12A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 28, 1998
By JuQuan Williams
Daily Arts Writer
The University Symphony
Orchestra, a beloved part of the
musical tradition at the University,
is set to perform two pieces this
evening. The theme will be heroism
of epic proportions, a concept not
too unfamiliar in literature or music.
Tonight at 8
direct the USO
tonight at 8 p.m.
will first per-
f o r m
4p. 62. The
piece was writ-
ten in tribute to
G e n e r a l
provides a musical
Kenneth Kiesler, a University Music professor, conducts the USO.
soundtrack to Shakespeare's play of
the same name. The second piece is
Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10,
Op. 53. Thought of by many as
Shostakovich's greatest masterpiece,
this Symphony was written in 1953
as his first since World War II and
the Stalin Era.
Beethoven brings Coriolanus'
struggles of personal will against
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desires of the public into the realm
of astonishing sound. As Beethoven
wrote, "Power is the morality of men
who stand out from the rest, and it is
also mine." This story of ancient
lore was of personal significance to
the composer and no doubt influ-
enced his composition.
Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10
has been evaluated by a Russian
commentator as, "(one) without a
single tranquil movement in it." It is
reflective of Shostakovich's times
and highlights his viewing of youth
as one of the conditions that strug-
gles against Evil.
Kenneth Kiesler has chosen a for-
midable program for the evening.
But his directorship of the
University orchestras since 1995,
and his founding music director
position at the Illinois Chamber
Orchestra provide great indication
for his abilities. He has performed
Shostakovich's music before at the
International Festival for Music, and
in 1998 received the Helen M.
Thompson Award from the
American Symphony Orchestra-
With admission to the free con-
cert, University students should get
ready for an evening full of grand
By Rob Mitchum
Daily Arts Writer
It's not easy being a jam band.
To be successful, such groups
must delicately straddle the line
between improvisational genius
and pure self-indulgence. At the
same time, one must endure end-
less touring schedules and con-
stant comparisons to Grateful
Dead (as the only rock-based jam
band that most critics have heard
of). Can a tiny band from Ohio
like Ekoostik Hookah stand up to
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Ekoostik Hookah, a collection of Jerry Garcia look-alikes, is known for its Dead-like sound.
Hookab's n11ot Dead yet.
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Sept. 24. 1998
night was an
at the Blind
for a long,
five - piece
a sound that
its music on a strong foundation
of musical talent. As accom-
plished as each member is, how-
ever, the spotlight was almost
always on lead guitarist Steve
Sweney. The tall, lanky Sweney
appeared to be physically
wrestling with his instrument as
he supplied lightning-fast blue-
grass fills on "Lady Vanilla" and
emotional blues leads on
"Ridgway Sky." Most exciting
was his playing on the multi-part
instrumental "Slipjig Through
the Poppy Fields," as he traversed
the different movements with
frightening ease and glorious
The other standout Hookah
member was keyboardist/gui-
tarist/vocalist Dave Katz. While
behind the keys, Katz added
depth to the band's sound by
adding subtle piano and organ
counterpoint to Sweney's fiery
When Katz came out to the
front of the stage wielding his
acoustic guitar, the band's sound
suffered from the lack of instru-
mental diversity, but his catchy
songwriting and soulful voice
compensated for the loss.
These qualities were most
prevalent in the beginning of the
second set, where two of Katz's
songs provided the highlight of
the show. The band's official
theme song "Hookahville" quick-
ly caused the crowd to resume
dancing and singing along after
the half hour set break. This set
the crowd up to be absolutely
floored by the next tune,
"Ecstacy," where the epic vocals
of the song melted away into theg
fiercest jamming of the night.
Ekoostik Hookah remains a
lesser-known band, however, and
thus the performance was not
without its weak points.
With a few exceptions (most
notably the long, adventurous
"Float") guitarist/vocalist Ed
McGee's songs lacked the spark
of Katz's compositions. The poor
placement of his ballad "Pass the
Cider" immediately followin
"Ecstacy" all but sucked the
energy right out of the room. The
impromptu cover of the Doors
"Roadhouse Blues" also provid-
ed a lowlight, which reduced
Hookah to the musical level of a
credible bar band.
Much more effective was the
playful cover of Three Dog
Night's "Mama Told Me," sung
by drummer Eric Lanese.
The bluesy, but playful inter-
pretation and tight Sweney solo
emphasized what works best for
the Ohio quintet, and confirmed
that Ekoostik Hookah has the
right ingredients for success as a
Brothers than those Dead fellows
- a Southern-fried mix of blues
and country-inflected rock.
Like most successful jam
bands, Ekoostik Hookah builds
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