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October 28, 2003 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-10-28

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October 28, 2003



By Scott Serilla
Daily Arts Editor.'t f


Mark Oliver Everett isn't a guy noto-
rious for a sunny, carefree tempera-
ment. Better know as the singularly
monikered E, the mastermind behind
the nothing-if-not dependable alt-song
machine Eels, Everett is a songwriter
best known for his bittersweet gloom-
pop and jet black humor.
The tear-jerking classics Beautiful
Freak and Electro-shock Blues instantly
hit your gut with their mile-high pro-
duction values and the wrist-slitting
candor of lines like "My name's Eliza-
beth / My life is shit and piss."
So I wouldn't have pegged E to be
the kinda guy to put on a deeply life
affirming, straight up rawkin' live
show. Yet I stood
jaw-agape correct- Eels
ed Sunday night at Sunday, Oct.26
the Blind Pig when At the Blind Pig
Mr. E's beautiful Clear Channel
new lineup of Eels
came to Ann Arbor.
While the last two Eels' albums, the
raw thumping Soulacker and this
year's Shootenanny, suggested a grad-
ual shift in perspective, the latest incar-
nation of the band is built for speed.
Plowing through
most of the new
album and a cross- S L I
section of the less
grim end of E's back
catalogue, Eels EL
revealed an affinity
for amped-up early blues/rock, even
tossing in the twang of country-western
swing for good measure.
Cathartically electric and oddly
encouraging, Eels crammed a whole lot
of steamy music into Ann Arbor's
favorite little dive club, much to the
delight of the packed crowd.
The night got off to an Andy Kauf-
man-esque start with opener MC
Honky taking the stage to perform his
"self-help" paste-and-cut sonic collages
from his debut IAm The Messiah.
Honky has been accused as being a fic-
tional front for E to put out a tongue-in-
cheek experimental side-project. E, of
course, denies this.

A Musical Masterpiece

Courtesy of DreamWorks
P.S. You rock my world.

This weekend I was informed
that part of my Christmas pres-
ent will be tickets to see "Les
Miserables" at the Fisher Theatre on
Oct. 26. I was overjoyed to hear this,
as "Les Miserables" is my all-time
favorite musical. In fact, it is actually
my favorite stage production of any-
thing I have ever seen, including
plays, ballets, operas, orchestras, etc.
Some might ask how it is possible to
compare plays to musicals to ballets
and so on because they are so differ-
ent in nature. One could argue that it
is like comparing apples to oranges.
The characteristics are simply too
varied to be looked at on the same
level. I feel though that this is not
true. Musicals are the apex of all live
stage productions.
In order to back up this claim, I
ask you to look at the characteristics
that make up a musical. First, you
have the lighting, sets, props, cos-
tumes and scenery. A musical is
telling a story and in order for the
audience to truly be pulled into the
plot, a magical world of make
believe is constructed and sewn into
the very environment in which the
players are acting. This in of itself
does not set musicals apart from the
rest of the stage production genre.
This aspect though, does go a long
way in creating a tale that audiences
will be interested in seeing.
Another aspect of musical theatre,
that is self evident in the title, is the
music. Unlike straight plays, much of
the emphasis of the play resides in
the beautiful scores created to inter-
lace with the action. There are some
things that cannot be expressed sim-
ply through words and actions, and
in this case, in musicals, the score
picks up the thread of the story and

weaves tapestries of emotion that
explain how the actors are feeling.
The music adds another dimension to
the production's storytelling capabili-
ty, setting it above straight, non-
musical plays.
Finally, what sets musicals above
any other stage production are the
words. Whether spoken or sung,
words are the basis of all human
interaction. In a musical, the dia-
logue and lyrics serve to move the
story along, while keeping the audi-
ence enraptured by what is happen-
ing. In this respect, the musical is
innately better than ballet. Everyone
can understand words, whereas not
everyone understands the intricacies
that go into dancing. The carefully
crafted responses of the actors to
one another set musicals above
opera because the emphasis is on
what is being said, not on how the
words are said. For some audiences,
a three-word sentence sung 50 times
is simply too much. And while the
dialogue of a musical is probably
sub-par compared to that of a
straight play, the fact that the words
can be sung gives it the edge over
non-musicals as well.
All stage productions have their
strengths, and some are definitely
superior in certain areas than the
musical, but overall, musicals are
more accessible to more people
because they utilize all techniques
of the stage. Thus, if looking at a
work's effectiveness, the musical is
the paramount form of the stage. It
touches the most hearts, and "Les
Miserables" is, of musicals, one of
the best.
- Sarah is not afraid to admit her
crush on Jean Valjean. She can be
reached atpetesara@umich.edu

Shockingly when the lights dimmed
out walked the spitting portly image of
the pipe smoking, bowtied caricature
from the album's sleeve. Obviously not
the wiry E, "Honky" spent his set puff-
ing his pipe while close-replica mixes
of his album tracks blared out from the
speakers. By the end of the infectious
"Sonnet 3: Like a Duck" the initally
bewildered crowd was genuinely dig-
ging the put-on.
E, carried to the stage on his manag-
er's shoulders, stuck mainly with guitar
this night, ripping though "Grace Kelly
Blues," "Last Stop: This Town" and
"Novocaine for the Soul" with unheard
energy. Likewise "I Like Birds" was

reworked as deathpunk a la Andrew
WK's "Party Till You Puke."
Occasionally, E drifted to his organ
for blues stomps and more tender
moments like "Agony," one of few
bleak moments of the night.
The guys were egged on in to no
fewer than three encores. E seemed
touched and thrilled by the crowd's
response to the rockin', joking about
being ripped off by Badly Drawn
Boy and being on a first name basis
with our sleepy campus town, calling
the crowd collectively by "Ann."
Eels also paid tribute to their lost
friend, neighbor and labelmate Elliott
Smith with the touchingly warm "Sofia

Honky cat.

