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February 20, 1996 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-20

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8- The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 20, 1996

Thinking man's punkers perform at Shelter

Al wonders why he's shown in "Glengarry Glen Ross," while he stars in "City Hall."
Padno falls in'City Hall'

By Christopher Corbett
Daily Arts Writer -
"City Hall" is one hell of an ugly
movie. Having filmed it in New York
City, director Harold Becker ("Sea of
L;ove") gives us harsh, cluttered interi-
ors and dreary, overcast glimpses ofthe
town. What's more, most of the main
characters are men in their 60s. We see
City Hall
Directed by Harold Becker
with John Cusack
and Al Pacino
At Briarwood and Showcase
more wrinkles here than if we opened a
box of raisins.
John Cusack tries, with this film, to
make the leap from Romantic Comedy
Dork to Serious Actor Man. He demon-
strates that moving from an apartment on
Bill Pullman Road to a mansion on Rob-
ert De Niro Boulevard is no easy task -
it takes time. Cusack, as the mayor's
deputy in "City Hall," stands as the center
of the film. He is the good guy in the
niddle ofall kinds ofslimy, worm-ridden
fish, the guy with aheart ofgoldwho will
try to unravel the tangled web ofa Mafia-
marred city hall.
Too bad Cusack is so subdued in the
film. He nevertakes command of any of
his scenes. In perhaps the film's best
sequence, he learns of a friend's be-
trayal-apotential bonanza for Cusack
to display his range. Yet his voice re-
mains so quict, his face so inanimate,
that he fails to claim a presence.
.Becker kept his key performers on
too tight a leash. We see Cusack as

toned-down, not lazy. The same goes
for Al Pacino, who doesn't have much
room to move either. Pacino's few big
moments come in the last half of the
film. He sometimes shows signs of life;
his enormous talents peek past Becker's
limiting direction, as when he gives a
speech at a slain boy's funeral.
As the mayor, Pacino manipulates
the crowd for his own benefit - while
he stands behind the boy's coffin. We
see him acting the act of caring. The
shocking scene could have proved hor-
rifying, had Becker gone for the gusto
and not botched the job. Pacino makes
the moment interesting on his own.
The two actors who please us most
don't show up often enough. Danny
Aiello is a wonderful creep. As an e-
vile New York City Democratic boss,
Aiello watches over his lackeys with
insidious, smiling eyes. Becker gives
us a few shots of him rubbing his hands
together - they're pudgy, thick and
oh-so-grubby. You can just imagine
him bellowing, "Ha ha! No one can stop
me now!"
Even Bridget Fonda, as an attorney
who knows what time it is, battles through
the corruption (to protect the family of a
framed and murdered cop) with energy.
Becker would have done well to also
liven up his two main stars.
"City Hall," a seriously serious film,
has tons and tons of dialogue. This
movie does not shut up. The film would
have only succeeded, then, had it given
up a few grip-the-armrest thrills. We
get a couple of corpses floating in the
river, a suicide ortwo in the automobile
and a handful of shootings on the street.
Come on! We want to go to the movies
to ESCAPE reality for a bit, guys! You
can be more creative than THAT! "City
Hall" winds up as nothing more than
John Grisham-lite.

By Colin Bartos
Daily Arts Writer
It seems like everywhere you look
nowadays, another pop-punk band pops
up sounding like everyone else. Three-
piecebands ala Green Day andNirvana
have become the norm. Upon first
glance, you might think that Shades
Apart is another one of those bands, but
you're wrong.
More along the lines of Bad Religion
or Jawbreaker, Shades Apart is "think-
The Shelter
Feb. 16, 1996
ing man's punk" - they have some-
thing to say, and they play more than
three chords. Drummer Ed Brown de-
scribed his band as "(Sharing) some of
the influences of the saturation of pop-
punk bands. But musically, we're more
rhythmic, and probably heavier. We
definitely choose not to be labeled."
Shades Apart, named for how the
band thinks of itself, formed in
Bridgewater, N.J., and has been to-
gether on and off since 1988. "It's been
constant since '92," Brown said.
Early influences include Husker Du
and the Descendents, whose leader, Bill
Stevenson, actually produced the new
CD, "Save It." After a self-titled debut
that is now out of print, and a six-song
EP called "Dude Danger," Shades Apart
released "Neon" in 1993 on Skene
Records. The record was a departure
from the driving punk that fueled their
first two albums. The album is much
more melodic and more reflective, and
shows a totally different side of the
band. In 1994, Shades Apart signed
Continued from Page 5
The Seymores
Vernon Yard
Like Buffalo Tom before they got too
earnest fortheirown good, the Seymores
play unashamedly collegiate-oriented
rock. "Piedmont" features 11 naive
grunge-pop tunes by four guys who
grew up on Buffalo Tom, Dinosaur Jr.
and all those other '80s college rock
But what the Seymores lack in origi-

