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March 13, 1995 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-13

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Theone, the only, ..
The lnlmitable Mel Torm6 graces the stage ofthe Michigan Theater tonight. While
fellow croone Frnk Sinatra and Tony Bennett are more h profile, Torm boasts
the best set 6f pipes of the three. Well'ift s 7s, he sings eke a man at least 15
years yOunger (those Mountain Dew ads he's doing are ample proof), And unlike
Bennett, dho's here this smerwfrflve days at the Fox Theater, Tormh is here
tonight oly. Tickets range from $15.50 to $37.50, and doors open at 8 p.m.

Page 5
Monday,
March 13. 1995

MIQIawil 7 1
Dionne Farris knows how to put on a good show
Former Arrested Development performer ignores musical boundaries

By Eugene Bowen radical neither his neatly trimmed member of the crowd. Finishing his
Daily Arts Writer goatee nor the blue jeans hetwore sixth. and fnal-cnna tthP artt

No one would expect to see
someone like Dionne Farris per-
forming at the 7th House in Pontiac.
This woman is a former member of
the very well-known group, Arrested
Development; now she has a solo
release, "Wild Seed Wild Flower"
Sony). So what is she doing per-
orming in the smoke-filled 7th
House, which has the seating capac-
ity of your average dorm room?
It is possible that Farris will take
the answer to that question to the
grave with her, but the show she put
on for the crowd of some 150 eager
fans there on Wednesday made them
happy she came.
They were happy that David
*yan Harris came, too. Harris, who
serves as Farris' music director and
is a part of her band, was the open-
ing act to the night's festivities. A
self-described soul acoustics per-
former, Harris set the night afire
with the folk / funk / rock sounds he
produced with the only two instru-
ments at his disposal - his trusty
guitar and his amazing voice.
Appearance-wise, Harris is noth-
g special. A plain-looking, Afri-
can American male - save the
dreads upon his head which always
seem to cause conservative mortals
to view the wearer as some sort of

nor the single gold loop dangling
from his left ear pointed to the fact
that this man is a living mass of pure
musical energy.

Dionne Farris
7th House
March 8, 1995

Until he began to play.
Throughout his performance,
Harris seemed swept away by the
power of his own emotions, taking
the audience, enraptured by the raw
might of his voice, on this mental
journey with him. Only his humor-
ous interjections between songs
could awaken the stunned crowd
from its entranced stupor, giving
the people enough time to get their
bearings before being plunged into
another musical excursion.
Between the joy of his joking
and the sadness of his songs, Harris
left many unsure - not unsure of
him, for his musical prowess had
been more than proven by the end of
Harris' act. Rather, Harris left the
crowd unsure of itself, unsure of the
emotional charge that sat above each

,ltl , alu g1d , e atr- dxst
formerly known as) Prince's "Pop
Life," he left everyone longing for
more of his musically-influenced
ecstasy, drawn to Harris' sound like
mice drawn to the sounds of the
Pied Piper's flute.
While Farris was unable to pro-
pel the crowd to the level of self-
reflection that Harris' music de-
manded of us, her performance will
still be remembered by everyone
who saw her. Looking more like an
The show Dionne
Farris put on for
the crowd of some
150 eager fans
made theme happy
she came.
ex-con or a garbage man dressed in
a baseball cap, blue jeans and a
green jacket, Harris came out per-
forming "Find Your Way." From
there, the very good sounds of
"Blackbird" were performed.
More interesting, perhaps, was
Farris' performance of "Now or
Later." The harmony that flowed
among Farris, backup singer (and

Detroit native), Lisa Vicas, drum-
mer, Melvin Baldwin, and guitar-
ists Shawn Grey, Van Hart (also on
keyboards) and David Harris, was
more extraordinary at this time than
in any of the other songs. It went
from seductive to more of a faster,
dance-to-it beat back to the bluesy
mood it first exuded; the harmony
in "Reality" was also amazing to the
ear.
The deeply emotional "Food For
Thought," though not on the same
level as Harris' performances, was
nevertheless a musical adventure to
behold. The aquatic sounds which
flowed from the keyboard in ac-
companiment to Farris' voice pro-
duced an amazing feeling of calm
and peace.
The final song, the well-known
"I Know," drew much dancing, clap-
ping and cheering.
Throughout much of this mini-
concert (six songs doesn't really cut
it, ya know), Farris looked extremely
fatigued, closing her eyes and rub-
bing her face constantly. This attests
to extraordinarily busy schedule.
It would also not do Farris much
harm to take a few dancing lessons.
Her erratic motions, to say the least,
looked more like she was either hav-
ing a seizure or mixing a margarita.
Oh well, this wasn't a Janet Jackson
concert.

