10 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 5, 2003
The triumph of Keep It Together
is that while Rosenworcel has
embraced more conventional meth-
ods of drumming, Guster has taken
the depth of their instrumentation
and songwriting to the next level.
The result is a richly textured pop
album that's more rewarding with
Some tunes suggest urgency. The
lead single, "Amsterdam," is a pop
gem that borders on emo (take the
beat behind OutKast's "Hey Ya!,"
speed it up and add some wailing
slide guitar and layered vocals).
"Red Oyster Cult" uses a drum roll
and a generally '80s feel to create
one fun song with an intriguing
outro and a message of resignation
("Call your mom on the telephone/
Tell her you're coming home / Tell
her there's not a chance you're ever
going to change the world").
Other songs invoke calm: The
harmonica part over strings and
piano at the end of the reflective
"Backyard" feels like bed at the
end of a long day. "Jesus on the
Radio" is a back-porch jam with
banjo and organ pulses. "We have a
soft spot for country," Rosenworcel
Guster's current live show does
the new record justice. New tour-
ing additions that will take the
stage with the band at the State
Theatre tonight in Detroit include
Joe Pisapia on bass, a number of
keyboards and, of course, a drum
kit. These tools help Guster flesh
out their old tunes and recreate the
"We're more like an indie rock
band where we're swapping instru-
ments every song now," explained
Rosenworcel enthusiastically. "The
live set is definitely more eclectic
than it's ever been."
Courtesy of Ersatz Audio
Stand proud and tell 'em you're from Detroit!
Local electronic duo
brings life to the Stick
By Andrew Gaerig
Daily Arts Writer
Courtesy of warner
Wait, guys. We didn't fall asleep In front of an ocean, did we?
By Laurence J. Freedman
Daily Arts Writer
As percussionist Brian "Thunder
God" Rosenworcel explained, the
Drum kits and rock bands have a
long history of sharing a stage with
one another, yet this typical instru-
ment had been absent from folk-
pop band Guster's lineup for the
first decade of their career. Howev-
er, that changed when the Boston
trio hit the road this year in sup-
port of their fourth studio album,
Keep It Together.
to go through the
doned all the
rules." The main
knew it wanted
At the State
of Ryan Miller and Adam Gardner.
This arrangement served the band
well in both settings.
On the road, Guster became one
of the most popular college bands
in the country, touring relentlessly
and selling out large clubs time
and time again. Their 1999 break-
through record Lost And Gone For-
ever succeeded in recreating
Guster's live sound in the studio
with the help of famed producer
Steve Lillywhite, who has done the
same for both U2 and the Dave
had previously played by was to
only use hand-percussion both on
record and on stage accompanied
by the acoustic guitars and vocals
CONCERT PREVI EW
Whatever you do, don't call Detroit's
Adult. retro. "Can't you pick a better
word than retro?" exclaimed vocalist
Nicola Kuperus. "There obviously are
things that are retro about our music,
because we use keyboards." Her hus-
band, programmer and bassist Adam
Lee Miller, is equally frustrated. "It's
just weird because
synthesizers only Adult.
have one point of Tonightat.m.
reference in history At the Magic Stick
at this time. Jack ClearChannelJ
White can write
Led Zeppelin-esque blues-based rock
and he's a genius, and we write some-
thing that also references a past period
and gets called Flock of Seagulls. What
While it can be easy to identify what
the band isn't, describing what the band
is can be an exponentially harder task.
Adult.'s sound is confrontational, throb-
bing clash of styles. Born out of early
British industrial music and Detroit
techno, the duo are "dance punk" in
only the most disparate sense: Kupe-
rus's staccato punk shouts sit unevenly
over shifty electronic beats. There is
precious little integration, yet the sound
is distinctly addicting.
The band grew out of Miller's frus-
tration with the music industry. Courted
by popular electronic label Rephlex
Records, he grew tired of waiting. "I
took the courage from knowing that
they liked it. I was like, 'They do like
it, so if I put it out on my own shouldn't
I do ok with it?' That's how it started."
Originally just an electronic act, Adult.
took its current form when Kuperus
joined, adding her emotionless vocals
and assisting with the programming.
They started a label - Ersatz Audio -
to release their own records.
Kuperus and Miller are unique in an
underground community that has
grown increasingly dependent on
major- label distribution and corporate
booking agencies. "We were really into
the true 'do it yourself' aesthetic, peo-
ple like the Minutemen and Black Flag.
It really means a lot to us," Miller said.
"It's like the time I was on stage at the
Bowery Ballroom in New York and it
was sold out, 600 people, and I was
going 'We did this.' What you see is
what you get. It's just two people mak-
ing music and putting it out."
Unlike many of their electronic
peers, Adult. strive to bring grit and
energy to the stage. Miller said, "It's
one thing to go see some DJs mixing
their own beats and keeping a continu-
ous thing going, and it's another thing
to be in a rock club just looking up at
somebody behind a laptop. We're quite
reactionary toward a lot of the early
laptop stuff. We really try to put on a
show and make it fun and energetic."
The group's manic, aggressive
energy hits the Magic Stick tonight,
and while the band defies categoriza-
tion, their goals remain clear. "We
certainly don't make music for every-
one, and we hope that we somehow
scare away some of the really normal
people. I don't think there's enough
of that in music these days," said
Kuperus mischievously. Consider
Salmon find safe haven on the road
By Neal Cohen
For the Daily
The lounge on board Leftover
Salmon's second replacement bus of
their current tour is cramped ... yet
it's surprisingly cozy. Before Vince
Herman goes on stage for another
sweat-drenched evening of music,
the emphatic guitarist takes some
time to relax. His serene composure
is in stark contrast to the outlandish
antics and spontaneous gibberish
that he supplies for the band's per-
formances every night.
Leftover Salmon has been churning
out its "polyethnic Cajun slamgrass", a
variable stew of bluegrass, Cajun,
calypso, polka and other brands of
music, throughout the country for
almost a decade. The term, as Herman
explained, "was to indicate the variety
and the aggressive attitude (Leftover
Salmon) have toward the music. Plus,
it's kind of fun to say.".
The jovial atmosphere at their per-
formances and their penchant for
improvisation has sometimes had
them labeled as a jam band, an inclu-
sive term that speaks nothing about
Leftover Salmon's music. For Herman,
it merely makes reference to their fan-
base. He notes, "(They call us that
because) people with long hair come
to the shows."
According to Herman, live music is
a true asset to today's society. He char-
acterizes its role as "a tool for bring-
ing people together." "There aren't a
lot of (those) in our culture anymore,"
he said. "There's sporting events,
churches and music. The exchange
between people is what (performing)
is all really about."
Functioning as a vital force for
Leftover Salmon, audience interac-
tion continually propels them to new
destinations. Herman notes that,
"tough nights are when there doesn't
really seem to be that energy coming
back at you."
It is because of this that he's
relieved to be done touring the North-
east and away from what he calls
"New England stoicism." For the
remainder of the tour, "in the Mid-
west, down South, out in the Rockies
and on the West Coast," he claimed,
"people get rowdier a lot easier, which
adds to the shows."
Even on the most difficult of nights,
Herman always succeeds in giving the
crowd a spirited show, a tribute to his
intense work ethic and spirited sense
of humor. When such occasions occur,
Herman claimed, "I just have to
chuckle at the fact that I make a living
doing this. Really, that's the be-all,
end-all and cure-all of it. Sure, there
may be seven people in the crowd, but
I'm playing music, so it's fine."
Courtesy of Compass
Herman tears through another jam.