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September 27, 2005 - Image 9

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-27

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Tuesday
September 27, 2005
arts. michigandaily. com
artspage@rmichigandaily. com

Tb tdie iWtgu Dld
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ThE HOTTEST PICKS IN ENTERTAINMENT
FROM A DAILY ARTS WRITER
Kerrytown - I'm lucky enough to live in my favorite part of Ann
Arbor. The neighborhood is relatively quiet, and the location - right
in between State Street and Main Street - is perfect. Throw in the
People's Food Co-Op, the Kerrytown Market and a thriving arts com-
munity and it's the ideal living situation.
Rashaan Roland Kirk - The oft-overlooked multi-instrumentalist
reshaped jazz with manzello, stritch and his incredible talent. Critically
derided as a "gimmick," Kirk deserves to be placed in the jazz pantheon
beside saxophone legends Coltrane, Dolphy and Shorter.
88.3 WCBN FM - My show, unofficially titled Black People & The
Beatles, may have an awful time slot (Sundays, 3-6 a.m.), but it's worth
staying up for. You'll hear Albert Ayler's "Ghosts," Paul McCartney's
demo for "Mother Nature's Son" and a ton of great, jazz, soul, blues,
reggae and hip hop in between.

Jessica Alba - With Jessica
Alba starring in the upcoming
"Into the Blue" as a bikini-
clad treasure hunter and her
performance as a stripper in
"Sin City" recently released
on DVD, this fine actress
is omnipresent. Her
flawless features are
the definition of
breathtaking ...
and her movies
are pretty good
too.
Nomo - The
best band in Ann
Arbor tore up
The Blind Pig y
Saturday night .F
with their vicious u.
Kuti/Coltrane
mashup. I can't-
think of a bet-
ter way to raise
money for Hurri-
cane Katrina relief
than to throw a
soul-soaked dance
party. With a new [
album in production,
expect this Michigan
sensation to commence
national domination.
Houston's F
Paul Wall
keeps the
city's vibe
By Chris Gaerig
Daily Arts Writer

Interpol lead singer Paul Banks stands before a packed Michigan Theater on Sunday.

STYLISH SUITS, EMPTY TUNES

SAME OLD, SAME OLD FROM

INTERPOL AT THE MICHIGAN

By Evan McGarvey
Daily Music Editor
Who is Interpol anyway?
After four years of freezing the insular indie-rock
world in its tracks with paralyz-
ing post-punk, we still have no interpo l
idea who the humans are behind
the endless "name that influ- The Michigan Theater
ence" comparisons and $6 mil-
lion Armani mope suits.
Sunday's performance at the Michigan Theater was
as unsatisfying as it gets: an industrial light show that
would make George Lucas give pause and provide
more brilliant moments (literally) than the band's muted
onstage demeanor and intelligibly fuzzed-out vocals.
After seeing the band once, whose commitment to
touring is admittedly strong, you can predict their set
list. The first five songs were all off Antics, their jug-
gernaut of a sophomore album that broke indie-rock
chart records, and, expectedly, they started the whole
show with "Next Exit," the Antics album opener.

Their playbook doesn't change, and on this night, that
was almost enough.
They're clearly dedicated to attempting to recreate
the studio experience onstage, but for a band whose
rhythm section is so heralded, settling for studio sound
stinks of complacency. Drummer Sam Fogarino got
a chance to noodle around with his snares between
songs two-thirds of the way through the set, and for
40 seconds Interpol showed some life. Guitarist Dan-
iel Kessler did his little manic hop around the stage
before coming back to his pedals. Bassist Carlos D
stopped trying to look oh-so-chic and actually played
bass with the metropolitan angst that made Turn On
The Bright Lights so damn powerful. Yeah, their ren-
ditions of "Evil" and "Narc" earlier in the night were
dependable (though the band's creeping reliance on
late era-Police dub-plate guitars is disheartening). But
this, this was the fun part of the evening. The suits
onstage were loosening up and the shrieking band-
wagon kids took a breath as the band recharged.
But before you knew it, lead singer Paul Banks sig-
naled for the next song and the first moment of genu-
ine fun had evaporated.
Banks, whose arctic tenor does little but recall

