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February 02, 2006 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-02

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

February 2,2006
arts. michigandaily. com

Rhe T Sigan Bailg


. . . .............. . . . . . . ....... ............ ... . -- - ----------

By Anthony Baber
Daily Arts Writer
Walking through East Congress Street in Detroit, the
front of St. Andrew's Hall was scattered with signs and
posters promoting the Little Brother and Fort Minor show
up and down the street Tuesday night. They were wrapped
around poles, resting in gutters and


The cast of "The Surprise" rehearses In the Arena Theater Tuesday.
'Surprise' nihens

Courtesy of Little Brother

taped to the building. Clearly, this
show, a combination of conscious
rap and metal-rock rap, had been a
long time coming.
In a long, blue and gray tour bus
outside the venue were the mem-
bers of Fort Minor. Led by Mike
Shinoda, the MC who once repre-

Little Brother
and Fort
St. Andrew's Hall

Little Brother performed Tuesday night at St. Andrew's Hall.

sented Linkin Park, the group relaxed before their head-
lining performance. Inside a shorter black and gray bus
was Little Brother, two young men from Durham, North
Carolina on their first visit to Detroit.
Headliners Fort Minor put on a kinetic show for the
palpably excited audience. Their fans jumped out of
their Linkin Park t-shirts as Fort Minor hit the stage and
Shinoda jumped onto a platform and began perform-
ing "Remember the Name" from the first and only Fort
Minor album, The Rising Ties.
But more than an hour before Shinoda's crew mount-
ed the stage, Little Brother tore through a terse, affect-
ing set performing "Still Lives Through" from their last

album The Minstrel Show. They were joined on stage by
singer Darien Brockington, who sang the hook on "Slow
It Down" and two other songs from their debut album.
Brockington's sweater and collared shirt were a preppy
contrast to the white tees and fitted caps, but together they
provided an even more dynamic experience.
To end their performance, they brought rapper Joe
Scudda and Elzhi from Slum Village for "Hiding Place."
Each song in the set's waning moments was performed
with an intensity and stage presence that amazed even
while considering the straight-ahead political burn of
their studio album.
After they finished their set, and before Fort Minor
took the stage, Little Brother turned the inside of their
tour bus into a center of post-performance relaxation. As
two of the group's friends began discussing the mean-
ing of groupies and "spoony time," Little Brother's MC
Phonte' and Rapper Pooh both attempted to lie down and
rest. But after a little provocation, they both started talk-
ing about how incredible it was that they only met seven

years ago at North Carolina Central University and now
they were rocking crowds across the country.
"It's truly a blessing," Phonte' said as partner Pooh
added, "We could still be in North Carolina rocking to
Being from the South, they both easily see how South-
ern hip hop has taken over popular music.
"Right now, it's all about the South," Pooh said.
"They're the 'in' thing as far as hip hop is concerned"
"Things go in cycles," Phonte' added. "In the early
history of hip hop, it was New York out there running
everything; now it's our turn."
Though they are Southern, they didn't consider their
music, at its core, to be "Southern" music.
"It's really only two different kinds of music," Pooh
said. "And that's good and bad."
"I don't really consider us Southern hip hop, we just
make dope music," Phonte' said as he adjusted his posi-
tion on the couch. "I'm from North Carolina and I make
dope music."

AZ-based Toolbox showcase fresh new sound

By Hyatt Michaels
Daily Arts Writer

Basement Arts rarely produces original
work from Uni-
versity students,
but the popular e urprise
theater group is Thursday,
taking a chance Saturday and
with "The Sur- Sunday at 7 p.m.
prise," playing this Saturday at 11 p.m.
weekend at the Free
Arena Theater. At the Arena Theater
In workshops
prior to its current production, the
quirky drama received praise from
private audiences who lauded its sharp
dialogue and eccentric, Albee-esque
"People have really enjoyed it," said
playwright and director Zach Lupetin.
The play has collected three Hopwood
awards and comparisons to the classic
play "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
" 'Woolf' is one of my all-time favor-
ites. ('The Surprise') is definitely mod-
eled after that tradition," Lupetin said.
The Residential College junior
wrote the play while taking a playwrit-
ing class with School of Music theater
Prof. Gyamo, and drew inspiration
from his family.
"I got the idea from my sister," Lupe-
tin said. "My father had a surprise party
a couple of years ago, and she wrote this
farcical invitation saying how much we
hated (our) father. I took the idea from
that and made it about this family."
"The Surprise" centers on the Ben-
sons, a dysfunctional clan led by the
"quasi-insane" mother, Marion, and
the three quarreling Benson daugh-
ters. The women haphazardly prepare

