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October 04, 2005 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

October 4, 2005
arts. michigandaily. com

R TSe irligan ttly


. .. .. ........

Claudio Sanchez plays at the State Theatre.
Appeasing the Crowd

By Amos Barshad
Daily Arts Writer
The high school kids were out in full
force - Sunday night curfew be damned
- to see their prog-rock emo heroes
Coheed & Cambria
make a triumphant
return to the State Coheed &
Theatre in Detroit. Cambria
For the lip pierced, Sunday
not yet tattooed State Theatre
masses, the judg- _
ment had been cast
before they even
entered the building. Short of delivering
a full set's worth of Enya covers, nothing
Claudio Sanchez and the boys could have
done would have let those kids down.
Supporting Coheed as an opener
was Seattle screamo outfit Blood
Brothers, who got a fervent reception
from the crowd. The fact is, most of
the sixteen-year-olds were ready to
blow from the get go.
Blood Brothers can be extremely
distasteful to some - two singers who
screech with equal aplomb and one who
reaches heights heretofore unknown to all
but the eunuchs. While Jordan Blilie's fal-
setto wasn't as high live as on the record,
somehow, it managed to be more annoy-
ing. While the band flailed with gusto,
they seemed a step behind. Other than
the midtempo "Crimes," which received a

proper epic treatment and gave the band a
chance to catch their breath, Blood Broth-
ers' spastic acrobatics failed to compen-
sate for a lackluster set.
Coheed & Cambria came out com-
pletely hidden behind clouds of smoke,
as Sanchez's guitar drone built the antici-
pation. Four years ago, this band was a
supporting act playing in run-down night-
clubs. Now they're on stage at the State,
with 5,000 eager fans staring back at
them. Clearly, they had to have an appro-
priately over-the-top stage show. Smoke
machines, rainbow lighting and a winged
guillotine all had steady work thrdughout
the night.
Sanchez pulled out all the tricks of the
Eddie Van Halen School of Guitar Shred-
ding. Behind his gigantic puff of hair,
he played the frontman role to a tee. "A
Favor House Atlantic" inspired a rabid
sing-along and "Everything Evil" brought
screams of approval from the opening
notes. When they pulled out the slow
jams, the high school kids waved their
lighters without irony.
To be truthful, Coheed's poppy metal
shtick is not overly gripping, with the same
slow-intro-to-anthemic-chorus frame-
work repeated in almost every song. And
while Sanchez has oodles of energy, the
rest of the band moved around as much as
the stage props. Still, not one of those kids
seemed to mind. By the time the band
came back for an encore of "In Keeping
Secrets Of Silent Earth," fans had gotten
what they'd come for.

Courtesy of Sony
These jeans
were made
for sittin'.


By Aaron Kaczander
Daily Arts Writer
Initial rumors suggested that Franz Ferdinand
wanted to brand their second album with only
their iconic Helvetica symbol
- again. The boys scrapped this Fr
in favor of an uncharacteristi- ranz
cally lengthy, albeit telling, new Ferdinand
record title. You Could Have It You Could
So Much Better still has only Have It So
the band name emblazoned on Much Better
its cover, but now a woman of Sony
Lichtenstein-esque Benday dots
shouts out, "This is the Franz you long for." Or she
should, at least. The return of the highly marketable
Scottish lads Franz Ferdinand skip over the sopho-
more slump, with the pace to lasting rock stability
quickly hastening. After tirelessly sashaying their
wiry brand of dance rock around the world in sup-
port of their 2004 self-titled debut, Franz wasted no
time in bringing the songwriting of the road back
to the studio.
You Could Have It So Much Better basically
extends the mood and style of Franc Ferdinand.. For
these four Glaswegians, this is clearly not a pattern

they're interested in altering. If Franz can pump out
danceable disco beats, slicing guitars and androgy-
nous lyrics on a consistent basis, change ain't all that
necessary. Singer/guitarist Alex Kapranos's 1970s
lounge-lush vocals and bassist Bob Hardy's bouncy
rhythmic touches make for a blazing, head nodding
pace that doesn't stop for 41 minutes.
No high-profile record should be criticized for
sounding too much like what fans and critics want.
The fact is, these guys are nearly faultless in what
they do. This formula is by all means acceptable.
They're gonna continue to wear their ascots and
make kids who are all too often afraid to get on
a dance floor leave the wall and embarrass them-
selves in a fit of jerky movement. Still, for those
looking for more introspective tunes and less of the
usual hi-hat heavy shtick, there is more variety on
You Could than their debut.
The fiery numbers that recount the way Franz
shot to the top of college as well as Top 40 charts
last year dominate the front half of the album. The
lead single, "Do You Want To," is a blustery recre-
ation of "Take Me Out," complete with disco-beat
chorus and cleverly unpredictable time signature.
Yet, it is not "Take Me Out"; It's bouncy and fun,
but it's unpredictability makes for an entirely new
single. This is admittedly what makes the first
half of You Could some of the better 25 minutes

