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September 05, 2001 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-05

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 5, 2001--15 A

M +
+fF' E

Barenaked Ladies
're-energize' DTE

By Ryan C. Moloney
Daily Arts Writer
When the Barenaked Ladies took the
stage at DTE Energy Music Theatre on
August 25, it was under the'shadow of
THE lady, warming up for her Sunday
night HBO concert at the Palace with a

DTE Energy
Music Theater
August 25, 2001

similarly sold-out
show the night
In typical BNL
fashion, a
comedic touch
not only saved the
day for the
packed amphithe-
ater, but made it.
"Madonna's not
going to play
'Like a Virgin'
tonight,' guitarist
Ed Robinson said,
"but we will!"

following with the radio-friendly
"Pinch Me."
Two presumably female fans threw
their panties up onstage in the middle
of the second song, a move no doubt
premeditated for weeks. Robinson and
Paige made the most of the girls' big
moment, hanging the bright orange and
green things from their guitars.
After a juiced "Old Apartment,"
BNL went through a string of newer
songs, including "Never Do Anything,"
"Falling for the First Time," "I Live
with it Everyday" and "Light Up My
The group then flew back into radio
land, with "Too Little, Too Late" and
"Alcohol;' during which a retina-burn-
ing "BNL" prop unfolded from the
ceiling. How rock can you get?
After audience favorite "One Week"
and the soulful "Get in Line," Paige
took to blowing out "Break your
Heart" The center of the pavilion seat-
ing resembled a matted-down cornfield
at this point, with the dominant boomer
sect just too plum tuckered out to
match Paige's vigor. It would be a true
waste of BN~s youthful exuberance if,
in a few years, walkers and medication
nurses sidled up alongside these rich,
aging rock fans in the pavilion. Long
live the lawn.
Predictably, the placid rose back up
for "If I Had $1,000,000." How BNL

Ed Robinson sings his heart out during "Pinch Me," while Steven Page gazes
lovingly at all the underwear-throwing girls in the crowd.

i ouesy omNew Une inema
Hedwig (John Cameron Mitchell, on foodcart) sings about her simple life as a
German transvestite rock singer who had a botched sex change operation.
.Mtchell's He wig
snaks the trsition
from stage to screen

True to their collective intuition of
local custom, BNL constantly quipped
about the newly renamed venue, draw-
ing cheers from a crowd still wistful for
the old "Pine Knob" moniker.
"DTE," said vocalist Stephen Paige,.
"that sounds like some kind of dis-
The quintet threw themselves into a
slow-tempo "Straw Hat and Dirty Old
Hank" to start the show, immediately

maintains their zeal for this eternal
audience favorite is a secret to behold.
Much to their relief, nary a box of mac-
aroni flew onstage at the song's pivotal,
"Kraft dinner" climax.
BNL left the stage after a hilarious
medley including Biz Markie's "Just a
Friend," the irrepressible "Bootyli-
cious" and ho' anthem "Lady Mar-
malade." They returned for their first
encore with "It's All Been Done" fol-
lowed by "The Night I Fell Asleep at
the Wheel."
In Encore No. 2, BNL brought open-
ing act Charlie and Craig Reid of The
Proclaimers out to perform a song
from their new album, "Persevere" It
was a kind nudge from BNL to the

twin brothers; the Scottish duo have
had a tough go of it in the states since
their "Benny and Joon" days.
BNL finished up with an all-out ren-
dition of "Brian Wilson," with drum-
mer Tyler Stewart nearly falling. ffhis
chair at the song's conclusion, ala keith
Moon. House rules then broughtthe
lights up, much to the dismay of the
reinvigorated audience.
Love 'em or hate 'em, no bard.pos-
sesses the Barenaked Ladies' blnd bf
musical expertise, wealthy song per-
toire and nerdy-smug humor. AMihbr
classic effort, albeit in the backDrd f
an icon's homecoming, poses thi usd-
tion: Has there ever been a bad -
naked Ladies show?

- By Lyle Henretty
Daily Arts Editor
Films with avant-garde main char-
Oters and themes often champion
their protagonists and vilify the
unthinking machine that is the status
quo. A problem that often plagues
these films is that while the hero

Hedwig and
the Angry
Grade: A-
At The Michigan
stream audience.

fights against
his/her second-
class, pigeon-
holed, two
place in society,
society itself
takes on these
very qualities.
This gives these
films a smug
quality that,
while preaching
loudly to the
choir, candeter
a more main-
(Not to name

tin turns up in some wickedly funny
scenes as "The Angry Inch's" put-
upon manager.
Mitchell is an immense talent and
"Hedwig" is his baby, as he acts as
writer, director, and star. His Hedwig
does not fit anywhere, is neither man
nor woman, and her diva-impulses
are an extreme form of catharsis, and
self indulgence. She can be brutal
towards those around her (her hus-
band, her banjd, her manager) yet is
kind and accessible to her die-hard
fans (Hed-heads) who follow her
from one dive to another.
A scene with Hedwig and a handful
of followers drinking in a junkyard is
sweet because Hedwig shows a vul-
nerability to her fans that she denies
to her loved ones. This complexity
suggests that it is not always cool to
be an outcast, and that her elaborate
career and damn-the-establishment
attitude is something to be pitied as
well as celebrated. She is an individ-
ual, but at the cost of her happiness.

* z
o 1:o
Q m
w z

ies, but "The Rocky Horror Pic-
ure Show.") John Cameron Mitchell
:neatly skirts this problem in his
::ebut feature "Hedwig and the
Angry Inch" by making the world
,around so absurd that it seems odd
snot to accept a German transvestite
cock singer whose botched sex
,hahge operation leaves her with
,nly an inch mound of flesh ("It's
what I've got to work with," she tells
,puzzled lover).
" edwig" is based on Mitchell's
oWBroadway cult play, yet makes
the jump to screen successfully,
effortlessly melding complex musi-
cal ;numbers, drama, flashbacks, and
deceptively simple animation. It is
the simple, age-old story of young
Hansel (Mitchell) growing up in the
;;shadow of the Berlin wall. He is
raised by his mother, after she kicks
h er out for molesting the boy, in
a partment so small Hansel must
take refuge in the oven to listen to
is idols: David Bowie, Lou Reed,
rind Iggy Pop. He then falls in love
with an American GI who talks him
into becoming a "her" so they can by
legally married in East Germany
before returning to the States. After
the fateful surgery, the couple return
to the states where the GI soon turns
Hansel (now Hedwig) in for a fanci-
er model.
_*on Hedwig hooks up with
young Tommy, and the two lovers
begin a career writing and perform-
ing their own music. Soon, the fiber-
Christian Tommy jumps ship, steals
all of their songs, and becomes a
national singing sensation. Hedwig
forms "The Angry Inch," and follows
Tommy's tours. If he plays an arena
in Tulsa, she'll play the coffee shop
a ss the street. Thus, our story
This back-story all comes to play
through the most exciting, enjoyable
songs written for a musical in years.
Written and composed by Stephen
Trask, the music is both immensely
I d and nrfoundlv funnv. with Hed-


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