Writing In the Sky" from the sound-
track to the recent film "Levity."
"Maybe rock can't save everybody,"
E soapboxed in his trademark rasp dur-
ing the climatic "Love of the Loveless."
"Well at least, it saved at a least one
life: mine."

Everyone loves
postcards from
By Andrew Horowitz
Daily Arts Writer
The Barenaked Ladies have it all: fans, fortune and
talent. But since their last album, 2000's near-commer-
cial failure, Maroon, the Ladies have been in serious
danger of becoming a worn-out novelty act. So what
have BNL been up to and why do we care? On their sixth
release, Everything to Everyone, the
Barenaked Ladies answer with a
maturity and musical sensibility that Barenaked
surpasses that of any previous effort. Ladies
Everything to Everyone captures Everything to
the Barenaked Ladies surveying a Everyone
large portion of the human experi-
ence, from excess commercialism to Reprise Records
relationship anxiety. Produced by
Ron Aniello (Guster, Lifehouse), Everything to Every-
one is best described as eclectic. There's tango, country,
pop, techno and everything in-between.
"Celebrity" kicks off with a simple piano riff that's
complemented with rich vocals and lush arrangements.
BNL take a stab at the concept of celebrity, wherein you
"Leave your heart / Lay down your art," and are strictly
"here for the party." The techno-influenced "Shopping"
proposes that "Everything will always be all right /

'Five Shows' spotlights the fast-paced

By Niamh Slevin
Daily Arts Writer
The Detroit Artists Market (DAM)
has a long, rich history of fostering
young artists. As the name suggests,
local Detroit artists often have the
opportunity to showcase their work

space so the audience can enter off
the street, view the entire body of
work and exit easily. Because the
shows span a workweek, they seek to
facilitate the audience's busy sched-
ules with this set-up.
But the audience is also considered
an integral part of each show. Aman-
da Wiles, one of the featured artists,
notes, "It's interesting in that (Five
Shows) involves much participation
from the audience. They almost need
to go all of the nights to really get the
full effect of the show."
The artists chosen to participate in
"Five Shows" draw from their diverse

background to create their works,
which seems to accentuate the differ-
ences in each night's pairing. The
shows, in general, focus on a theme
of contrasts, "which creates a sense
of discovery for both artist and view-
er," the curators observe.
The event is free to the public,
and the casual atmosphere encour-
ages everyone to attend. "Five
Shows in Five Days" hopes to keep
up with the fast-paced world and the
audience's jam-packed schedules
with its revolving spotlight accentu-
ating a new artist and a new con-
struction every night.

in this forum as
an experience
away from the
more traditional
commercial gal-
leries. This week,
the DAM high-
lights eleven
artists' works
over the course of

Five Shows
in Five Days
Tuesday - Thursday
6 -9 p.m.
Friday 6-11 p.m.
Free of charge
At the Detroit Artists

When we go shopping." The Britney Spears-meets-the-
tropics-sounding "Another Postcard" tells of a series of
postcards from chimpanzees, and "Maybe Katie" is just
funny, with its chorus of "What's so maybe about
But while at times silly, BNL have more on their
minds than laughs and cheap shots. "Aluminum," with
its introspective harmonies and gentle guitar treatments,
is a heartfelt testimony of attraction to someone who
only causes you pain. "War on Drugs" explores suicide
and the guilt associahd with such. So to speak, there's
something for everyone.
It seems almost dangerous to create an album so
eclectic, with so much joy and so much pain. Somehow
though, the Barenaked Ladies pull it off. Everything to
Everyone is honest from start to finish, and by the end
we can't help but smile, for thanks to BNL, living is all
the sweeter.

five days in a new and continuous set
of gallery openings, aptly named
"Five Shows in Five Days."
"Openings, by nature, are highly
charged events," said Phillip Burke,
co-curator and host of the "Five
Shows" gallery. "So the gallery
becomes the center of that excite-
ment, which increases with having
five consecutive openings." Together
with Roe Peterhans, Burke developed
the concept for the shows: A series of
gallery openings, which begin and
end the artists' exhibitions all in one
night. The gallery is specifically
designed as a rather small, intimate

Distillers' gushy lyrics
will cut your heart out


By Joel Hoard
Daily Music Editor
With album art that features grotesque
images of crucified women, razorblades,
abortions and suicides, and such appeal-
ing song titles as "Drain the Blood," "Die
on a Rope" and "Death Sex," the Dis-
tillers' Coral Fang
is possibly the least The Distillers

_. i .



Something Corporate inject the
modern pop-punk formula of
chugging guitars, aw-shuciks
romanticism and bad high school
poetry with enough affecting
piano and melancholic lyrics to
keep North, the band's third full-
length album, from falling into
Backed by a double-guitar

fun" keep them grounded in rele-
vance. ***
-Joel Hoard
With reggae going through spo-
radic bursts of mainstream accept-
ance, now with Sean Paul at the
forefront, DefT Jam rushes in to capi-'
talize on the momentum with a new

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