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September 29, 1997 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-29

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 29, 1997

UK rock
Ponti ac
By Brian Cohen
Daily Arts Writer
Throughout the last seven years, The Charlatans UK has
run into more than its share of roadblocks on the long and
winding road to and from success.
In fact, when you consider the outrageous amounts of mis-
fortune and tragedy that the Manchester group has had to sift
through and endure, it really is a wonder that the group is still
together at all, let alone one of the year's biggest-selling acts
The problems didn't start until after its 1990 debut album
"Some Friendly" reached the elusive No. 1 spot in the U.K.
But then things quickly plummeted when original guitarist
John Baker quit the band, and shortly thereafter, bassist
Martin Blunt had to be hospitalized for a nervous breakdown.
Then the British press destroyed the band's second and third
albums "Between 10th and 11th" and "Up To Our Hips'" but
not before keyboardist Rob Collins was thrown in jail for four
months for aiding and abetting in an armed robbery.
But wait there's more.
Things started to pick up in the months
following its return-to-No. 1-spot release R
"The Charlatans," and after a short breakR
the band was ready to start recording its N
fifth album. But after leaving the studio Te
one day from one of those sessions, In
Collins was killed in a car crash. T
"The (new) LP was 80 percent written
when Rob died," Charlatans drummer John Brookes said in a
recent interview with The Michigan Daily. "We'd recorded
most of the stuff in some form. We already had a good idea of
what the LP was gonna sound like, so we didn't want to med-
dle with it or start adding or taking away."
Rather than completely change the direction of the band
musically or physically, The Charlatans appeared determined
to continue with the same intensity that it had displayed in
years past. "Although we had to deal with Rob passing on,
which was hard enough in itself, we had one lucky bonus that
the record was done and we had something to focus on. We
didn't want to write a lot of songs and depress everybody."
Sure enough, this emotional period in The Charlatans'
career was not the painful end that many fans and critics had
expected. "We were stopped in the middle of working, and we
took a break to contemplate a lot of things, and we decided to
come back and finished what we started," Brookes added.
"And with that sort of attitude, we've sort of bounced back.'
And bounce back it has indeed. The new album "Tellin'
Stories" triumphantly emerged with a two-week reign at No.
I in the U.K. Since then, stand-in keyboardist Tony Rodgers
became an official Charlatan, and the band launched a world-
wide tour including the tremendous T In The Park and
Phoenix festivals in England.
The band's latest American tour is now underway, and
Brookes was confident about his band's chances. "We've
been coming out for six years, so we've always felt comfort-

Dyson to read at Shaman tonight


The Charlatans UK played industry in Pontiac last week.
able in America, and this time is no exception, in fact this
time we feel there's a sense of huge optimism. We think that
we're really starting to get somewhere. We feel like our roots
are starting to branch out a little bit more."
On Thursday, The Charlatans brought its catchy brand of
straight-ahead pop to The Industry in Pontiac. After much
waiting and cheering, the band walked onto the club's ridicu-
lously small stage and ignited into "With No Shows," the first
song off "Tellin' Stories." The brash rocker had the crowd
involved from the get go, and segued nicely into the album's
bouncy second single "North Country Boy."
Frontman Tim Burgess was a volatile mixture of unkempt
stubble and cigarette smoke as he sneered out most of the mate-
rial from "Tellin' Stories." His overly Bob Dylan-esque vocals
wore thin on "Get On It," as did his wildly talented single-note
harmonica contribution. But his performance on the new
album's stellar title track was nothing short of inspirational.
The band's largest hit to date, "One To Another," poured
from the speakers and had the crowd pogo-ing with delight.
The die-hards continued to jumped up
E V I E W and down to earlier singles "Can't Get
Out Of Bed," "Weirdo;" and "Just When
Charlatans UK You're Thinking Things Over."
During a keyboard-laden "You're A Big
ndustry, Pontiac Girl Now" Burgess pranced around stage,
hursday, Sept. 25, 1997 feigning boredom during the solos, and
mouthed unintelligible comments to the
audience. In fact, throughout the entire night, Burgess did nothing
on stage that Liam Gallagher doesn't do 100 times better.
The audience had to wait until the encore to hear The
Charlatan's best song, but finally the powerful single "How
High" was delivered with a thick and brawny punch of guitar
and bass. If The Charlatans are going to make any serious waves
in the United States, then this is the song that can do it for them.
The small Industry crowd was certainly a bit of a change
for a group used to playing to far greater audiences abroad.
Yet Brookes said that adjusting to the differences between the
types of gigs was not hugely problematic. "If we get the feel-
ing like (American crowds) have gone away with the same
sort of buzz that we can create for 30,000 people in Britain,
than that'll do us fine?'
The band is starting to turn some American heads. And for-
get about those old Stone Roses comparisons. "The
Charlatans have always had to be original," Brookes added.
"We've had our periods where people couldn't give a shit
about us, so all that we could have done was just to be our-
selves. We've found that's been the best policy. We're not that
commercially oriented or commercially smart."
No matter what the future holds for the Manchester quin-
tet, they seem poised to do things strictly on their own terms.
"We've never been the sort of band that's felt we've got to
sell ourselves to anybody, and if we've got to start making
oprselves look stupid, then fuck it - we're not interested.
We're certainly not gonna be anybody's dancing fool"

