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March 05, 2002 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-05

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Poetry Slam...
Poet Dan Stevens will be fea-
tured along with open mic
shenanigans. 8 p.m. at the
michigandaily.com /arts


MARCH 5, 2002



Russian symphony
conducts business

Unwritten Law bring
San Diego punk to
Detroit's St Andrews

By Christine Lasek
Daily Arts Writer

Tonight, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
will bring the music of Mussorgsky, Rachmaninoff and
Shostakovich to Hill Auditorium. This will be one of the
final concerts before Hill closes its doors
for renovations.N
The St. Petersburg Philharmonic is the1
oldest symphony orchestra in Russia. It ST. PET
was formed on the foundations of the PHILHA
"Imperial Music Choir" in 1882. Until ORCH
the early 20th century it mainly served
private, aristocratic circles, but was At Hill A
changed in 1917 into a state orchestra Toni ht
and it gave its first public concert that 116
year. The Philharmonic was the first
Soviet orchestra to tour abroad and University M
through these tours and its recordings,
the St. Petersburg Philharmonic has become famous
throughout the world.
Since its founding, the Philharmonic has had several
principal conductors. Between 1938 and 1988, Evegny
Mravinsky held this post. The Orchestra continued to
give concerts throughout the course of World War II,
even when Leningrad was being evacuated. The St.
Petersburg Philharmonic has helped to further the
careers of Soviet and Russian composers, including pre-
miering Shostakovich's "1st Symphony" in 1927, which
brought international attention to the 19-year-old com-
poser. The orchestra was also active in introducing




important foreign com-
posers and conductors to
Russia, including Leopold
Stokowski, Charles Munch,
Andre Cluytens, Zoltan
Kodaly and Benjamin Brit-
In 1988,
Y u r i
RSBURG Temirkanov
MONIC was named
STRA m u s i c
director and
ditorium principal

Courtesy oT UMS

Conductor Yru Temirkanov loves the power glove, it's so bad.

X50 of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic
. Orchestra, a place he still occupies.
sical Society He is one of the best known and
highly regarded Russian conductors in
the United States. Temirkanov won exceptional critical
acclaim in 1986, when he was the first Soviet Conduc-
tor to visit the United States following the renewal of the
Soviet/American Cultural Exchange Agreement. He has
returned to America several times as a guest conductor
with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia
Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, the Los Angeles Phil-
harmonic and the San Francisco Symphony. He has also
conducted all the leading orchestras in Europe.
Young Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes will be
performing along with the Philharmonic as the soloist in
Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto No 1." Andsnes made

his American debut in 1989 with recitals in New York
and Washington, D.C. and his orchestral debut the fol-
lowing year with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blos-
som Festival. He has returned frequently to play along
with the major American orchestras and has also toured
all over the world. Along with touring, Andsnes is also
co-artistic director of the Risor Chamber Music Festival
in Norway, an event that every year draws esteemed
classical performers to Norway.
The St. Petersburg Philharmonic has a staunch Amer-
ican following. Some of the most prominent enthusiasts
are the American Friends of the St. Petersburg Philhar-
monic Orchestra (AFSPP). A non-profit organization,
the AFSPP was established in 1999 and is dedicated to
raising funds in order to secure the continuance of the
St. Petersburg Philharmonic.

By Dan Trudeau
For the Daily
San Diego punk rock stalwarts
Unwritten Law will be playing their
first headlining show in Detroit in
nearly three years tomorrow when
they take the stage at St. Andrews
Hall. Having spent the past two years
playing shows in California, or in
guest roles on the Warped Tour and a
national tour with Sum41, the band
recently hit the road for its own tour
in support of its latest release, Elva.
The record is the fourth full length in
an impressive 10-year career, and the
band's second on Inter- V
scope Records. Long-
time fans might be
surprised by this latest UNWRIT
effort, as Unwritten
Law has considerably At St. An
evolved since their self-
titled full length, Tomorrowa
released in 1999. $5
"We've become better
song writers over the years," says gui-
tarist Rob Brewer, "The longer you
do something, the better you get at it.
We've become better at making the
songs sound the way we want and at
going about recording them that
Those who are unfamiliar with
Unwritten Law might be eager to
write them off as a typical punk band
based upon their history and previous
touring partners. But with a closer
examination, the intricacy of the
band's songs and their diversity with
regards to style invite the open-mind-
ed listener into an experience defined
by catchy, but complicated hooks and
clever, insightful lyrical messages.
Utilizing elements not only from
punk music but also from metal, reg-
gae, pop and blues, the band shatters
superficial expectations.
In spite of the variety and talent
that Unwritten Law brings to the
record-buying public, their commer-
cial success has been modest when
compared to many of their long-time
friends and members of their local

scene. For example, high school
friends and classmates Tom Delonge
and Mark Hoppus have seen tremen-
dous success with their band Blink-
182. Likewise, fellow San Diego
rockers Offspring and Incubus have
watched their record sales soar up the
charts. Meanwhile, the guys in
Unwritten Law have sat in disap-
pointment while two previous major
label records failed to reach the gen-
eral public in a comparable fashion.
"Our label president told us once
that we're so diverse that it hurts us,"
recalls Brewer "When you listen to a

Blink song,
adrews Hall
at 8 .m. $45-

you know it's a Blink
song. The same goes for
Offspring and Incubus.
When people can iden-
tify your songs like
that, it makes it easier
for a band to become
In spite of these
commercial difficul-
ties, Unwritten Law

