in my
mind that Taj Mahal has got that
mystical quality (charisma I guess)
often referred to as it. And despite
thinking I was going to a blues
show, I sure ended up smiling a lot.
-Brian Jarvinen

RECORDS'
Continued from page 5
"Close to Me" is revamped with a
funky new drum pattern and "The
Walk" benefits from the treatment as
well. And the cover art is way cool.
However, the bad outweighs the
good.
First of all, if you were suckered
into buying the four CD singles
from Disintegration (which came in
a handy dandy boxed set), you'll find
that you already own four of the
remixes on Mixed Up. Also, some
songs, most notably "Inbetween
Days," turned out like shit. And the
lone new song, "Never Enough," is
a shallow clone of The Stone Roses,
but without any catchy melody.
But gee Mom, it's just in time
for the holidays. To borrow from the
comments of a guy behind me in the
aforementioned line: "Lame. With a
capital L."
-Mike Molitor
Guy
"I Wanna Get With You"
(12")
Uptown/MCA
This new single by Black radio's
ultimate band has both a tougher,
more danceable groove from
anything on the debut and is rife

with contradictions. When Teddy Ri-
ley started producing last year, his
determined rhythms and strong begts
gave a great deal of R & B, as well
as Black radio, a new conviction that
excited almost everyone. Indeed, Guy
is a welcome addition to the sydthe-
sized quagmire of "rhythm and
blues," as without Riley's spunk
there may have never been a "Hold
On," "It Feels Good" or "Ghetto
Heaven." Actually, Soul II Soul de-
serves some credit as well. The prob-
-lem here is that Riley tries to rap
again, as in the exquisite "My Fan-
tasy," but on this track disturbs the
delicate balance already established
between rap and "soul."
Guy is still in effect. Riley's
percussive sensibility coupled with
Aaron Hall's inspired "soulful"
croon still makes an intriguing
combination. Actually, no one does
it better than these fellows do;
singing over just a beat. Jazzie aban-
doned this ground ever since his first
single. Another quality that gives
Guy a tension and disparity is their
approach. The theme is simple;
ladies, Aaron wants to get with you.
It's in the way the band uses their
equipment, their machinery, to con-
vey this "passion" that still remains
quite amazing.
Forrest Green III

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