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December 06, 1999 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-12-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Okey, Dokey 'Mononoke'
*"Princess Mononoke" screens tonight at the Michigan Theater.
my playing for 3 more days, come see the film that broke all
box-office records in Japan within 5 weeks of its 1997 release.
The film features dubbed voices by Gillian Anderson, Billy Crudup
and Claire Danes. 7:30 p.m.

UI1t id igmaIatg

Tomorrow in Daily Arts:
Check out Breaking Records with reviews of yet another
live Dave Matthews disc and the newest Nas album.
December 6, 1999

Carl Craig
exce tional
Detroit rave
By Jason Birchmoier
Daily Arts Writer
"Come Together" achieved the seemingly impossible
Saturday night by exceeding the lofty expectations it
had set for itself. The collaboration of 3 production
teams, this large-scale rave featured amazing perfor-
mances by big-name artists such as Carl Craig and DJ
*ak along with surprising sets by some lesser-known
artists. A meticulous atmosphere characterized by an
infamous theater, dizzying lighting, crystal clear sound
and an excellent security staff enhanced the stellar
musical performances.
During the past year or so, the one certainty about the
weekend raves in Detroit is their varying degrees of dis-
appointment. Detroit's once burgeoning rave scene has
become pessimistic and jaded as weekend after week-
end police get increasingly aggressive and production
teams get increasingly exploitative.
At first, "Come Together" seemed as if it was going
Wjust another over-promoted, poorly organized rave.
These thoughts became apparent at the party's map
point, Tron Records in Ferndale, where people could
buy tickets and get directions to the rave. Inside the
mysteriously record store almost entirely void of
records, a bunch of hip teenagers were assembled
around a young man with a stack of money in his hand
about two inches thick. After paying the man $25, peo-
ple were then handed a piece of paper with directions to
the rave.
ocated at an infamous space on the East Side of
oit on the corner of Harper and Van Dyke known
only as the Theater, things weren't looking good.
Outside Tron Records, groups of teens around their cars
traded horror stories about the Theater and how they
wanted to get their money back. Despite the protest and
the warnings of many, most people continued on
towards the party.

Palace show cooks
with groovy Phish

By Christi Hoard
For the Daily
The rock band Phish is an ambiguous
oracle. Their genre-blending jams and
escapist lyrics can be read as either: a)
self-indulgent pastiche, or b) a breath of
fresh (or patchouli-scented) air in the
midst of the corporate glitz that most
arena-filling acts have to offer.
But when Phish hit the stage at the
Palace ofAuburn Hills, it was evident that
this minor interpretive dilemma meant
nothing to most of the 20, 000 or so neo-
hippies and college-age "phans" in atten-
dance. As guitarist Trey Anastasio
strummed the opening chords to
"Runaway Jim," bongs lit up, tapers
adjusted the levels on their DAT decks
and dancing bodies filled the aisles.
Phish, meanwhile, noodled away.

Courtesy of Josh Band
Chicago's top house artist, DJ Sneak, keeps the spirits high at his Detroit debut at the Theater, on Saturday.

The Theater itself deserves recognition despite all the
rumors and horror stories about its storied past. Located
off from I-94 in a terribly depressed area of Detroit
among crumbling houses and abandoned storefronts,
the now decayed faQade of the Theater was at one time
a thriving cultural center for highbrow art back at the
dawn of this century.
After being quickly searched by the endless amounts
of security guards for weapons and drugs, people were
led up a pitch-black stairway filled with the thunderous
pound of echoing subwoofers. One after another people
were led out of the submersive darkness into a deep
cavernous rectangular room filled with flashing lights
and a sea of glowsticks waving dancers. At one end of
this visually stunning room was a small stage upon
which a DJ surrounded by a cluster of security guards
and curious onlookers spun hard, aggressive techno.
At the rear of this room behind the mountainous
stacks of speakers, a trail of people filtered backstage
towards a stairway. At the bottom of this short stairway,
one left behind the sensory overloading techno music
and entered a mezzanine filled instead with the chatter
of an uncountable array of stylishly dressed Caucasian
teenagers and 20-somethings. Here one could mingle
with strangers, explore the winding passageways of the
mezzanine or simply entertain oneself by observing
either the colorful personality of the crowd or the
decayed features of the Theater.

If one was to continue exploring the disorienting lay-
out of the Theater or follow the sounds of house music,
the ultimate destination would eventually be the actual
main floor of the Theater where audiences were once
dazzled by films of the silent and early sound era. In
this main area, perhaps Detroit's most recognized musi-
cal auteur Carl Craig conducted a live performance of
his Paperclip People material. From 2 - 3 a.m., hun-
dreds celebrated his unique style of post-modern house
music characterized by an accessible 4/4 rhythm and
several carefully reinterpreted disco motifs.
Following Craig, one of the world's most demanded
house performers, DJ Sneak, made his Detroit
debut,laying down track after track of funky tribal per-
cussion anthems to the growing crowd's delight.
Surrounded by strange looking tropical plants and mul-
tiple projected images of video games, Sneak's large
Latino body rocked to his sounds, rarely looking up
except to grab another record from his crate.
At 5 a.m., after the two superstar performances, a
young DJ from San Francisco named Steven Sacks took
the decks and began an extended set. Seamlessly mixing
track after track of warm, positive west coast house
music, Sacks' set may have been the surprise of the
evening as hundreds still grooved to his light sounds
despite the ridiculously late hour.
While all this wonderful house music fueled the
See CRAIG, Page 10

