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April 02, 2003 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-04-02

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April 2, 2003




Out of the 269 groups that
auditioned, only 30 from the
entire state of Michigan made
the grade. Now, as "Evening at
the Apollo" comes to Ann
Arbor's Michigan Theater,
those 30 will compete for a
chance at winning $1,000 and
the opportunity to participate
in Amateur Night at the one
and only Apollo Theatre in
Harlem, N.Y.
The inspiration for this com-
petition is rooted in the history
of the Apollo Theater. The the-
ater opened in 1914 and quick-
ly garnered the reputation as
the soul of Harlem's musical
and entertainment mecca. It
was the "must-play" perform-
ance hall for aspiring young
black talent. While the theater
became a permanent stage for The legendary Apo
black variety shows, beginning
in 1935, the Apollo was one of the first racially
integrated theaters in New York for both patrons
and artists.
Ralph Cooper established the first Amateur
Night at the Apollo in 1934,
and the first star to outshine E
the competition was Ella Evening at
Fitzgerald. Others who have the Apollo
graced the Apollo stage Friday at8 p.m.
include Billie Holiday, Louis Tickets from $14
Armstrong, Duke Ellington, At the Michigan
Aretha Franklin and, more Theater
recently, Lauryn Hill and
D'Angelo. Having been host to so many big
names, the Apollo Theater was officially given
landmark status in 1983.
Continuing in its tradition of greatness, the Apol-

Lhea Copeland is now a
college freshman, but she has
been writing poetry since she
was twelve. She started "as a
way to heal (herself)" after the
loss of her mother and brother.
As she grew, her poetry
ARBOR changed and is now more
about connecting with others
and speaking out about her
role as an activist. As she
began to reach out to others
through her work, becoming a
spoken word artist, a poet that
"takes it one step further and
takes their words off the
page," seemed a given. In her
own words, "To me, it was
natural to take the poetry to
the stage."
Unlike Copeland, who has
been performing for the past
few years, De Novo, in their
current four-member whole-
ness, is newly formed. Scott
Doerrfeld, the keyboardist, put
up flyers to find other mem-
Courtesy of wirednewyork.com bers of the band. Nick Kittle,
the drummer, answered the ad
and brought with him the
knowledge of a possible guitarist. Spencer Bastian
was that guitarist, and very quickly the group
became a trio. After some searching for a lead
vocalist, the group found Serene Arena, and as of a
few months ago, Arena made the group a quartet.
The band decided to audition for "Evening at the
Apollo" on kind of a lark. Arena saw a flyer and,
even though the group had only been together for a
short time, they decided to take a chance. Now, per-
forming the first song that all four of them wrote
together, "Driving On," they will be competing
against the best. In the words of Scott Doerrfeld, "If
you don't have the right chemistry, (the band) does-
n't go anywhere."
This Friday, along with twelve other acts, these
six students will do battle through their words and
music as "Evening at the Apollo" takes the stage.

I didn't know John Malkovich played guitar.

Court eusy ofjohnJscofeu.com

lX Theater in Harlem, NY.

Scofield proves jazz
guitarists can rock

lo Theater went on tour this year, traveling to 40
cities, to find the best contestants for this year's
Amateur Night. From each city, 15 acts were select-
ed to compete. Of the 15, only one gets to go on to
compete at the Apollo, and the audience decides the
winner. This year, the fate of Ann Arbor will be
decided by this system, as several of the 15 contest-
ants are Ann Arbor's very own.
Of the local groups that made it into the show,
three are composed of University of Michigan stu-
dents. Sidney Bailey, a.k.a. B.I.Z. the Messenger, a
21-year-old MC from Grand Rapids, will be per-
forming a self-composed piece entitled "Belief."
The other two acts include Lhea Copeland, an 18-
year-old spoken word artist from Detroit, and
Serene Arena, Spencer Bastian, Scott Doerrfeld and
Nick Kittle, four members of the band De Novo.