of music this year. The choruses keep switching,
melodies are rearranged halfway through the songs
and Kapranos and Co. keep finding a new way to
make heads nod. Medium-tempo gems like "Walk
Away" suggest that there is new sonic territory to
be explored. "This Boy," the strongest track on the
record, has a robotic guitar line and undeniably
weird chorale yell that is so jarring it takes two lis-
tens to fully appreciate its artistry.
On the back end of the album, Franz takes plenty of
opportunity to let their frantic rock gems breathe with
a trio of slower tunes. "Fade Together" offers some
light Scottish love fluff, but the strength lies within
"Eleanor Put Your Boots On." This acoustic guitar
and grand piano-driven track sans drums boasts a
vintage production like something their pop rock pre-
decessors might've recorded 35 years ago.
What makes You Could Have It So Much Bet-
ter so great is not its indelible resemblance to post-
punk stalwarts Gang of Four or Wire. It's not the
fact that Franz basically reconstructed their self-
titled debut with a handful of mellowed tunes to
blur the pace. It's obviously not the Benday dots on
the cover. It's the fact that Franz is simply taking
what they do best and reapplying it in ways that are
simply impossible to resist. The buzz band may be
back, but this album proves that Franz can beat the
hype hump.

By Michelle Zelle
For the Daily
After his Oscar
in 2003, directo
Roman Polansk
returns to the screen
with a remake o
"Oliver Twist.
Although his ver
sion adds nothinl
new, Polanski'
talented cast an
$60-million budge
Based on the nov
"Oliver Twist" follo
Oliver (newcomer]
abusive living situa
England. After ft
orphanage, workho
with a mortician, (
town and hikes 70 n
he finds relief and
pick-pocketing pre-
learns he's not suite
he struggles to esca
Screenwriter Ro

'Twist of realism
ers also worked with Polanski on "The Pia-
nist") ignores a subplot about discovering
Oliver's family identity, This omission, as
1'lI well as the deletion of a ghost from the
novel, heightens the level of realism.
win for "The Pianist" The result is astraightforward adapta-
>r tion that will likely be forgotten among so
i many others. But Polanski's uncommonly
n Oliver Twist vivid images of Victorian London could
f help the film distinguish itself over time.
At Sho as1e6 The dreary alleys and dungeons re-created
r- son set in Prague have detail and precision
g Tristar that the older versions can't match.
s The movie also finds unique inspiration
d in its cast. Ben Kingsley ("House of Sand
t amount to a worthy and Fog") as Fagin, leader of the pick-
pocketing gang, captures the grotesque,
vel by Charles Dickens, slightly insane qualities of the character.
ws 10-year-old orphan Clark and a group of other child actors are
Barney Clark) through charismatic and lively. And Kingsley's
ations in 19th century murderous sidekick Bill (Jamie Foreman)
unneling through an has a fear-inspiring grimace that makes
use and apprenticeship him the perfect screen villain.
Oliver finally flees his Really, Polanski's major setback is his
niles to London. There dubious decision to retell such a familiar
shelter with a band of tale. But it seems like the director wanted
teens. But when Oliver to convey the enduring importance of
d for a life of thievery, the story to a new generation, and as an
pe the crime cycle. orphan himself, he is able to do it with

'Conunander' smart and strong, despite clich6s

By Ben Megargel
For the Daily

Under the always-rumored Hillary
Clinton presidential candidacy in

2008 comes "Com-
mander in Chief," a
Rod Lurie-directed
show that tackles
the nation's pos-
sible reaction to a
female president.
Despite clich6d

in Chief
Tuesday at
9 P.M.

a firm, measured woman of great
resolve. In the opening episode, the
president suffers an aneurysm, and .
despite the pleas of several detrac-
tors, including the president him-
self, Allen becomes the first female
Commander in Chief.
Her appearance is perfectly
attuned to political fashion with
conservative pantsuits and practical
hairstyle that contrast to the fiery
red hue of her locks. Instead of being
an all powerful, Joan of Arc-style
ultra-feminist, Davis shows shades
of grey and feelings of doubt. On
several occasions she concedes that
a woman in the presidency might not
be the most stable decision, espe-
cially during war.

A skilled ensemble cast is also
introduced to complement Davis's
central position. Donald Sutherland,
("M*A*S*H") plays House Speaker
Nathan Templeton, Davis's key rival
and opponent. Sutherland is deli-
ciously evil in the role, attempting to
sabotage Davis at all costs, even cut-
ting the prompter for Davis's speech.
He is direct, opinionated and cruel
- the dramatic yin to Davis's yang.
Davis's husband, Rod Allen (Kyle
Secor, "St. Elsewhere"), provides
the necessary comic relief through-
out the serious debut. Demoted from
a position with the Chief of Staff
to First Husband, Rod is forced to
choose the salad dressing and color
scheme for his office like many of

the First Ladies before him.
The acting is not the show's only
strong point. "Commander" resemr
bles an expensive movie more than
a typical TV show. The program's
editing is flawless and the camera
work engaging.
The only sizeable drawback is that
at times the writing seems contrived
or forced. Often the actors spout cli-
chad lines, and the dialogue screams
for a touch of reality.
However, if one is willing to give
into the premise, "Commander In
Chief" becomes highly entertaining
and appealing. The possibilities for
plotlines seem endless and "Com-
mander" may prove to be the next
ABC ratings hit.

moments, a strong, experienced cast,
high production value redeem the
show from the "West Wing" rejec-
tion box.
"Commander" stars Academy
Award-winner Geena Davis as
Vice president Mackenzie Allen,

nald Harwood (Who

impressive poignancy.


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