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March 15, 2004 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-15

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March 15, 2004
arts.michigandaily. com

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Band noodles through the Pig

By Laurence J. Freedman
Daily Arts Writer
Umphrey's McGee played an over-
whelming, often dazzling sold-out
show at the Blind Pig on Thursday
night, clarifying for a small group of
Michigan's jam-band faithful why they
are one of the most exciting new
groups in the ever-expanding scene.
The riff-heavy rock of the Chicago six-
piece is a refreshing return to the
genre's roots at a time when the recent
surge in popularity of jam music is
mostly attributable to the success of
party acts like Particle and Karl Den-

son who focus sole-
ly on creating a
Pioneers of the
genre like The All-
man Brothers,
Phish and moe. are
so satisfying because1

Thursday,;Mar. 11
At the Blind Pig
they blend nasty

Courtesy of Street Gold

Just 15 more minutes, mom!

Courtesy of Sony Pictures

it's slinky! It's slinky! Everyone loves a slinky!




and sunny grooves with intricate com-
positions and excellent songwriting.
Umphrey's McGee certainly aspires to
write and perform music that involves
all three of these elements, and on
Thursday night, they almost succeeded.
Their first set bombarded the listener
with intricacy. The band's sound, led by
the guitars of Jake Cinninger and Bren-
dan Bayliss, was an intense technical
workout reminiscent of the prog-rock
acts of the 1970's. Cinninger was all
over the fretboard, offering lightning-
fast licks as the band moved almost
frantically through composed sections.
It might have seemed like improvis-
ing, but Umphrey's knew exactly where
they were going. The set grew more

entertaining as the room got more
sweltering. A well-placed cover of The
Beatles' "She Came In Through The
Bathroom Window" relieved those who
felt lost by the band's virtuosity.
The second set was easier to digest
because it focused on building the
band's beloved groove. "Hurt Bird
Bath" quickly evolved into some-
thing dark and fast, drummer Kris
Myers, bassist Ryan Stasik and key-
boardist Joel Cummins providing the
perfect foundation for Bayliss and
Cinninger to go nuts.
For many, it was true jam-band bliss.
The instruments were so locked in and
the solos spiraling and careening so
perfectly that the crowd couldn't help
but lose themselves, only to ecstatically
realize 10 minutes later that they were

still enjoying exactly the kind of stuff
they came to hear. The groove increas-
es one's attention span, and by the time
the familiar beat of Zeppelin's "Fool in
the Rain" peaked through, Umphrey's
McGee deservedly had the sweaty
crowd right where they wanted them.
Displaying outstanding musician-
ship, inventive compositions and a
knack for building the bright, funky or
sinister grooves, Umphrey's McGee
proved why they currently have the
most buzz in a scene that thrives on
word of mouth. What the band lacked
was memorable songs. Maybe knowing
a song is what makes it memorable, but
the melodies and choruses that bring
closure to a instrumental-heavy set are
what separate the good jam rock acts
from the best.

By Mary Hillemeier
Daily Arts Writer

The tried-and-true psychological thriller/horror
flick leaves plenty of room for snappy, fresh dialogue
and inspired performances and welcomes variations
from an established track that make things interesting,
if not revelatory. These days, however, filmmakers
like David Keopp of "Secret Window" seem to be
copping out, abandoning creativity for cheesy special
effects and the famed trick ending, the supposed

mind-boggling payoff that rarely
measures up. In effect, Keopp's
attempts at short cuts crash and
burn, further marring the name of
his chosen genre as opposed to
reinvigorating it.
Luckily for Keopp, and anyone
who finds themselves subjected to
"Secret Window," the film has one
saving grace: the marvelous Johnny

