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November 03, 2000 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-11-03

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So many stories, so little sbace..

Check Out the fruits of our labors
online. You'll find a preview of "Absolut
Comedy," as well as previews of "The
X-Files" season premiere and the new
UPN Friday night lineup.
michigandaily.com/arts

RTS

0

FRIDAY
NOVEMBER 3, 2000

8

NOVEMER 3,2000

TOO MANY TUNES
Elliot Smith's rock show at St. Andrew's
headlines a big day for music in Daily Arts

Hunter's
all new,
the Still's
all through

0

By Christian Hoard
Daily Arts \\nrter
Elliott Smith does not, as a rule, rock
out. Most of his songs are mellow if not
morose, full of heartache and bad mem-
ories that are channeled through sparse
acoustic guitar arrange-
ments and Smith's
ethereal vocals. The
uninformed might even
Eliot call him a folkie.
Smit It was somewhat
St Andrew's Hall surprising, then, that
Nov. 1.2000 Smith's show at St.
Andrews Hall on
Wednesday rocked --
or, at least, it rocked
inasmuch as an Elliott
Smith show can rock.
Sure, some of the non-
devotees in attendance
were probably left won-
dering what the big deal was, since, in
one sense, this was-a pretty standard rock
show: White dudes on stage with drums
and guitars, boomy sound, half-decipher-
able lyrics. But it was a stellar perfor-
mance for Smith, whose records speak so

loudly that there's usually little he can do
to make the songs sound much better on
stage.
After a short set by Grandaddy that
drew mostly on parts of their very like-
able Sophlware Slump album, Smith took
the stage dressed in a black t-shirt and red
pants, looking haggard as ever though less
frumpy (and more like a rock star?) than
usual.
Smith and his three band mates then
kicked into "Needle in the Hay," a rarity
whose lyrics fell victim to the slightly
muddy St. Andrews sound. The sound,
however, proved no real obstacle for Smith,
since he and his band weren't too con-
cerned with delicacy and instead spent
the better part of 90 minutes plowing
through the brighter side of Smith's cata-
logue (including "Stupidity Tries" and the
almost poppy "Happiness") with straight
ahead, trad-rock sensibility.
Among the standouts in Smith's 20-song
set were "Son of Sam" - a brilliant
White Album-era Beatles knock-off- and
"Cupid's Trick," which was treated with
just the right amount of hard-rockin' angst.
Despite apologies for several minor mis-
cues during the set, Smith's voice was in

prime form and sounded particularly fine
on mellower numbers like "Waltz #2" and
"Say Yes."
Through it all, Smith was his usual reti-
cent self, performing as though he didn't
notice that he was perched on stage in
front of a packed house and only occa-
sionally mumbling a word or two between
songs. That's wasn't particularly a prob-
lem, though, since the crowd -- mostly
20-something white kids - seemed to
want it that way, as nary a soul danced
and most preferred to stare in quiet awe
at the biggest anti-hero in rock. (Ques-
tion: How many Elliott Smith fans does
it take to screw in a light bulb? Answer:
1,000 - one to screw in the bulb, 999 to
stand around wearing hooded sweatshirts
while staring at the floor and shuffling
their feet).
For his final encore, Smith and his band
covered Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the
Reaper" while some guy in a grim reaper
costume, scythe and all, pranced around
the stage. Was Smith poking fun at his
image as a gloomy melancholic? Maybe.
It's equally likely that Smith, ever the mis-
understood rock poet, just likes to keep us
guessing.

By Jeff Dickerson
For the I )aily

0

JOYCE LEE/Daily
Elliott Smith rocked Detroit like a hurricane at St. Andrew's.

'High Priestess of Soul' Simone emerges from exile

In celebration of the release of her third
album Alive, Lisa Hunter is set to play
Ann Arbor's legendary Ark. The folk rock
artist is dressed to leave a mark on the
local music scene. She will be getting a
little help from her friends as members of
The Still back her up on her latest tracks.
Lisa Hunter refers to her music as "truths
or dare folk rock." Her musical career
ignited in 1996 with her praised debut
album, Solid Ground. She has made a
name for herself in folk music in the
Midwest with herenergetic performances.
Described as "bare-bones" and "truly
real," Lisa Hunter's newest album fea-
tures simply her soft voice and acoustic
guitar alone in the studio. Unlike her first
two efforts, Solid Ground and Flying, the
music featured in her current work is
simple and raw, focusing on the basics ofO
her craft.
Joining her onstage will be local heroes
The Still. In case you've missed out on
their live shows in past years, now is
your final chance to see them perfoni
together. This Saturday marks the end for
Ann Arbor's favorite folk rockers. After
nearly six years of resounding vocals and
acoustic guitars, the band is calling it quits.
They'll be playing one last show at The
Ark to close their successful careers.
The Still describes their sound as Folk-
rocksteady. The six man band started up
in 1994 when the Kaplan brothers, Ethan
and Noah, set out to form a band with
some oftheir close friends. They joinedAl
Massey, Jesse Schriffrin, Zach Platsis and
Nathan Adams to form what has become
one of Ann Arbor's favorite bands.
Since then, the University of Michigan
grads have released three albums includ-
ing their latest, Transit. Their music exhib- I
its the roots of their unique sound. In each
song you can hear a taste of their influ-
ences: Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead and
rocker of the free world Neil Young.
The Still found success after the Ann
Arbor New Music Fesitval in 1996.
Known for their potent shows, they've
sold out concert halls all across Michigan
from Detroit to Kalamazoo. Saturday's
show marks the end of one popular local
group, and the growth of one of the most
promising local folk artists. The com-
bined talents will make for a memorable
folk concert with a touch of local flavor.
Don't miss out, you won't have another
chance.