Boyd's latest excels
at nothing but le ngth

By Ryan Blay
Daily Arts Writer

Mayer wants you to come hither.C
o Mayer dscusses
style, jazz influences

By Robyn Melamed
Daily Arts Writer
He's young. He's hip. He may just be
the best thing to hit pop music since Sting.
Who is this mystery man, you ask? John
Mayer. And if you haven't heard of him,
yet, you will - very, very soon. This
Connecticut-born artist began to play the
guitar at age 13, and hasn't stopped since.
After attending the Berklee
College of Music for a
semester, Mayer decided
to take a stab at his own JOHN
music career. He headed to At The1
Atlanta and started playing Th
the club scene. After a Tomorrow,
year, Mayer put together 1i
enough music to release


his solo album, Inside Wants Out in 1999.
In 2001, Mayer released his first major
label record, Room for Squares. This
album, with its refreshing, honest lyrics
and strong guitar rhythms made critics
and fans alike beg for more. With catchy
songs like "No Such Thing," "Neon" and
"Your Body is a Wonderland," it is easy to
see why Mayer was an instant hit. Mayer
admitted that many of the lyrics on Room
for Squares were filled with actual stories
from his own life: "There's not a song on
there without a little bit of truth. I think it
would be really difficult to write a song
that didn't have non-fictitious elements to
it," he told The Michigan Daily.
When asked to classify his music style,
Mayer said, "It's definitely pop music with
some jazz influence." It is no wonder
Mayer plays this type of music - his cur-
rent favorites are Elton John and Jeff
Buckley. He has also been listening to a
new artist named Nora Jones, a piano
player/singer who will be opening up for a
few of Mayer's shows on the West Coast.
Mayer said that artist Stevie Ray Vaughan
was the one person who really made him

want to try out a music career: "He's an
incredible blues guitar player," Mayer
Although Mayer has been compared to
Sting, Ben Folds, Dave Matthews and
other artists, he does not find this to be a
bad thing. "I think it's great, he said. "It
makes for an objective discussion. It used
to threaten me to be compared to other
artists, but I don't feel that at all anymore.
Fans define my identity,
and because of that, I feel
incredibly lucky."
4AYER Because Mayer's music
lichigan hasn't hit mainstream quite
ter yet, many people have had
7:30 p.m. to rely on the Internet to
775 access it. Mayer doesn't
mind this at all, and actual-
ly referred to the web as his "saving
grace." He thinks that downloading music
should be a freedom of choice. "We all
have to embrace technology," he said.
"The Internet has been a great way to
have a direct connection with fans. It
makes for a true bond. Plus there's no face
or label attached." Mayer can also see the
down side. "With this kind of technology,
anything can become living music. It's a
trade off, but I still think it's worth it"
Right now Mayer is a month into his
tour, and tomorrow he'll serenade the
crowd with his smoky voice and soft
lyrics at the Michigan theatre. The audi-
ence can look forward to a nice mixture of
Mayer's songs. "I'm not going to be con-
fined to any album track list. Some of the
songs will be from Inside Wants Out and
others from Room for Squares. Of course
they'll be some that haven't been on any
album yet." If you were lucky enough to
get your hands on a ticket to the sold out
show, be prepared to experience the talent-
ed, refreshing John Mayer. If you weren't
so lucky, do yourself a favor and down-
load a song, or two or twenty.

Wisdom comes from all walks of
life. Baseball player Yogi Berra, author
Jean-Paul Sartre and politician Winston
Churchill all have pro-
duced thought-provoking 6
epigraphs about life.
"Bartlett's Familiar Quo-
tations" is an excellent D.
source for these. "Daily
Afflictions," sadly, is not. AFFLI
In "Daily Afflictions," By And,
author Andrew Boyd,
alias Brother Void, has W.W.
created a work as preten-
tious as the recent movie, "Waking
Life." He not only compiled a list of
diverse quotes on how to deal with
life's ups and downs, but he also
appallingly felt the urge to restate the
original quote after devoting a para-
graph or two to the original, far superi-
or quote. Why Boyd did this, exactly, is
If Boyd was trying to be original, he
had limited success. If he was trying to
be funny, he completely failed. His
self-important attitude, most evident in
the genuinely unfunny introduction and
explanation of "Brother Void," is a
complete turn-off for a book which evi-
dently tries to be an improvement on
the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series.
One positive note is that the short
(just over 100 pages) work is divided
into chapters, so if you feel the need to


find an inspirational quote on "embrac-
ing your inner corpse" or "the perils of
creating your own reality," (Lord knows
I've been waiting years for this) then
you can simply flip to the page and
read Boyd's theories on this subject
Prior to the last elec-
tion, Boyd co-chaired a
hilarious web site titled
[LY "Billionaires for Bush (or
Gore)." His humor was
TIONS appropriate to the page,
w Boyd which skewered both
candidates. But as Boyd
lorton has so thoughtfully
demonstrated, philosophy
and humor sometimes just don't mix.

remain hopeful. Instead of com-
plaining, they choose to embrace
their own unique qualities and look
to the future for their greatest
chances of success. Rob Brewer jus-
tifies this sense of optimism.
"We appeal to a lot of different
people who enjoy a lot of different
styles. That keeps things fresh for us,
and our fans appreciate that we're not
just a big band ... We're still here and
we're still trying. We think that this
latest album puts us in our best posi-
tion for success. If that happens, then
that's cool. But if not, oh well."
In either case, the future promises
to be both interesting and challenging
for Brewer and his bandmates. Their
position as a band on the brink of
success poses many interesting ques-
tions about the years to come.
"Its tough to say what will hap-
pen," Brewer says, "We're going to
do our part and keep working ... keep
touring. Hopefully that will give us
the chance to make another album.
You can be sure it won't take another
three years."




* ...ct




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