At Madstone,
Quality 16 and
Sony Pictures
Depp. Strangely

writer John Shooter, a shamelessly wasted John Tur-
turro, begins haunting his cabin with claims that
Rainey plagiarized one of his stories. Of the bountiful
plot holes, the following is a classic. Rainey needs
proof that his story ran in a magazine before Shoot-
er's was ever published, yet, as opposed to using mod-
ern technology, Rainey sends for a copy of the
magazine through the mail. The result is a ridiculous-
ly avoidable race against time that squashes any sus-
pense simply by being so unnecessary.
Viewers who fancy themselves even slightly in
favor of the laws of common sense should pass on
this one. As the body count rises and the suspense
builds, the plausibility factor rapidly plummets. Ask-
ing us to believe that someone would actually cheat
on Johnny Depp is bad enough; Keopp goes too far in
soliciting our emotional investment in utterly absurd
special effects of the flashing-lights and minor-chord
variety, which are dangerously reminiscent of every-
thing spooky ever shown on the WB.
By far the most disappointing aspect of "Window"
is the finale. Keopp so hypes the climax that one
begins to hope that it couldn't get any worse. Instead,
what we get is a combination of several other movie
endings sloppily pasted together to the worst possible
Given that the film is based on the Stephen King
novella "Four Past Midnight: Secret Window, Secret
Garden" any slightly supernatural aesthetic elements
are explainable, but their laughable rendering onscreen
is inexcusable. Furthermore, paper-thin characters like
the vengeful John Shooter suggest poorly executed par-
ing down from the literary version. The resulting story
lacks spark and momentum; it seems that even Depp's
Midas touch can't save this one.

Biblical premise can't resurrect genre

By Forest Casey
Daily Arts Writer

The reality TV genre is at a juncture much like patients
waiting for a blood transfusion. Gone are the days when
every new reality show was strikingly original, the characters

endearing despite extreme bed-head and musty cardi-
gans, Depp brings the rumpled writer Mort Rainey to
life. Rainey witnesses his wife's infidelity in the
opening scene of the film, driving him to hole up in a
creepy cabin on a secluded lake and promptly aban-
don the laws of hygiene. Depp cuts hints of vulnera-
bility with a strong dose of sarcasm, immediately
winning sympathy and respect; even more impres-
sively, he locates shades of grey in what otherwise
would have been no more than a mere sketch of a pro-
Rainey's real problems begin when the crazed

were interesting and the themes were
conservative. Less concerned with origi-
nality, FOX's latest effort, "Forever
Eden," instead tries to put a new twist
on an old thing.
The twists in "Eden" are interesting, if
miniscule. The once-stagnant banish-
ment ceremonies, such as the tribal

Mondays at
9 p.m.

time limit to their stay in paradise; so the show could last for-
ever. Unfortunately, it would be an eternity lacking any kind
of subtlety (for example, "Eden's" large-chested,
British-accented hostess named, obviously, Ruth England.)
Also interesting are the biblical references. As soon as one
member is banished, the others cast lots for the leftover room
and money. The first two episodes were entitled "Reap What
You Sow" This coincides with the show's first twist; those
choosing banishm entof a contestant are also banished.
As in most every reality show, the wonderful glimpse of
the true human spirit is also on full display. When the men
of "Eden" select the least desirable girl for banishment,
she is allowed revenge -her choice of which man is to be
kicked off the island. To see the once-powerful men
squirm and grovel at the feet of the women is gruesome
and wonderful.
Accordingly, the characters of "Eden" are as stale as those
in any reality show. For such an exciting premise, the show
drags on and the cast will soon grow old. Despite some
intriguing twists, this show brings nothing beneficial to the
reality genre.

councils in "Survivor," have been livened with a required
revealing of the vote and an accompanying explanation,
which can make for some uncomfortable scenes. The entire
premise of "Eden" is rather unique - the contestants have to
live on an island, avoiding banishment, though there is no

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125th ums season

$10 Rush Tickets on sale 9 am-5
pm the day of the performance
or the Friday before a weekend
event at the UMS Ticket Office,
located in the Michigan League.

50% Rush Tickets on sale for
50% off the publiched ticket
price beginning 90 minutes
before the event at the per-
formance hall Ticket Office.

1ea 1acesI tE,
Michigan Head*Pain &
Neurological Institute is
conducting an in-clinic research
study evaluating an investigationaly
medication for migraine.
Participants must be 18 to 60 yearsy
old and suffer no more than 15
headaches per month. A total of
three clinic visits are required. Visit 2 is a four to six hour

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m Alm, INN

An Evening with Ornette Coleman
Fri 3/19 8 pm
Hill Auditorium
True to the spirit of discovery, legendary saxophonist Ornette Coleman
continues to push the boundaries of jazz, creating music that is free
from the prevailing notions of melody, rhythm, and harmony.

Israel Philharmonic
Pinchas Zuckerman violin
Yoel Levi conductor
Sat 3/20 8 pm
Hill Auditorium


Symphony No. 1 in D Major ("Classical")
Violin Concerto No. 1 in g minor, Op. 26
Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 43 (1901)

Tna r'lefQuartet

& I




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