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February 27, 1995 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-02-27

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Dancing the Night Away
As you're settling back into your daily college routine, maybe it's time to
relive some of your splendid spring break memories by dancing the night
away at Rick's. D.J. John King will be holding a Dance Party tonight at
everyone's favorite watering hole; the King will be mixing together the
hottest in hip-hop, rock and funk - it's the perfect cure for the back-to-
school blues. Doors open at 9 p.m. and the cover is only $3.

Page 5
February 27, 1995

By Dustin Howes
For the Daily
A barefoot Bobby McFerrin
played to a Michigan Theater full of
townies and a couple of students to
bootlast week. Known tomostfolks
as "the guy who does that 'Don't
*Worry Be Happy' song," it was
quickly apparent that this was not
Top 40 night, but a time for one of
the most vibrant, creative, life-af-
firming musical experiencesaround.
Beginning with the end is only
appropriate, because the impromptu
in-the-lobby duet of "Over the Rain-
bow" between McFerrin and Gold
Company (a jazzy a cappella group
!from Western Michigan) reflected
the kind of rapport that McFerrin
had with the audience. He sang in
the middle of the group of singers,
just as he and Bang Zoom - his
incredible trio - had settled down
in the middle of the audience's emo-
tional and spiritual lives .
At the official end of the show
(there were two encores plus the
lobby performance), McFerrin
*yelled to the audience "Music! Mu-
sic! Music!" beckoning the crowd
to understand what that word really
meant. Bobby had no need to worry;
whether it was a shockingly realis-
tic rendition of Miles Davis' trum-
pet, a jam from Stevie Wonder's
"Songs in the Key of life" or a
country lullaby complete with a
whistling dove courtesy of
*McFerrin's mouth - he and his trio
brought the crowd great music. Ev-
ery style of music was represented;
the group did justice to each song.
The danger, if there is one, of
presenting impeccable talent to an
audience, is that the interactive soul
of music - the usable, everyday-
life part of music - can appear to
be below the prominent performer.
When the group began taking re-
quests from the audience - some-
one yelled out "William Tell!!!" and
the charge was on - it was clear
that Bang Zoom and McFerrin were
teady to jam until the crowd was
There was no distance between
the audience and McFerrin. About
five people from the audience be-
came the performers at McFerrin's
request, scatting with Bobby for the
rest of the crowd. In another num-
ber he conducted sections of the
audience in different parts of a
slammin' jazz tune and at another

Belly's sophomore album 'King'

has the sweet smell of

point offered the undertones as the
audience sang "Ave Maria." He also
sat in the audience and watched, led
a standing ovation for, and then in-
cluded in his next number, the be-
wildered and awed Gold Company.
Michigan Theater
February 16, 1995
The trio and Bobby were not
only talented, but they loved to play.
They clearly played off of each
other; McFerrin said after the show
that they had worked together for 15
years. The chemistry was apparent
as they joked with each other and
McFerrin directed the not-so-quick
spotlight controller to the soloing
members of the group. He stood
behind the players while they
jammed, appreciating their artistry
as much as the audience. Instead of
the usual intermission setup where
the star of the show takes a break
while the band jams, the positions
were reversed as McFerrin was on
stage for the full two hours and the
band took a break in the middle.
It was McFerrin's mission to
share music with the audience, and
promote music in general - a re-
quest which might sound generic

and shallow at first. In the context
of the concert, it was a refreshing
blanket endorsement of all musical
He took the direct approach at the
beginning of the first encore, when he
expressed concern about the prob-
ably forthcoming cuts in funding to
the National Endowment for the Arts.
McFerrin said that some politicians
are writing off the "spiritual angle" in
favor of an interpretation which con-
siders art and music to be "frivolous
entertainment." But he was so obvi-
ously uncomfortable on a soap box
that he quickly slipped into urging all
the teachers and professors in the au-
dience to bring music into their class-
rooms: "There's no need to talk about
it ... As the students are walking in,
why don't you crank the 'Ode to Joy'
in Beethoven's 9th up to about 11."
These words were an affirmation
of what the audience had learned from
the moment McFerrin's bare feet
stepped onstage. Music is for every-
one at any time. There were no glow-
ing introductions, no flashy light dis-
plays, not even a show of his always-
ready vocal wizardry. He walked over
to the stool next to the piano and
began to tap out a rhythm. The world
is Bobby McFerrin's instrument, and
he started the show by letting every-
one know that he was just like every-
one in the audience, making do with
his environment, breathing a rhythm
into the inanimate around us.