By Cara Spindler
For the Daily
Michigan's Eight Mile Road can be
conceived of as a color line, as an eco-
nomic line, as a cultural line between
the economically suffering core of an
industrial city and
one of the richest P R
counties in the
U.S.; it is a micro- Michai
cosm of the
nation. In a simi-
lar way, during
and following the
O.J. Simpson trial, there were distinct
lines such as race and class that were
pushed to the spotlight. These are some
of the multiple forms of divisions that
Michael Dyson's "Race Rules" inter-
Dyson is a visiting professor at
Columbia's Institute for Research in
African-American Studies, an ordained
Baptist minister and, in his own words,
"a Detroit homeboy." In "Race Rules:
Navigating the Color Line;" Dyson
offers a collection of essays that argue
we, as a nation, are not as colorblind as
some would like to believe.
"The tragedy of our condition is that
we have a Supreme Court, and many
other Americans, who have ignored the
rules of race, how race continues to
shape American life," said Dyson.
Dyson highlights both the blatant and
the subtle ways that race continues to
shape our lives in an engaging and
multi-sourced view of black culture,
white culture, youth culture and reli-
gious culture, to name a few.
Throughout the book, Dyson cites
history to explain the how-and-why of
the present. Although he is an academ-
ic, his explication of historical events is
never dry: Anyone that juxtaposes
Ralph Ellison with Snoop and Dr. Dre's
rap "Nothin' But a G Thang" at a
Princeton conference is not scared of
mixing elements. And his ability to pull

el Eric Dyson
Tonight at 8 p.m.
Shaman Drum
decision. What

history into the present makes events
like the O.J. case into a coherent whole.
Dyson can take parts and coagulate
them into meaning.
In "Race Rules," Dyson begins
with an interpretation of what the

infamous Simpson
case means in terms
of America's fasci-
nation with it, and
the social meaning
surrounding the
racially divided out-
come of the jury's
he terms "the most

ugly racial spectacle to hit America in
decades" is placed in a context that
makes us understand, if not like, part
of the media's (and our own) fascina-
tion with the case. Through Simpson,
he offers an interpretation of the divi-
sions surrounding the case and how
they formed.
In an incredible chapter on "Black
Youth, Pop Culture and the Politics of
Nostalgia; Dyson reflects on Hip-Hop

and its historical relation to black musi-
cal style - the black oral culture, blues,
jazz, rock 'n' roll, soul music and blax-
plotation flicks. In the argument of
where hip-hop originated, South or
West Bronx, Dyson pulls in its relation
to Jamaican ska, which itself is a
hybrid. From music, Dyson creates a
picture of black youth culture today.
Dyson takes a standpoint on a variet*
of things - like the black churches
responsibility toward educating its mem-
bers (particularly its youth) about sex;
Louis Farrahkan's and Colin Powell's
leadership roles; the Million Man March
and black womens' reactions to it.
This collection of essays carries the
topic of divisions and lines within
groups of people throughout, but it
seems that there should be some over-
whelming commentary to pull it aIJk
together. The lack of a big, easy sum
mation was hard on me, because race
and all its baggage can be a hard
Don't miss Dyson read from "Race

Dyson, author of "Race Rules" will read from his work tonight at Shaman Drum.

Promise Ring's latest offers everything 'Good'

The Promise Ring
Nothing Feels Good
Jade Tree Records
"Nothing Feels Good" is totally
wrong when you listen to the new
Promise Ring record. The fact is, every-
thing about this record feels absolutely
Starting right where it left off with
last year's gem "30 Degrees
Everywhere," and this past summer's
release of the singles compilation EP
"The Horse Latitudes;" the youngsters
in Wisconsin's own Promise Ring have
taken the imperfections of those record-
ings and come up with something more
beautiful and desirable.

This time, "Nothing Feels Good"
blends the colors of Von Bohlen's voice
so well with the vibrant melodies of the
rest of the band that the palette is bound
to deliver a masterpiece, and it does.
The Promise Ring takes its ultra-pop
experience one step further on
"Nothing Feels Good," and leaves
some of the draggier tempos of past
songs like "My Firetower Flame" and
"Saturday" behind. The album is
quick, yet intricate and accurate. "Is
This Thing On" starts the album off in
a hurry, and blends nicely into "Perfect
Lines" another catchy pop gem. "A
Broken Tenor" and "A Raspberry
Rush" lend a few surprises, as does the
rest of the disc, with the addition of
some new instrumentation like the
mellotron, and something that sounds

like a violin. It seems like the Promise
Ring has taken a more straight-for-
ward stance on timing for "Nothing
Feels Good" as well, as the off-kilter
tempos of "30 Degrees Everywhere"
are replaced with sweet, punchy, pop-
Now that Texas Is The Reason is no
longer with us, it looks as if the Promise
Ring stands to conquer the world, and
what better way than with a full-blown
American tour.
All you swooning girls and sensitive
boys should get your butts to the Club
Soda in Kalamazoo tonight to watch
Von Bohlen and the boys croon away
and play their little hearts out. The show
starts at 7 p.m., and it's all ages, so what
have you got to lose?
- Colin Bartos

Voted Best Record
Store in 1997
4" -Michigan Daily Readership Poll
AIndependent is better


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