a surprise party for their overworked
patriarch, Jasper.
"The surprise is sort of a metaphor -
a cure-all for the family crisis," Lupe-
tin said. "The stress drives her over the
edge and almost leads to the destruction
of the family."
"The Surprise" doesn't shy away from
crude language and frank discussions of
sex and mental disorders. It goes to great
length to avoid becoming yet another
piece of light family fare.
Marion suffers from the early stages
of dementia and drives her family mad
by either delving into the sexual practices
of her rude college-aged daughters, or
annoying her adulterous husband.
"She has an impulse problem and says
everything she thinks," Lupetin said.
Though "The Surprise" is filled
with tragic undertones, it tackles such
issues with the same humor in the way
"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
did decades ago.
Lupetin is aware of this and has pre-
pared for adverse reactions. "Some of it
is controversial;' he said. "I think it may
offend some people. There are some jokes
that are off color"
Unlike upcoming Basement shows
"Lystrata" and "Macbett" (sic), Lupetin
is directing his own work - which cer-
tainly puts pressure on the Lupetin.
"I obviously hope that people love
it," Lupetin said. "My biggest hope is
that it works and that it keeps the audi-
ence interested."
Still, he said, the excitement outweighs
the nervousness. Lupetin is eager to pres-
ent "The Surprise" to the University's
theater community.
"It's sort of an experiment because it's
never been performed,"Lupetin said. "It's
an original student work, which makes it
more close to home."

By Joey Lipps
Daily Arts Writer
Ann Arborite and sophomore Tyler
Duncan and Czech sophomore Aaron
Gold have pieced
together a quintet Toolbox and
of University music Millish
students who add
subtleties to their Tonight at
eclectic amalgama- 9:30 p.m.
tion of Irish bagpipes At the Blind Pig
and Eastern Euro-
pean-influenced drum beats. The prod-
uct of this instrumentally unique pairing
is Toolbox, a tightly knit ensemble who
will perform tonight for their third time
at the Blind Pig.

Guitarist and Music student Theo
Katzman said the group might "ironi-
cally be the first band where it is hard to
describe the genre."
The group uses jazz improvisation in
the medium of Irish pipes while dabbling
with reggae and disco beat, which makes
them both unique and hard to define.
If pressed, Duncan said he'd describe
his group as "bagpipe drum and bass with
a dark, satirical sense of adventure."
Labels aside, Toolbox just wants
their audience to dance and enjoy their
night out at the Pig.
Toolbox's dominant sound and captivat-
ing image comes from Duncan's inventive
use of the Irish bagpipe. As a past student
of the pipes in Ireland and, at age 15, the
first American to win an international
contest based on his performance of Irish

music, he began experimenting with new
ways to perform.
"The music was very traditional," Dun-
can said. "I always thought it sounded old
and stale. When I was a kid, I was always
trying to put things together with my
music, like a jig over a Benny Goodman
or Robert Johnson tune. I wanted to do a
fusion with integrity ... So I'd listen to a
lot of jazz and see how it applied."
The fusion began more than a year ago
when Duncan moved in with Gold and
they created and recorded in the latter's
garage for a week until they completed
a full set for a musical competition in the
Czech Republic.
Gold explained how they managed
to amplify their sound despite being so
small. "(We) wanted a full band sound
from only two people ... so we starting

putting things in Pro-Tools so we could
play along with it."
Once they put these sounds in a live
setting and substitute the performers, they
had a developed, full sound that opened
up opportunities for much greater depth.
Playing at the Blind Pig was a goal for
Duncan as he grew up in Ann Arbor. He
doesn't see this as a stressful stage in his
musical career, but rather an enjoyable
experience that's been a natural progres-
sion from his early roots in Irish music.
"The best show in my idea is where
you can come and dance," Duncan said.
"But there are a lot of people who don't
dance, and I want them to be equally
enthralled by the music. It works on
a couple levels with the physical and
primal level, and then the intellectual
level above that."


9h/f POkd6 F

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