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February 12, 1996 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-12

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Ulbe Altdim I fdl

A Silent Classic
Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" is an amazing futuristic motion picture that
explores a workers' city filled with love but threatened by robots.
Incorporating impressive technical aspects, this is an early science
fiction film way ahead of its time. It is showing this afternoon at the
Michigan Theater at 4:15. Student admission is $5.Monday
February 12, 1996

crashers head thrilling ska-fest
Wild ska band hit the Blind Pig Saturday evening

By Brian A. Gnatt
Daily Music Editor
Saturday night's ska-punk fest at the
Blind Pig was quite a treat, especially
compared to the usual burned-out hip-
pie rock that permeates Ann Arbor.
With the Dance Hall Crashers headlin-
over Waterdog and the Skolars,
anyone who was lucky enough to attend
the full-house show was treated to an
evening of great music.
With Detroit's own Skolars opening
up the show, the three-band bill kicked.
off on the right foot. With their horns
REVIEW
Dance Hall
Crashers
The Blind Pig
Feb. 10, 1996
blaring, the youngins of the Skolars
thrilled the mix of Pig regulars and
Pioneer High School kids who were
able to snag their big brothers' IDs to
beat the club's asinine 19-and-over
policy.
he Skolars played their good ol'
ky ska to an enthusiastic audience,
with their energized music rubbing off
on a crowd that was more concerned
with the music than the beer specials.
Throughout their surprisingly excep-
tional set, their vocalist showed the
world how cool he knew he was, but
still kept the crowd entertained, even
with their decent cover of Operation
Ivy's "Unity" to close their set.
,Waterdog, a four-piece pop-punk
outfit from Providence, R.I., came out
next to charm the crowd with their Jam-
influenced songs. Despite the band's
likeness to other pop-punkers like Green
Day, Waterdog's songs go beyond
simple three-chord shallow tunes to re-
veal the more intelligent and educated
punker's songwriting.
Waterdog has been touring with the
Dance Hall Crashers for a while now,
W atly complementing each other's
ertoires. "It's great touring with
them," said Waterdog bassist Sean. "It's
like being at summer camp."
Probably more loved than the band's
music was Sean, who was dressed up in
a giant, blue rabbit suit.

Nevertheless, Waterdog put on an
impressive set, covering most of the
ground from their self-titled debut that
was released at the end of last year.
With his Billie Joe Armstrong-like stage
presence, leadvocalist and guitarist Buh
sang and played the band's songs with
pure punk energy.
Ripping through their songs "My
Life" and "Instead Of," Waterdog makes
no bones about where their influences
come from. They even went as far as to
cover the Jam's "In the City." But the
band's tightness, stage antics and hu-
mor made their performance one to
remember.
The simple fact that Waterdog's
music is more punk than ska put a great
break between the Skolars and the Dance
Hall Crashers, who both rely heavily on
the off-beat music. With a break be-
tween the ska acts, Waterdog helped to
break up the monotony of other similar
ska shows.
But the stars of the evening were the
Dance Hall Crashers, who put on a
phenomenal show. Starting off a bit out
of tune, vocalists Elyse Rogers and
Karina Denike quickly found each
other's rich vocals and continued to

sound great throughout the remainder
of the show.
Playing tracks from their most recent
record "Lockjaw," and others from their
out-of-print debut, the Dance Hall
Crashers rocked and skanked the Pig
pretty darn hard. While the band lays
out an immense amount of energy and
enthusiasm on its albums, in a live set-
ting that energy is taken to an entirely
different level.
Both singers' flailing, jumping and
dancing kept the crowd pogoing and
skanking throughout the Crashers' en-
tire set. The rest of the band, guitarists
Jason Hammond and Scott Goodell,
bassist Mike Weiss and drummerGavin
Hammon kept the Berkeley sextet's
music bouncing and tight the entire
night.
The audience got even more ex-
cited when the Crashers played famil-
iar songs off "Lockjaw" like "Queen
For A Day," "Shelly" and the band's
hit, "Enough."
So, at least for one night, Ann
Arborites got to experience some music
that's a bit more exciting than the typi-
cal Spin Doctor wanna-bees of A-
squared.