Mike F stzhug/
Farris Is one of the most creative and talented women In today's music.

Cough up some dough to see Soul

By Tom Eriewlne
Daily Arts Editor
Not too long ago, the members of
the New York City collective Soul
Coughing were shot out of the hipster
circuit straight into the consciousness
of every record label across the coun-
try. As bassist Sebastian Steinberg
explained, the band was placed in the
center of a whirlwind of hype: "Here
SOUL COUGHING
When: Tonight
Where: Bind Pig
Tickets: $5 in advance
Doors open at 9:30 p.m.
we are this little band, then suddenly
every A&R person you've ever heard
of, we would have to meet."
Nevertheless, the band can't help
but be pleased with the results of all the
tumult. Soul Coughing's debut album,
"Ruby Vroom," was one of the most
acclaimed albums ofthepastyear, which
isn't surprising, considering how unique
it is. Frequently, the band's music is
classified as ajazz/hip-hop fusion, and
there are elements of both genres in
theirdense, experimental grooves. How-
ever, that description ignores the multi-
tude of other styles that the band incor-
porate. Besides the jazz and rap influ-
ences, the group manages to evoke pop
hooks, beatnik poetry, gutsy blues, spo-
ken word, indie rock, film soundtracks
- anything that fits into the standard
definition of "pop music."
What makes the music work isn't
the musical diversity, but how it rarely
sounds like a conscious stab at eclecti-
cism. Guitarist M. Doughty's vocals
are sometimes sung, sometimes spo-
ken, sometimes rapped, yet he never
gives any clue to when he's going switch
styles. Mark De Gli Antoni's samplers
never provide simplistic backing loops;
they redefine the very textures of the
songs. Steinberg and drummer Yuval
Gabay's rhythms twist like any good
dance music, but they never rely on the
standard "Funky Drummer" beat. In-
stead, the rhythm section digs deeper

into the past, assembling their grooves
from fragments of bop, swing andpost-
bop, as well as soul, funk and hip-hop.
Doughty spent part of the decade in
New York as a folk-singer and hip-hop
critic, Gabay was a session musician
and the classically-trained Antoni spent
time with free jazz legend John Zorn.
Steinberg also played with Zorn, yet he
also had roots in the Boston pop scene.
Once he moved to New York,
"things started happening like that. I
started playing with Marc Ribot and
Zorn, and was really content doing
that, putting no thought in the pop
marketplace at all - or a band even."
While Steinberg was playing around
New York, Doughty assembled thefour
musicians that became Soul Coughing.
"We started playing together and it was
like one of the many things I did," he
said. "It had its appeals, it was not that
great at first, but it was fun."
Soul Coughing's distinctive, multi-
layered sound evolved naturally out of
the different styles of each musician. "It
was picking us out as personalities and
then throwing us in aroom which really
dictated the sound of the band," ex-
plained Steinberg. "It literally started
with Doughty strumming a song on his
guitar and Yuval and I trying to disem-
bowel it, andMarkcoming in and work-
ing his particular brand of magic. No
one person is responsible for it concep-
tually - it was a question of casting
more than anything."
Nevertheless, the band remained
somewhat of a side-project for
Steinberg. "The moment I started tak-
ing it seriously was when I was over at
a friend's apartment talking to her on
her couch," he recalled. "Her room-
mate had her door closed and was play-
ing this stuff. I was sitting there, going,
'Wow! What's that? That's kinda
funky.' Turned out it was a demo tape
of ours. Just on the groove level I was
really satisfied, and I'm not easy to
satisfy on that particular level.
"Then, the tunes started getting
more and more interesting. But it still
wasn't a pop consideration at all. All
of a sudden, these record companies

started showing up. But since the mu-
sic was good, it was a kick."
Soul Coughing quickly became a
hip band in New York on the basis of
their intoxicating live shows; more than
anything, it was their concerts that led
to the record-label attention lavished on
the group. "If you're not going after
them, if they're coming after you, it's
really funny," said Steinberg.
After signing with Slash, the band
went interviewed a series of produc-
ers before settling on the acclaimed
engineer/producerTchad Blake (Tom
Waits, Richard Thompson). "We
worked with Tchad because he's very
much about capturing a moment,"
said Steinberg, "and that was really
what we wanted to do. It was about
going in there and doing what we do
and getting
the songs as
they are, that

