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February 10, 1999 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-10

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 10, 1999 - 7

Solar

Matthews likes
acoustic record

honors
tear of
narties

1gArts Writer
Solar, a night of dance music,
launched one year ago. The University's
party kids have come to the Blind Pig
every Wednesday night since for a little
mid-week study break. Until two in the
morning various DJs spin loud, thump-
ing dance music while the crowd either
shake their booties or say "what's up" to
their friends.
aceful vibes radiate nearly as
p erfully as the bass throughout the
darkness and neon lights. Somewhat of
a united family,
it's not uncom-
mon to see more
than a few
Solar 1st familiar faces on
Anniversary the dance floor
Blind Pig every week.
Tonight at 9:30 p.m. Conceptually
similar to the
weekend raves
in Detroit, Solar
slowly has
evolved into a
second home for
many of these
party kids and
heir technological sub-culture.
Tonight, the Solar family reunites
or a very special one-year anniversary
ce ration. For the first time ever,
wA famous DJs Derrick May and
Kevin Saunderson will perform a four-
urntable tag team spectacle. Many tal-
:nted DJs have rocked the party over
:he past year, but tonight promises to
:ranscend each of those magical
nights.
Straight from Detroit, May and
Saunderson have revolutionized the
world of dance music during the past
decade. While they could be consid-
erto be two of the best DJs in the
wvord today, these two artists are most
well known for producing their own
nusic. Along with Juan Atkins, May

Courtesy of Doug Coombe

DJ Derrick May spins discs for Solar, a weekly dance party at the Blind Pig.

and Saunderson were instrumental in
the development of techno music in
the late '80s.
This special event continues the
original theme of Solar. Promoter Jon
Layne describes the ongoing theme of
Solar as "an innovative night in elec-
tronic music." Ever since the opening
night back in February 1998, Layne
has continually kept his promise.
Some of the world's best DJs, such as
Mix Master Morris and Aphrodite,
have brought their groundbreaking
musical styles to Solar. Besides these
globetrotting DJs, Layne also has
made a strong effort to bring some of
America's best talent, such as DJ Funk
and Bad Boy Bill, to Ann Arbor.
Through Solar, Layne also continues
to support Ann Arbor's growing elec-
tronic music scene. Each week, young
local talent, such as Engineering
senior Gary Givental, warm up the
crowd for the superstar DJs. Layne

even has gone as far as to release a 12-
inch EP, "D-Down," for another
University student known as Disco D.
This loyalty to the evolving scene and
young DJs has only increased the pop-
ularity of Solar with the youth.
The key to Solar's unexpected suc-
cess are, "the kids who support the
scene, the ones who buy the records
and come see the DJs," Layne said.
Other key ingredients to the rise in
electronic music in Ann Arbor include
local record stores - Grooveyard and
Dubplate Pressure - and Mojo
Clothing. Various Internet newsgroups
and Websites heavily populated with
University students also promote the
scene.
Solar began a year ago with a young
resident DJ named Disco D and much
skepticism. Up until then Nectarine
nightclub monopolized the dance
music scene in Ann Arbor with their
heterogeneous grouping of thematic

nights. Layne teamed up with local
production company Prism
Productions to create a live DJ-based
musical event focusing more on the
music than drinks and romance.
Solar's focus allowed them to quickly
gain popularity among the University
crowd despite their distant location.
As electronic music continues to
gain popularity in Ann Arbor, Layne
must prepare for the future. He hopes
to capitalize on the growing interest in
Jungle (drum and bass) and Ghetto
Tech (booty) music. Each will now be
featured once a week. In addition to
this move, Layne also has teamed up
with University radio station WCBN
(88.3 FM) to broadcast Solar live from
midnight to 3 a.m. on the radio as well
as on the World Wide Web via real
audio (www.wcbn.org).
The one-year anniversary party
tonight not only celebrates a year of
great parties but promises even more
to come. As increasing numbers of stu-
dents begin to discover the wonders of
electronic music, Solar has become a
refreshing alternative to Ann Arbor's
decaying bar scene. The party kids at
Solar don't go to drink themselves into
a stupor; they go to dance and chill
with friends. This positive attitude
change, combined with the growing
electronic music scene, foreshadows a
slow progression among students
towards a new, technological culture
for the future.
Tickets for Solar are available
through Ticketmastet or at
the door for $15. For more
information call (734) 913-9738.

The Hartford Courant
When Dave Matthews was
first toying with music in
Charlottesville, Va., his inspira-
tion and mentor was Tim
Reynolds, one of the college
town's top musicians.
Reynolds would play in clubs
where Matthews bartended.
So even as albums by his
group, the Dave Matthews Band,
keep going multi-platinum and
their shows keep filling stadi-
ums, Matthews continues to
book small campus acoustic
tours with Reynolds during the
winter.
When the two played Luther
College in Decorah, Iowa, three
years ago Saturday, it was before
his "Crash" album had been
released, so the enthusiastic
audience heard current band sta-
ples like "Crash Into Me" for the
first time. There've been other
album from the band since then,
including the No. 1 "Before
These Crowded Streets."'
"Live at Luther College," the
live double album from that
stop, has stayed at No. 2 on the
charts since its release last
month.
The acoustic album is the sec-
ond in what's planned to be a
series of occasional live albums
from Matthews. An archival set
from Red Rock amphitheater in
Colorado similarly shot up the
charts between official studio
releases in 1997.
It's something Matthews has
done, in part, to thwart the grow-
ing number of unofficial
bootlegs of his shows. The band
got caught in a bit of a bad pub-
lic relations bind in 1997 when
representatives of the band's
label began cracking down hard
on mom-and-pop record stores
that sold the unofficial, privately
produced, often crude live
recordings. One store in
Connecticut was all but shut
down as a result of injunctions
filed by his record company.
Still, "I don't think it's a fight
you can win," Matthews said in

an interview last summer.
"There's always the bootlegs
that are going around, but I think
the record company and manage-
ment are fighting that," he said.
"But that's their fight."
Matthews is clearly conflicted
on the issue. His initial fame
outside the Southeast, after all,
came when college fans traded
tapes nationally with their
friends.
"We'd go up to Connecticut,
the first time we ever played in
those places, they'd be singing
the lyrics along with us because
they knew all the tapes, and they
had them from friends who went
to college in the South, and
friends who were in college in
Colorado," Matthews said.
He still maintains an open-
taping policy at shows, as Phish
does.
"I understand the argument on
both sides," Matthews said.
"When people are taping and
trading shows, that's one thing.
Because it's their decision.
"But when somebody who
doesn't really give a damn about
the music or about the fans,
comes in and makes 500,000
copies of a show, and gives it a
weird name, and misnames all
the songs, because nothing mat-
ters, and then puts out a bad
recording - with the voices of,
you know, five drunk guys
screaming louder than the music
- and then charges you $80 for
it, there's something about that
that's a little ... "he paused to
choose the right word, "irritat-
ing."
"If it were all up to me, I
wouldn't give a damn, but I see
the argument," he said.
But his band and record com-
pany decided to issue its own
official live recordings, not just
because of the improved sound
quality and correct song titles.
"We also don't want to step on
people who like to have a CD,"
as opposed to a cassette tape,
"so we throw ours in at a dis-
count price."

DJ Kevin Saunderson played a large role in the development of techno music.

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