By Jared Newman
Daily Arts Writer
Can jazz guitarists rock? Can jazz-
fusion itself break away from the "I
could get stoned to this" stigma?
While John Scofield may not inten-

tionally set out to
answer these ques-
tions, his 2002
release, aberjam,
speaks for itself.
Its jazz-infused
blend of rock,

The John
Tomorrow at 7 p.m.
Tickets from $21.0

Tnbe events redefining Ann Arbor hip-hop scene

By Joseph Utman
Daily Arts Writer
In Ann Arbor, there ain't no party
like a Tribe Entertainment party
because no one else expertly blends
hot music, talented DJs and enticing
giveaways like Tribe does. Whether it
is the now-regular Wednesday night
hip-hop jam at Touchdown Cafe,
monthly parties like Grand Theft
Audio at the Necto, or timely special
events like this Thursday's Give Me
the Light - the Hash Bash jump off
at the Blind Pig - Tribe Entertain-
ment's promotions are the premier
hip-hop functions in Ann Arbor, a
city rapidly emerging as Michigan's
second-best hip-hop hotbed, trailing
only Detroit.
That Ann Arbor exists as a vibrant
hip-hop scene partially owes to the
original music made by locals like

Athletic Mic League, Funktelli-
gence and S.U.N., yet another
notable element is the high prepon-
derance of parties and activities put
on by promoters, and no group
excels like Tribe.
A typical Tribe Entertainment
function is characterized by its ener-
gy, and that crucial component in the
equation for success comes from con-
sistently teeming crowds who are
enlivened by the deft spinning of D.J.
EQ - a member of Tribe's leadership
triumvirate named Nityanan Tapia -
and D.J. Graffiti - named Martin
Smith, the president of Tribe partner
Rapture Enterprises, LLC. Mixing
unexpected drops, like the bridge
from Black Sheep's "The Choice is
Yours," adored classics, like Dr. Dre's
"Nuthin' but a G Thang" and the lat-
est club bangers, like Baby's "What
Happened to That Boy," EQ and

Graffiti always create an infectious,
jovial atmosphere.
Thus far, Wednesday nights at
Touchdown Cafe have been a great
success for the company, and Tribe
executive Joe Hahn attributes that to
the evening's unique character. "It's
kind of a low-key night. It's just $4 at
the door, so it's never too expensive.
It's no frills: Just bring your girls,
bring your fellas, bring your crew,
come out and get your party on."
All ages and those more intent on
finding an unrelenting hip-hop
experience may be better served by
Tribe events like the Grand Theft
Audio series and the Blind Pig par-
ties. At all, there is a greater intensi-
ty, perhaps because they each attract
a crowd seemingly more interested
in hip-hop than that casual one at
Touchdown Cafe comprised of
many people simply searching for a

good time.
Another distinguishing feature of
GTA and the Blind Pig events are the
prizes and gifts available. Because
Hahn and executive Josh Remsberg
work as on-campus company repre-
sentatives for Sony and Universal
respectively, they have not only legit-
imized the parties through corporate
backing, but have also enabled Tribe
to enhance the party atmosphere with
exciting drawings, like one held last
month for a PlayStation 2.
Were the Tribe parties devoid of
their giveaways, they would still be
worthwhile because, quite simply,
Tribe and D.J. Graffiti have a lucid
understanding of hip-hop and its myr-
iad audiences. Given the unfulfilling
nature of many events, that hip-hop
acumen may be what best distin-
guishes a Tribe party. Even if it does
stop at some point.

funk, dance and Atth 1' dP
drum and bass is AtteBin ig
anything but laid
back, causing the listener to wonder if
this is the same man who used to play
with Miles Davis.
Scofield, made famous to jazz
enthusiasts through his stints with
Davis and recently, to jam-savvy hip-
pies through his work with Medeski,
Martin & Wood, might not have been
aiming for anything other than a solid
record with a young and energetic line-
up (Avi Bortnick on rhythm guitar and
samples, Jesse Murphy on bass and
Adam Deitch on drums). "Nobody
wants to start a band and say, 'I'm
going to play this kind of music,'
because then you're limiting yourself,"
Scofield said. "Beforehand, if you're
saying 'I'm going to make surf-metal,'
it's not natural. What's natural is to get
together with people and see where it
goes, and then the sound forms." The
sound on aberjam is indeed something
more powerful, more energetic and
more electronic than any other

