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February 06, 2004 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-02-06

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 6, 2004 - 9

By Jared Newman
Daily Arts Writer

It's hard being a jam band. For the many with
a taste for improvisation, the only reward for
countless hours on the road is harsh criticism
from those who seem offended by 10-minute
tunes. But when Addison Groove Project drops
the funk, even the iciest naysayers can't help

but warm up.
The Boston-based sextet,
around since the late '90s,
use their aesthetic jazz-fusion
grooves to get even the
staunchest anti-jam critic
"When (most people) think
of jam bands, they think of
old, bearded hairy guys.
There's a definite stereotype,

who have been
Tonight at 10 p.m.
At the Blind Pig
Clear Channel

Courtesy orBlue Relier

Go go Power Rangers!

but when people hear our music, 'jam band' is
probably not the first thing that comes into
their head," said guitarist/vocalist/trumpeter
Brendan McGinn. "The jamming is implicit,
but the music itself doesn't necessarily fit their
defining notions of the style."
It's true that jam bands often face a negative
stereotype: The fans are offbeat, the music is
hardly conducive to radio play and the jamming
itself requires a different style of listening.
Nonetheless, the group has noticed a wide
array of fans in the crowd, from tweaked-out
hippies and jazz-heads to frat boys and every-
thing in between. And despite being in, as
McGinn put it, "a scene that's ruled by vibe
instead of talent," Addison Groove Project have
created anything but mindless marijuana music.
"Nothing is necessarily straight-ahead with
what we do. We add a lot of the elements of
jazz with odd time signatures and interesting
chord changes," said McGinn. One of the
band's most impressionable traits is their taste
for awkward rhythms. "What we're doing is
funky enough that people are dancing anyway,
but all of sudden they have to catch them-

'Elephant' analyzes
Columbine questions

Courtesy or AG

Do you like oral sax?

selves. It's kinda funny to watch."
Though much of the Addison Groove Project's
repertoire is instrumental, the guys are known to
use their throats on occasion, and with three
vocalists in the lineup, listeners can be sure to
hear some words on top of those palatable riffs.
It's all part of the band's master plan to keep
expanding and trying new things, while sticking
to their funky roots. Fortunately, the jam band
aegis gives them the freedom to try new things
without losing their devoted fan base.
While the band tours the country during the
winter and spring, a summer venture to the
recording studio is planned. Of course, the age-
old question remains: Is it possible for a jam

band to translate their live sound into a more
permanent medium? "The next thing we want-
ed to do is have it be very spread out, not so
much going into the studio and cranking it
out," said McGinn. As far as jamming vs. pre-
cision is concerned, the plan is to have a mix-
ture of both."
In the meantime, Addison Groove Project
will be doing what they enjoy best - getting
people moving with their energetic funk. Bren-
dan McGinn looks forward to it. "Maybe it's
the first song, maybe its five songs in, but
there's something that just clicks with every-
body and it turns into that party atmosphere
that always gets us pumped."

By Hussain Rahim
Daily Arts Writer

Who is to blame for the
Columbine school shootings? Was it
a specific person's fault, or is society
to blame? In writer/director Gus Van
Sant's ("Finding Forrester") latest
film, none of these questions are
answered and viewers will likely

leave the theater
much more per-
plexed about the
entire issue than
In a bare-bones
retelling of that

At the Michigan
Blue Relief

SSuper Furry Animals perform super concert

By Laurence J. Freedman
Daily Arts Writer

night at St. Andrew's Hall in Detroit.
Performing in support of their latest
album, Phantom Power, the band's
live show was awash in the vintage