the ghost of Ian Curtis, is the clear ringleader. The
talented guys behind the instruments tolerate his
asinine, undercooked undergraduate poetry: "Time
is like a broken watch / And make money like Fred
Astaire." Interpol famously refuses to play covers; I
wonder why?
Toward the end of the set the crowd was absolutely
ravenous. The Michigan Theater seemed overmatched
by Interpol's howling fan base and what does Paul
Banks do? He plays "Stella Was A Diver and She Was
Always Down," a momentum killing cut whose deft
little chord progression can't save a laughable chorus
where Banks simply screeches "Stella!" for a couple
of seconds.
Poor song choice is a hallmark of their shows. The
gnawing paranoia of "Obstacle 1?" Not tonight. The
creeping Paxil-melodrama of "Untiled?" Nope. By
and large they stuck to Antics and after a while it felt
like fan-baiting antics.
While the calls for Banks's head should wait until
their third album, their Ann Arbor appearance did
nothing to subdue the skeptic's fears. Interpol has the
world on a string and seems content to do absolutely
nothing with it.

Courtesy of Sony

It's been easy for critics to argue
that artists like Slim Thug and Paul
Wall are simply
holding onto the Paul Wall
coattails of fel-
low Houstonian The People's
Mike Jones. The Champ
success of Who Atlantic
Is Mike Jones?
and the colos-
sal, groundbreaking popularity of
the lead single "Still Tippin"' are
unavoidable and a detriment to the
credibility .of the MCs that follow
the "featuring" in the track's title.
However, like G-Unit, nearly every
member of the crew outshines the
frontman - Lloyd Banks and
Young Buck destroy 50 Cent just
like Slim Thug and Paul Wall dom-
inate Mike Jones.
Most people are still trying to
wrap their heads around Slim Thug
recruiting the Neptunes to produce
his album. Somehow, this mix-tape
colossus was able to get the most
sought-after and talented beat-mak-
ers to work on his album, elevating
his flows and breakthrough release
to new heights. Although Paul Wall
doesn't have this same firepower,
The People's Champ is still filled
with tight, aggressive lines and the
archetypal Houston demeanor.
Hailing from the screwed-and-

Courtesy of Atlantic

His teeth are Weapons of Massive Bling.

hopped-world of DJ Screw, Paul Wall
represents Swisha House and Hous-
ton with a mass of minimal beats
and top-down, seat-back rhymes.
The first single, "Sittin' Sidewayz,"
is driven by hi-hat taps and a mor-
phing bass line. Big Pokey drops his
grave flows to finish the track in true
dirty-South style.
Platinum rapper T.I. screams
Southern pride with Wall on "So
Many Diamonds." Although it's
a solid track, Wall sounds like an
imitator next to the street-hardened
T.I. The laid-back style of the Rub-
ber Band Man makes Wall's rhymes
sound a bit aloof and out of place.
Conversely, the self-proclaimed
"People's Champ" comes off as
a veteran of the game on "Ridin'
Dirty." The catchy, melodic, albeit
soft, chorus of Trey Songz creates a
perfect dichotomy.
Even the radio-friendly, rich kid
Kanye West makes an appearance on

The People's Champ. "Drive Slow"
has an identifiable West beat - a
melodic keyboard line with jazzy
horn bursts - and his lackluster
rapping style. The money-cash-hoes
attitude of the track makes Kanye's
catalog all the more laughable, as
he rhymes with Wall about all of the
debauchery he chastises.
If anyone from the Swisha House
crew was doomed to fail, it was Paul
Wall. The white kid - let's face it,
he looks awkward next to Slim Thug
and Mike Jones - with the iced out
mouth is laughable at first glance.
The People's Champ isn't Already
Platinum, but it would be nearly
impossible to catch the freight train
that is Slim Thug right now. Paul
Wall isn't the savior of Southern rap
and far from the best thing to come
out of Houston, but he and Slim
Thug are forcing everyone to won-
der: What exactly is in the water in
Houston?

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