with indie punk giant Revelation
Records, whom Brown described as "a
greatcompany. We're pretty happy with
Rev. They've done a lot to help us and
promote us."
This summer, the group released
"Save It," an ll-song assault which
clocks in at about 30 minutes-a return
to their roots, so to speak.
"Save It" includes a really cool ver-
sion of Soft Cell's '80s pop-song
"Tainted Love." "We did that in De-
cember of '93," Brown said. "There
was a compilation of '80s bubble-gum
covers and it was a benefit record. A lot
of groups covered '80s pop songs. Un-
fortunately, it never came to fruition,
but we were happy with the recording,
and just put it on this album."
Another interesting song is "Gun,"~
which Brown described as "an anti-
firearms statement ... in a way that was
a little more poignant, almost scarier
than just saying guns are bad." Upon
first listen, the song just sounds like a
story about anormal relationship, when,
in fact, the girl is actually the gun.
When asked about the whole "sell-
out" factor of signing with a major
label and the state of music today,
Brown mentioned that he "doesn't
have that perspective on it, unless the
band said something like they would
never do it. If it's what they wanted to
do, then good. I think it's good that
more people can be exposed to punk,
or hardcore music, and it's not strictly
underground. But, I guess that the flip
side of that is that it can become
adulterated. If a band stays true to its
beliefs, it would hopefully open more
minds than close them. Bands that
have something worthwhile to say are
a positive thing."
Shades Apart's Friday performance at
the Shelter could be best described like
the band Shades Apart itself- tight and
solid. New York City'sown Shift opened
nality (singer David Fera's voice sounds
too much like the Tom's Bill Janovitz
for comfort) they make up in quality.
Songs like "Red Snapper" and
"Sidewinder" almost make you forget
the recent lackluster releases from Buf-
falo Tom and other college-pop
wannabes like the Gin Blossoms and
the Goo Goo Dolls.
Also unlike those releases is the fresh,
raw sound of the album; crisp drums,
alternately fuzzy and ringing guitars
and prominent vocals separate "Pied-
mont" from the overproduced alterna-
tive masses. Basically, the Seymores
polish a formula that's been perfected
by scores of college-rock bands before
them - the loud songs make you pogo
and the ballads are genuine and affect-
ing. A solid, if somewhat uninspired
album, "Piedmont" won't take you any-
where you haven't been before, but the
ride's pretty nice.
- Heather Phares

up the show. This four-piece was good,
but they sounded like just about every
other hardcore/metal band to ever come
out of New York. Nevertheless, the 45-
minute set provided a good warm-up for
the headliners.
Shades Apart took the stage almost
nonchalantly. And with a simple, "Hi.
We're Shades Apart," they ripped
right into the first two songs from
"Save It" - "Menace" ,and "Gun."
These sounded even harder and more
energetic than on the album. From
there, they tried out a new song on the
audience, written only a couple of
weeks ago; it sounded really good. It
was a little slower than most of "Save

It," maybe more along the lines of
"Neon," but a little less pop-driven. It
could be a good indication of where
the band is heading.
The remainder of the one-hour set
consisted of about half of the rest of
"Save It," including "SeptemberBurns"
and "Tainted Love," which was pei
formed after stating that Soft Cell was'
big influence. They included afew songs
from "Neon," and even a couple of
tunes from their debut, to the delight of
some of the hardcore old-school fans in
the house.
All in all, the fans left with a niceshot
of that good ol' punk rock music in theit
veins after a fine intimate performance'

The boys in Shades Apart got out of their tree house to play in Detroit Friday.

Continued from Page 5
with," Frank said. "It's what the records
were always supposed to sound like,
but we could never play our instru-
ments. I don't know that it will matter to
the world at large, but it's a personal
triumph that I can say, 'You know, I
made a record that doesn't suck.' If you
can truly say that, then that's more than
a lot of people can say."
Named on a whim for the esteemed
"A-Team" actor, The Mr. T Experience
doesn't have any direct relationship with
the burnt-out mohawked star, other than
being admirers of his fine work.
"Like many decisions affecting our
career, the name wasn't well thought
out," Frank said. "This band was never
supposed to last for longer than a show
or two. It was never supposed to put out
any records, and every record we ever
did was always going to be the last one.
Just a bunch of idiotic youths sitting
around, that's the only name we could
come up with, and now everybody's
stuck with it. The worst thing about it is
when you're not around people who go
to shows who are in the know. People at
motels or gas stations will say, 'Oh,
what's the name of your group,' and
then you tell them. It goes ovef'like a
lead balloon unless you're hip to that
underground vibe."
Although he's never met the band's
hero, Frank said the real Mr. T isn't all
to fond of the group's work. During an

in-store appearance in a Sant& Rosa,
Calif., comic book store, Frank said
Mr. T became irate when a kid asked
the star to sign a Mr. T Experienc@
"About 400 people showed up to this
signing, and a lot of them had their Mrt.
T Experience records to be signed by
him. He really got upset and threatened
to kill a kid," Frank said. "If he had
killed that kid, we would be raking it in
right now from the publicity. I wouldn't
say I wish he'd killed that kid, because
every kid has a right to mature into an
adult, but you know it sure wouldn'
have hurt. I bet we could have gotten
onto 'Sally Jessy Raphael' with that
A graduate of UC Berkeleywith' a
degree in history, Dr. Frank admitted
his "Dr." is a self-proclaimed title. "I
started being called that because of
my studious demeanor when I was in
school. People used to mock me by
calling me 'Dr. Frank' or "Frank
Ph.D.' or whatever, and I used it
my air name when I DJed on my
college radio station.
"For a while I was telling people
when they asked, 'Are you a real doc-
tor?' I'd say no, I'm a dentist. That was
kind of funny and it got a laugh, but I
found the repercussions were that a lot
of people really believed I was a dentist
and I started getting calls from people
who wanted root canals, so that was a
mistake. It's just totally random an
stupid like the name of the band an
everything else about the band."

Do you want to
write for
Daily Arts?
Cai1I 763-0379.

p 1

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church
& Canterbury House
invite you to attend4
Ash Wednesday


February 21, 1996

7:00 a.m.
12:15 p.m.
4:30 p.m.
7:30 p.m.

In the Chapel; Light Breakfast and Coffee following
In the Church
In the Church-Children especially welcome
In the Church-Choral Liturgy and Eucharist
306 N. Division St. (Division at Catherine)
663-0518 for more information




U ~ .w~~ * y. ~mzw"' ~ Ht


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