Scofield album to date.
And there's more: the John Scofield
Band has just finished recording a fol-
low-up album, titled Up All Night.
Building upon the ideas established on
iberjam with mostly the same lineup
(Andy Hess replaces Jesse Murphy on
bass), this release, slated for May 20,
can only be an improvement. "This is
an extension of aberjam, Scofield said.
"I think it's more risk taking. And it's
also just better ... because we're
tougher as a band. It's more meaty, I
think." The record will also have more
sampling provided by rhythm master
Avi Bortnick, as well as a horn section
to beef up some of the tracks.
No matter what style Scofield
undertakes, however, his unmistakable
playing will always be prevalent. The
notes that emerge from his guitar could
perhaps be equated with a human
voice - raising its pitch at the begin-
ning of a riff and then trailing off, only
to leave the listener hungry for more.
His pure originality is what makes him
one of the best in the business, but at
least he's modest about it. "Everybody
has their own sound on their instru-
ment right from the beginning, and
most of the time we hate our own
sound! I think that we have this
imprint, this stamp, like our personali-
ty, that comes through our instruments
when we play, or our voices when we
sing, and we really just have to make
the most of it."
He will certainly be making the
most of it in the months ahead. His
spring/summer tour consists of over
40 shows in the United States, Canada
and Europe, including a stop at the
Blind Pig on Thursday.


Despite glossy packaging,
AFI still appeals to purists

Program, encore delighted Guster fans

By Josh Neldus
Daily Arts Writer

By Andrew M. Gaerlg
Daily Arts Writer
Oh, the purists won't like this at all.
Another underground band emigrating
to the majors, beefing up their "punk"
with immaculate production and the
occasional string
section. Profes- AM
sional packaging.
Photo shoots. This Sing the
is the stuff the Sorrow
scenesters avoid DreamWorks Records
like the plague.
At first glance, AFI's (A Fire Inside)
immense, impenetrable arrangements
- as well as their California mailing

address - point to an all-too-familiar
fate. The band's prep school goth dress
code, as well as their ridiculous aliases
(Davey Havok? Please.) are embarrass-
ing for everyone involved. A closer
inspection, however, reveals that the
band has been mining this goth-punk
hybrid since 1991, never adhering to the
traditional sounds of either genre.
Sing the Sorrow, the band's fourth
full-length, doesn't expand the band's
sound so much as improve it. Their
songs are immeasurably anathemic,
with a chorus of band members often
drowning out the guitar attack. Singer
Havok has a tendency to sound like Jim
Adkins channeling Trent Reznor, which
is ridiculous until you realize that the
band is more interested in populist

catharsis than narcissism. "Girl's Not
Grey," "Bleed Black" and "This Cellu-
loid Dream" inspire enough shout-
along bedroom cinema to suggest the
band is still grounded more in sweaty
basements of pumping fists than bas-
ketball stadiums. That, more than any-
thing, should keep AFI from flaming
out on the fumes of major label
grandeur; that, more than anything,
should keep the tattooed arms in the air.

How does one describe Guster?
Start with the perfect blend of the
vastly contrasting guitarists. There's
Adam Gardner,
the preppy, clean- G
cut, quiet one. His Guster
more reserved, Thursday, March 27th
backseat style At Clutch Cargos
allows Ryan
Miller's outgoing, fun-loving style to
shine through. It is apparent that
Miller loves being on stage, and he
makes sure the audience has as much
fun as he does throughout the concert.
Behind the two guitarists/singers is
Brian Rosenworcel, but he's hardly
just a beat-keeper. Switching between

his bongos and drums, his unique
style of stickless playing projects a
powerfully contagious exuberance
that sweeps through the crowd in a
totally unique fashion. Together, this
trio put on a show that grabbed the
audience's attention from the opening
song, and didn't put them down until
long after the concert had ended.
Guster played a variety of songs
from their first three albums, including
favorites such as "Two Points for Hon-
esty," "Airport Song" and "Barrel of a
Gun." Varying their normal perform-
ance style, they did some extra jam-
ming on "Demons" and "I Spy," and
surprised fans by covering both U2 and
Ben Folds. They even gave the audi-
ence a taste of what's to come on their
new album due out in June. In the mid-
dle of the set, and in true Ryan-style, he
performed rousing renditions of the

Tri-Lambs' rap from "Revenge of the
Nerds," and the theme song of "The
Lost World."
The highlight of the night, however;
was the first encore. After being intro-
duced as the Gusters, they appeared on
stage in black blazers, ties and black
wigs, looking just like the Beatles. With
their heads bobbing side to side, they
played a few more songs, including a
second performance of "What You Wish
For," in the British pop style. As if
dressing and singing like the Beatles
wasn't enough, they even did a spin-off
of the Monkees' signature song, "Hey,
hey, we're the Gusters."
While Guster may have only risen to
its present fame through low-key public-
ity, the band's following and popularity
are growing rapidly. A Guster concert
has become a guaranteed place for great
music and a good time.


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