These are heady times for atmos-
pheric pop bands. Relying on sonic
textures as much as melody, numer-
ous artists have recently surfaced
with sparkling and innovative
records easily transformed into mem-
orable live shows. The Flaming Lips'
recent work is a prime example, but
one mustn't overlook Broken Social
Scene, Grandaddy and the Welsh
quintet Super Furry Animals.
Although the SFA's ascent into
indie-rock notoriety in this country
has occurred relatively recently, they
have been a British hipster favorite
for much of their 11-year career.
During that time they have released
six superb LP's, while being peren-
nially associated with Welsh subcul-
ture hero and dope smuggler Howard
Marks, who appeared on the cover of
their 1996 release, Fuzzy Logic.
While their recordings have been
difficult to classify, two influences
were clearly evident in the SFA's
dazzling concert on Wednesday

West Coast pop of
the Beach Boys
and the exuber-
ance of the Beat-
les' psychedelic
The band incor-
porated these
influences into a

Super Furry
Feb. 4
At St. Andrew's

and triumphant "Piccolo Snare" off
Phantom Power morphed into a
funky laptop-driven club beat.
Key to the band's success are the
Furries' impeccable vocals. Often
layering whimsical three-part har-
monies over their playing, frontman
Gruff Rhys and the rest of SFA
evoked Beach Boys leader Brian
Wilson almost every step of the
way. Rhys proved to be a dynamic
singer, moving from tenor to bass
and back again with ease.
An SFA concert is both an aural
and visual affair. Behind the band
was a video presentation similar to
the one that they employed two

years ago. Perfectly in sync with
the music, the screen showed a
mixture of bizarre computer ani-
mation and quickly spliced clips of
everything from curling to Josef
Stalin to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Even Rhys' guitars were fun to
look at; it's likely the same artist
who created the video animations
drew the intricate patters on a num-
ber of his axes.
Like the Flaming Lips, the Furries
know that donning animal costumes
is entertaining; the band wore super
furry big-foot suits during their
finale, a reprise of their 1996 single
"The Man Don't Give a Fuck."

fateful day, Van Sant takes the gener-
al events of the shooting and facts
about the two killers and distills
them into a story loosely based on
several Columbine students. Using
an entire cast of non-actors, the goal
was to create a true depiction of a
regular, mundane day in high school.
"Elephant" succeeds in this mission,
maybe even too well. Van Sant cap-
tures every minute of detail of high
school life.
There is something poignant about
the little, awkward portraits of these
students. From the quiet resignation
of the homely librarian, to the artsy
aspirations of the photographer and
the strength of the student who takes
care of his drunken father; the char-
acterizationsrare appropriate and

heartfelt. The ways their lives inter-
sect with those of the killers make it
all the more tragic, creating an inti-
mate, if occasionally boring, mood.
There are five-minute shots of char-
acters ambling slowly through the
school and others where the director
shows his love for Beethoven's "Fur
Elise" by playing it in its entirety.
The film's voyeuristic, stream-of-
consciousness style is clearly
voyeuristic and the stream of con-
sciousness creates the feeling of see-
ing something as it was.
Van Sant's portrayal of the two
shooters comes off as little more than
an immature stereotype of a school
shooter. They watch tapes of Hitler,
play violent video games, buy guns
online, get picked on at school and
engage in ambiguous homosexuality.
Once the violence erupts it seems as
random to the audience as it is to the
students. Not even Van Sant knows
why it happened.
It would be easy to moralize in a
film like this, telling America why
they are wrong and what they need
to fix, but that penny-ante level of
sermonizing is avoided here. There
are no easy Hollywood answers and
no profound insight into the mindset
of the killers. It just happens. It's a
brave film and will leave a thinking
audience more conflicted than
before. The line between mood and
monotony, however, is a thin one,
and, to the detriment of the film, it
sometimes disappears.

sound sprinkled with electronic
effects and beats, sounding like
Radiohead recording Magical Mys-
tery Tour. The equally foreboding

Camp Counselors & Instructors Needed
Camp Walden in Cheboygen, MI, a coed summer camp. Needs
male and female staff for arts & crafts - tennis - gymnastics
- sailing - riding - performing arts - archery instructors
- secretaries - bus driver, trip leaders &
doctors in a camp clinic).

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