By W.. Jacarl Melton
Daily Arts Writer
It's been over 25 years since her self-imposed exile from the
United States, but legendary songstress Nina Simone has done
anything but fall out of American musical consciousness. In recent
years, contemporary artists such as Lauryn
Hill and Talib Kweli have paid homage in
verse to a woman who has seen her share of
controversy yet continues to express her pas-
Nin sions and beliefs through song. For this abil-
Simone ity, Nina Simone can be regarded as one of
Hm n A r the most dynamic figures to appear in 20
Century music.
Tonight at8 p.m In 1954, while a student at the Julliard
School of Music, Eunice Waymon began her
career as a pianist in an Atlantic City bar.
When the bar owner urged her to sing as well
as play the piano, she did so. Waymon began
to develop a repertoire in which George and
Ira Gershwin's "I Loves You Porgy" became
a standard. Soon, she found herself per-
forming at Carnegie Hall and the Newport
Jazz Festival. Also, Waymon changed her name in an effort
to keep her family from discovering that the classical pianist
Eunice had become the "pop" singer Nina Simone.
Simone started recording her music in the late 1950s. Her
talents as a musician allowed her to not only perform songs in
the increasingly popular rhythm and blues format of the time
but she also used techniques of classical, operatic, gospel, jazz

songs would take a much more Afro-centric tone while pro-
testing the conditions in which Blacks found themselves, espe-
cially in the southern United States. After the murder of four
black girls in an Alabama church, Simone wrote the very
poignant "Mississippi Goddam." In it, she sings of her dis-
gust with the South's foot dragging in providing equality for
Blacks. The lyrics, coupled with the show tune nature of the
instrumentation, openly mocks Jim Crow in a way few per-
formers would attempt. Other songs, such as "To Be Young,
Gifted and Black." carried themes of Black Nationalism that
would be extremely popular in the latter 1960s.
Simone's stances various on issues didn't come without crit-
icism, though. "Four Women," a song which deals with skin
tone and its connotations, was banned from radio in both New
York and Philadelphia because it was seen as demeaning to
black people. Reactions like this, in addition to American
racism and the nature of both show business and record com-
panies, led Simone to leave the United States in 1974 for Bar-
bados and eventually the South of France, where she currently
resides.
Although it could be argued that American society has
improved since her career began, Simone's presence and music
has not lost any of its potency. She maintains devotees that
remember her in the lre-exile years while, simultaneously,
attracting a younger audience.
The unifier of these two distinct legions of supporters is a
woman who knows how to convey her message in a manner
like no one else. Hence, the one dubbed the "High Priestess of
Soul" receives the utmost respect from her appreciative con-
gregation of fans.

Courtesy 0f urns org
Raising the roof with one hand: Nina Simone's got a little sugar in her bowl.
and traditional African music to derive her distinctive style.
Coupled with her well-honed stage presence, Simone became
known as one of the best artists of that time.
Simone's music, however, would make a great thematic shift
during the civil rights struggle of late 1950s and 1960s. Her

I

Band-o-rama bonanza hits Hill

By Jim Schiff
Daily Arts Writer
With the crash ofa cymbal and the
call of a trumpet, the University's
top bands will envelop Hill Audito-
rium in some spectacular sounds on
Saturday night. Long part of Mich-
igan's tradition of musical excel-
lence, the .concert, symphony and
marching bands are ready to strut
their stuff.
This year's Band-O-Rama is
something of a milestone with the
recent addition of William M. Camp-
bell to the School of Music faculty.

A professor of trumpet, Campbell
has previously spent seven years in
Italy playing in the Orchestra del
Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. After
teaching at the University of Kansas
and performing with the Chicago
Symphony Orchestra, lie became a
faculty member at Ohio State Uni-
versity in 1996. His recent move to
Ann Arbor has been an extremely
positive experience for Campbell
thus far.
"I've been blown away by the
school of music ... it is such a priv-
ilege to be associated with it," lie
said. The highlight of the Symphony

SAY NO TO SEX AND t
Directed by Malcolm Tulip
UM Dept. of Theatre
November 9 - 11 at 8 PM
November 12 at 2 PM
L Mendelssohn Theatre -

Band's performance is Campbell*
solo in "Concerto for Trumpet,"
by Alexander Arutunian. The piece
is known to have a great deal of
energy and excitement throughout,
and also features solos from the
clarinet and euphonium. "The music
is very approachable for the audi-
ence," Campbell said. "It's the kind
of piece the audience can whistle as
they leave the hall."
The Symphony Band, 'conductel,
by H. Robert Reynolds, will also
perform the Overture to "Candide"
and Profanation from "Jeremiah,
Symphony No. I" by Leonard Ber-
nstein. Certainly a central figure in,
the U's instrumental program is Dr.,
James R. Tapia, a co-conductor of.
the Concert Band and the director
of Marching Band. Also under the,
direction of Scott D. Teeple, the.
Concert band will perform Var*
ations on "America" by Charles
Ives, "Passacaglia" by Ron Nelson
and "National Emblem March" by
Eugene Bagley. Tapia finds that
"America" in particular has "a sense
about it of great depthi...it has a true
understanding of musical craft in
making people smile or frown."
Last but certainly not least, the
Michigan Marching Band will lea
from the football field to the stagi
According to Tapia, the band finds
this transition beneficial because
the sound can be more dominant in
an enclosed environment. "When in.
Hill auditorium, the sound is per-
meating every fiber of your body,"
he said.

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