Coughing
"Down toThis" getting airplay onMTV,
consistently positive reviews and open-
ing tour with They Might Be Giants, the
band is building a definite buzz.
"We like playing for people," said
Steinberg. "As far as the pop market-
place, we could give a flying fuck. It's
all gravy that people like the record as
much as we do. You gotta realize, the
band is such a weird hodge-podge of
personalities, it's truly a giggle to be in
the pop marketplace at all. For me it's a
laugh, because I can quote Charles
Mingus and it works. And Mark-this
is his first band, really, so it's a ride
watching him negotiate this whole
scene. But it's fun. We haven't had to
do anything really distasteful, aside
meeting some strange people. Actu-
ally, I like meeting strange people."

"We're babies and we're proud of it!!" Sepnanie um/Daily

'Baby' at that,
r Melissa Rose Bemardo
aly Theater Editor
When it is done well, "Baby" plays
as an extremely moving, intimatemusi-
cal portrait. When it is done poorly, it
comes off as trite and unaffecting.
And when it the production falls
somewhere in between - as
MUSKET's did this past weekend -
theresult is, well,justthere. Alternating
gtween entirely engaging and simply
ull, "spotty" is perhaps the best word
to describe MUSKET's "Baby."
"Baby" focuses on three couples -
twocollegestudents,twothirtysomethings
and two 40-ish folks - and how preg-
nancy, actual or attempted, affects their
relationships. It is a "simple" show, ideal
for a small house like the Trueblood The-
atre. ButMUSKET's venue is the cavern-
us Power Center, and into the cinder-
eck walls was funneled this modest
musical.
Directors Peter Yonka and Michael
Babel attempted to alleviate the space
issue by "trimming" the Power Center
stage -- that is, bringing it in from the
sides and the back, eliminating some
depth and length. Moving black panels
divided up the stage, but the black did
nothing to accentuate the warmth of the
lusical, and neither did the putrid yel-
low-orange curtain cutting off the top
of the stage.
Eric Swartz's lighting was obvious
and often obtrusive-apink spotlight?
- and poorly executed. Lights went up

awkward stage
heaps of credit for assembling such
compatible and convincing leads. The
pair also staged the bulk of the show
around abed, and managed to do it with
ingenuity and care.
Butthemostexcitingaspectof"Baby"
was the exhibition of the new, young
talent. Five of the six leads are first-years
or sophomores, which creates an exciting
prospect for MUSKET and other campus
theatrical venues.
Baby
Power Center for the
Performing Arts
March 9, 1995
Lizzie and Danny (Jordan Rohler and
Nicholas Sattinger): Barring a few obtru-
sive bouts of flamboyance, Sattinger was
appropriately energetic and spontaneous
asDanny.In her University debut,Rohler
showed offan impressive belt, but choked
on her higher notes. Rohler's energy also
lapsed in a few key places ("Our Story
Goes On"), most noticeably opposite
Sattinger's sharply-focused Danny.
Nick and Pam (Jason Styka and
Mandy Politziner): Styka has afull, rich
voice, but every aspect of his perfor-
mance revealed a blatant lack of acting
training. Politziner'sperformance, how-
ever, was near-perfect. Politziner was
lovely in every sense; her stage pres-

particular
moment."
S o u l
Coughing
may not fall
into the tra-
ditional defi-
nition of
"pop music"
- and the
band doesn't
play by the
traditional
rules of the
pop game--
but their
chances of
popular suc-
cess are
good. With
infectious

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Casiotone Nation" members Soul1

Coughing.

Modem
down the
Information
Highway

The Public Health Students of African Descent at
University of Michigan School of Public Health
proudly announces its
9th Annual Minority Health Conference
"Empowering Communities of Color

with the
Global Village Communication

Through

Healthy Minds and Bodies"

31*,..', 4 , v #',, ..,.
.. '.F.. . . 35.x^ .L B ,-.. w l

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