Arturo Sandoval played with Tito Puente at Hill Saturday night. JONATHAN LURIE/Daily
Lively l jazzerrock

By James P. Miller
Daily Arts Writer
The tempo and flair of this show was
so mesmerizing that after the music
started, there was nothing else on my
mind. I was too busy banging the seat in
front of me and singing along in Span-
ish, albeit incorrectly, to think of any-
thing else.
The first set consisted of Jerry
Gonzales and the Fort Apache Band.

REVIEW
Latin Jazz
Summit
Hill Auditorium
Feb. 10, 1996

phonic notes and super-high overtones.
But it was a valiant effort.
I was totally unprepared for Arturo
Sandoval and the Latin Train. From
the first downbeat to the last gloriously
ringing trumpet wail, Arturo owned
that auditorium. The most amazing
thing about Latin jazz is how there can
be such a steady, well-spaced pulse
and yet almost every beat is filled with
rhythmic fire. And nobody stands still,
not for a moment.
If one of the horn players isn't solo-
ing, he is playing some kind of auxil-
iary percussion instrument, clapping
or singing. For Sandoval's whole set,
there was a constant, raging blast of
polyrhythmic insanity and shameful
amounts of fun. From his hilarious
salsa dancing onstage to his pillow-
talk with the audience, his performance
easily matched his enthusiasm.
Sandoval was a protege of Dizzy
Gillespie and it showed. Besides play-
ing the timbales from time to time
Sandoval matched the rhythm sections
sound and fury easily with his trumpet.
Everything from Dizzy's compressed
bebop flourishes to his famous down-
ward cadences, could be heard in
Arturo's music. Tunes like Diz's
"Bebop" were played with both his
Cu-bop rhythmic flavor and his stately
bebop lines. A perfect marriage. I was
paralyzed in ecstasy for most of the
following intermission.
Tito Puente has always been a show-
man. His show includes seven horns,

coloredtimbales and a singerthatmakes
Carmen Miranda look like cloistered
nun. While it was an awesome spec-
tacle, the giant failed to live up to his
reputation. Even though he played such
famous tunes as "Oya Come Va," Cole
Porter's "I Concentrate On You," a
double-timed version of Miles Davis'
"All Blues" and the obligatory "Salsa,"
something just wasn't there.
Mainly, there were too many horns.
Seven altogether, they overpowered the
rhythmic subtleties for most of the
evening. Much of the set was spent in-
dulging them in solos that were too long
and unnecessary. Even though Tito
worked the crowd like a master and
played like champ, the set, overall, was
a let-down after Arturo's. Too much
flash, not enough groove.
Even with a lackluster first set and a
slightly disappointing set from Tito, it
was an amazing night. It was one of
those concerts that is so filled with mu-
sic and dancing and cheering that you
expect the roof to lift off the auditorium,
a great blast of pure Latin energy flying
off in into space and eclipsing the moon
in favor of its own brilliance.
Tito, but Arturo mostly, played with
such unbelievable energy and huevos
that even the most conservative of lis-
teners were shaking their money maker
a little bit. To hear music so full of life
played with such passion is both a hum-
bling and liberating experience. The Mad
Dance has come and gone, and we are all
richer for it'.

The Dance Hall Crashers played at the Blind Pig Saturday night.