By Heather Phares
Daily Arts Editor
After a career of being the musi-
cal sidekick in some of the best
groups in recent memory (Throw-
ing Muses and the Breeders) Tanya
Donelly formed her own group,
Belly. After releasing a few terrific
singles that mixed the quirkiness of
her work with those groups with
classic pop like the Beatles and the
'60s country-rock group the Flying
Burrito Brothers, the band's gold-
selling debut "Star" came out -
and things have never been the same
for the band.
MTV latched onto the videos
for the group's singles ("Feed the
Tree" and "Gepetto" became Buzz
Clips), which emphasized the
somewhat cutesy aspects of the
band's image, as well as the physi-
cal appeal of Donelly and the
band's new bassist Gail Green-
wood; perhaps as a direct result,
Belly toured for two continuous
years before reentering a record-
ing studio.
Which brings us to "King," the
group's majestic second album,
which happily avoids the "sopho-
more slump" that plagues many a
talented band. At the same time
more subtle and more direct than
their first album, it's an continu-
ally rewarding listen that rein-
forces the differences between
Belly's beginnings and the group
One of the more important dif-
ferences in the band is the fact that
"King" is the first album that Green-
wood has played on ("Star" was
recorded with ex-Throwing Muses
bassist Fred Abong). Her down-to-
earth playing style adds an increased
muscularity to the rhythm section,
which propulsively contrasts the
delicate chord structures of the
songs, as is evident on the alter-
nately bouncy and gliding title track.
Her earthy alto voice also con-
trasts nicely with Donelly's more
mercurial soprano. On "Red," for
example, Greenwood belts out
"Red! Red! Red!" while Donelly
swoonily croons and lilts. While
some fans of the band feel that
Greenwood's stomping and yelling
onstage detracts from the band's

performance, her presence on the
record pushes the band to explore
new sonic territory and adds a new
element to the band's noisy-ethe-
real-pop background.
Another important difference in
the band is that many of "King"'s
tracks were co-written by Donelly
and Greenwood or by Donelly and
Tom Gorman, the group's guitarist
and keyboardist. The Greenwood /
Donelly songwriting team brings the
driving, infectious "Puberty" and
"Superconnected" (about trendy
music industry types) to the album,
while the Donelly / Gorman duo
penned the more reflective "Silver-
fish," the buoyant "Red" and "Now
They'll Sleep," as well as the epic
final track "Judas My Heart." These
collaborations give the album the
feeling of a band performing songs
they care about, instead of a solo

performer accompanied by a back-
ing band.
That the band worked with the
legendary producer Glyn Johns
(who's worked with the Clash, the
Rolling Stones and the Who) also
shaped "King"'s sound. Totally in-
fluenced by trends in the music busi-
ness, he insisted the band play live
as they recorded the album, and as
Donelly has been quoted as saying,
"kept me from singing like a little
girl." Which is to the immense ben-
efit of tunes like "The Bees" and
"Seal My Fate," which for all their
delicate beauty, could easily float
off into the ether in the hands of a
less skilled band or producer. For-
tunately, the full, rich sound of the
album prevents the songs and
Donelly's voice from sounding too
wimpy and wispy.
All in all, the new, improved
Belly and their new album are a
delicious study in contrasts; "King"
is at once loopy and direct, lacy and
solid. An album this complex and
yet so catchy may confuse the band's
MTV fans, but will definitely rule
over the hearts of the band's true

Belly is a cool group, even with the slightly annoying new bassist Gail.

Spend your
summer on
the island.
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Courses - Philosophy - Physics - Political Science -
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