"Jim" alone ran
Anastasio led the
includes drummer
The Palace of
Auburn Hills
Dec. 2, 1999

10 minutes, and
band (which also
Jon Fishman, bass
player Mike
Gordon and key-
boardist Page
through a raucous
jam on the audi-
ence-favorite "Run
Like an Antelope."
Like many of
Phish's tunes,
"Antelope" is a
complex opus in,
the prog-rock vein,
and the quartet
moved nimbly
from its wacky,

Phish prepared with a dash of catchy
melody, and the ballad "Wading in a
Velvet Sea," sung by McConnell, high-
lighted the band's softer side.
Still, "Farmhouse" was the set's only
song that might hold its own when com-
pared with the pop tunesmanship of
most songs in Phish's extensive cover
catalog (which includes songs by the
Velvet Underground, Rolling Stones and
Bob Dylan).
But while the first set's songs and
jams were mostly drab, the second set
brought to mind the reason many fans
return to Phish shows during the past
few years. On the jam staple "Bathtub
Gin,' Anastasio's guitar lines soared
beautifully alongside McConnell's organ
work while the rhythm section made all
the right moves below. A cover of
Deodato's arrangement of "Also Sprach
Zarathustra" (the theme from "2001:A
Space Odyssey") included not only a
lively funk vamp but also a magnificent
light show.
With "You Enjoy Myself," which has
been Phish's signature song ever since
the foursome recorded it for their 1988
debut album "Junta," the band expertly
navigated the tune's composed passages
before bursting into a pseudo-funk jam
in which Gordon showed off his bass-
slapping skills. The jam also benefited
from some of the truly inspired group
interplay that has made Phish legends
among their followers. When Gordon
and McConnell stumbled upon a won-
derfully-eerie chord progression and
Anastasio tossed off some searing guitar
licks, the audience cheered loudly and
danced wildly.
And as the dark groove sailed along,
the concert reached a Phish-y compro-
mise. Sure, the noodling gets a bit boring
at times and the songs may only fully
work with the aid of mind-expanding
chemicals, but when the band is at its
best, "phans" can expect some awe-
inspiring improvisational rock.

Camper Van Beethoven-ish intro through
a dark, driving jam section and finished
up with a reggae-fied breakdown and
group shout-along ("You've got to run
like an antelope, out of control").
The first set also displayed Phish's
ability to pen shorter, Grateful Dead-
inspired pop tunes. "Heavy Things,"
"Roggae," and "Sample in a Jar" were
all fodder for listeners who prefer their

'Witch' frights with scary camera jerks

B Matthew Barrett
Daily Arts Writer
By now, everyone knows the story
of "The Blair Witch Project" - three
student filmmakers shoot a docu-
mentary in the woods, disappear and
then have their footage discovered a
year later. The hook of the film,
which was made for only $22,000, is
th t the three actors playing the film-
iers shot the majority of the
footage themselves on a several day
excursion in the woods. Hence, the
*ilted camera movements and out of
focus shots are excused. Not quite.
The story begins when our three
main characters - Heather (Heather
Donahue), Josh (Joshua Leonard)
and Mike (Michael Williams) head
off for Burkittsville, Md. to inter-
view a few of the locals about the
cuse of the Blair Witch. Soon after,
tgang packs up their cameras and
heads for the woods to finish their
project. Needless to say, things don't
go quite as planned and all of the
sudden they're lost.
While theyideaof "The Blair Witch
Project" seems interesting, the fin-
ished product is not. The movie isn't
scary, looks awful (the shaky camera
gets old pretty fast) and boils down
tthree kids getting lost in the
ds and spending the next few

days picking at each other. It's also a
little hard to figure why, if they were
so lost and in such a desperate situa-
tion, so much energy was expended
documenting the entire experience
on film. The high/low point of this
comes when a character discovers a
wrapped package containing a
bloody human tongue. Instead of just
moving along, she opts to zoom in
and out on the tongue a few times.
And this is supposed to be scary?
The DVD version of "The Blair
Witch Project" has several extra fea-
tures, few of which are worthwhile.
There's a commentary track with
directors Daniel Myrick and
Eduardo Sanchez, producers Gregg
Hale, Robin Cowie and Michael
Monello. The five seem to enjoy

themselves but offer very little
insight into the actual process of
making the film. How much of the
film was improvised and how much
was scripted (some notes were left
for actors indicating what they were
supposed to do) remains a mystery
as does a true sense of the role that
they played while the actors were in
the woods.
Also included is some newly dis-
covered footage that the witch felt
should be included on the DVD. This
features a five minute scene of the
three main characters in a tent bick-
ering about a day gone wrong as
Heather offers up the profound
"What we saw today was just fucking
unreal man." It's pretty disappointing
that the makers didn't offer fans

more of the lost footage, seeing as
it's mentioned in the commentary
track that the film's original running
length was two and a half hours long.
The best item featured gn the DVD
is the "Curse of the Blair Witch"
documentary that first aired on the
Sci-Fi Channel. This blends in
footage from the film, news reports
and interviews with the family mem-
bers about the three missing stu-
dents. The documentary is well put
together and much more interesting
to watch then the film.
"The Blair Witch Project" has had
its day in the sun, and by now its
novelty has worn off. It's neither
entertaining nor scary and makes for
a dizzying hour and a half of little


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