Gonzales, a conga player and Grammy
nominee, had two strikes against him
already. He was opening for Arturo
Sandoval and Tito Puente, two giants of
Latin jazz, and he had to play a short set
without the excuse of being an "offi-
cial" opening act.
Although there were plenty of good
moments in his set, Gonzales just had a
problem getting started. The key to Latin
jazz is the rhythmic interplay and the
tightness of the rhythm section. Coming
to the stage cold as they did, they sounded
a few paces behind the whole night. Ev-
erybody, especially the horns, spent most
of their time either trying to get into their
solos or playing stunt licks, like multi-

Golden Smog
'wn by the Old Mainstream
Rykodisc
The liner notes on the Golden
Smog's debut LP say the band mem-

bers are Michael Macklyn, David
Spear, Raymond Virginia,
Leonardson Saratoga, Scot Summit
and Jarret Decatur, but no music fan
familiar with the current alternative
country scene will believe that for a
minute.
The Golden Smog is actually a coun-

try-rock supergroup ofsorts, comprised
of former Jayhawks guitarist Gary
Louris (Macklyn) and bassist Marc
Perlman (Virginia), Wilco frontman Jeff
Tweedy (Summit), guitarist Dan
Murphy (Spear) of Soul Asylum, gui-
tarist Kraig Johnson (Decatur) of Run
Westy Run and Honeydogs drummer
Noah Levy (Saratoga). They all appear
in a photo on the CD's back cover and
their real names appear in the
songwriting credits, but a newcomer to
the insurgent country scene could con-
ceivably be tricked by the somewhat
ridiculous nicknames.
The Smog know this, but they don't
seem to have worried much about it.
As the publicity flier included in the
album packaging explains, "We'd like
to tell you more, but our lawyers won't
let us."
This freewheeling attitude runs
through "Down by the Old Main-
stream," from the goofy photos and
graphics in the liner notes to the light-
hearted songs themselves. The Golden
Smog perfornm the LP's 12 originals and
two covers with the audible amiability

expected from a gang of old friends.
They are also, however, fine musi-
cians and songwriters. Louris deliv-
ers the sweet melodies, soaring har-
monies and intricate, ringing guitar
solos that made the Jayhawks' last
album "Tomorrow the Green Grass"
so wondrous. His simple but lovely
"Won't Be Coming Home," written
with ex-Jayhawks' songwriting part-
ner Mark Olson, is the album's best
track by far (Tweedy takes over
Olson's usual vocal duties, and the
results are surprisingly good).
Tweedy contributes the typically
breezy acoustic track "Pecan Pie"
(one of Wilco's favorite live songs)
and shares songwriting credit with
Louris on the fine album closer
"Radio King."
Not every member of the Smog was
meant to be a band leader, however.

Unfortunately, most of them try on
"Mainstream." Murphy shows exactly
why Dave Pirner does the singing in
Soul Asylum on the lackluster "Ill
Fated" and "Red Headed Stepchild,"
inexplicably chosen as the record's
first single. Pirner himself drops in
with a disastrous lead vocal on "No-
where Bound."
Johnson, at least, adds some memo-
rable lyrics on "He's a Dick," but his
ragged vocals simply can't match up
to those on Louris' and Tweedy's
tracks.
The Golden Smog plays tightly
enough for a pick-up band, and the
ramshacklegsound of such tracks as
"V" (a loving ode to a longtime
confidante,devoted fan and waitress
"with a ring on the side of her nose!
wearing other people's clothes") does
give the record a real charm.

Most of that charm, though, comes
from Tweedy and Louris. The songs
are well-written - but they're not so
well-executed.
For the country-rock faithful who
genuflect at the name of Gram Parsons,
"Down by the Old Mainstream" is a B-
side-quality treat.
For those who've never actually seen
a pedal steel, records by the any of the
Smog members'bands wouldbeabetter
investment.
- Jennifer Buckley
See RECORDS, Page 8A
*** ...Classic
..Excellent
* rk ..Good
* ... Fair
* *... Poor
Zero ..A Bomb

Soul Asylum's Atonal Dan Murphy hangs out with guys who kick his musical butt.
UOWN

c

Write for
Fine Arts.
Call Ted at
763-0379.

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