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October 06, 2006 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-10-06

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 6, 2006


Despite their odd grammar fixation, they make all right music.


Yo La Tengo frontman Ira Kaplan performs at The Michigan Theater Wednesday night.

Locals S' come through


By Matt Kivel
Daily Arts Writer
Before Pitchfork, before Sufjan, before blogs,
before the ubiquitous rise of "indie," there
was something called col-
lege rock. In the '80s bands Yo La Tengo
like R.E.M. and Guided By Wednesday
Voices played their music Atthe
to packed campus clubs and Michigan Theater
bars, inspiring a generation
of students to support their local music scenes
and turn off MTV. Yo La Tengo is a college
rock band in the most complimentary sense of
the title. They have churned out consistently
great records while maintaining their artistic
integrity, gaining new levels of respect among
university listeners with each passing fall.
When Yo La Tengo rolled into Ann Arbor
Wednesday night the setting could not have
been more picturesque. The beautiful Michi-
gan Theater was glowing yellow, alcohol flowed
freely from the bar, hipsters spilled out into the
street for last cigarettes and even the original
generation of Yo La Tengo fans were well rep-
resented - a simple count of the balding heads
in the audience made this more than apparent.
All that was needed was a soundtrack to fit the
ambiance, and if nothing else, Yo La Tengo pro-
vided that.
Their song selections spanned the entirety

of their career, but the early part of their set
focused on their latest album, I Am Not Afraid
Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass. "Pass The
Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind" was a true high-
light of the night. Ira Kaplan's Hendrix-with-a-
Jew-fro guitar antics coalesced perfectly with
the hypnotic drum and bass combo of Georgia
Hubley and James McNew. The song's menac-
ing tone quickly gave way to a number of the
band's lighter tunes, such as "Bean Bag Chair"
and "Mr. Tough." The latter featured Kaplan's
surprisingly nimble falsetto amid a warm back-
ground of keyboard and cowbell.
The set progressed smoothly, with Kaplan's
wry sense of humor adding much to the trio's
stage presence. They played favorites like
"Autumn Sweater" and "Little Honda" from their
classic I Can Hear The Heart Beating as One,
but it all seemed a little too predictable. The band
did everything that one could expect from listen-
ing to their records and it amounted to a show
that was merely pleasant, not mind-blowing.
Yo La Tengo is a band that should be held to a
higher standard. They have made more than dozen
records of affecting and inventive music, some of
which ranks among the best of the '80s and '90s.
Their songs can be life-changing, heartbreaking
and sometimes downright abrasive, but never bor-
ing. On Wednesday night the band was caught
between these two extremes and it made for a
show that entertained but failed to captivate.

By Elyssa Pearlstein
Daily Arts Writer
S' is a band named for all
of those grammar enthusiasts
out there - yes, it's actually
phe." Made
up of pensive $'
hipsters, the I Was Born at
Ann Arbor- the Dollar Stor
bred band Cerberus
well beyond
expectations on its carefully
orchestrated debut album, I was
Born At the Dollar Store.
With a distinctively jazzy
vibe, S' distances itself from the
typical indie-pop rock template.
Throughout the album, the
band's sound mirrors a mellower
version of Home IV, a collabo-
ration between Spoon frontman

Britt Daniel and Bright Eyes'
Conor Oberst. Both albums
use simple-yet-pleasant piano
and guitar melodies, along with
somewhat-angsty vocals. The
frequent addition of soothing
saxophone on several tracks
gives the album a distinctive
Vocalist BK's lyrics explore a
variety of tropes and paradoxes.
The title track deals with every-
thing from coffee and hypo-
critical vegetarians to broken
glass. "Rolling Along" explores
the emptiness of consumerism,
namely that of the radio indus-
try: "We can't control the stat-
ic / That comes from the sky /
We're overwhelmed by signals
that never die / Away, they satu-
rate all the ground."
But S' is most inspired on
tracks like the more upbeat
"Yellow Fever!" which strangely

pairs the melancholy of feeling
like an outsider with a feel-
good rock beat reminiscent of
Elton John's "Crocodile Rock."
The upbeat instrumentals are
an unexpected contrast to the
downbeat lyrics.
One peculiar eccentricity of
the band is that the members
don't disclose their actual names.
They've created the nicknames
Benny P, BK, Sphere and Profes-
sor Sol Solomon. The group has
played together in various forms
for close to 10 years.
I was Born at the Dollar Store
explores perspectives, both
humorous and serious, with a
touch of cynicism and feel-good
moments. When life gets woe-
ful for listeners, this album will
simultaneously relate and cheer
them up. It can't hurt for any
disheartened soul to give this
worthy local band a listen.

'Scenes' set to deliver sure laughs


By Andrew Sargus Klein
Managing Arts Editor
If you've had the pleasure of
witnessing the Residential Col-
lege Players
put on their Evening of
bi-annual Scenes
"Evening Tonight at
of Scenes,; 8 p.m. and
then perhaps tomorrow
you already at 9 p.m.
know what Free
to expect this At the RC Auditorium
weekend. A
grossly underrated performance,
the RC's "Evening of Scenes" is

a regular hit in the theater scene,
almost always filling the quaint
RC Auditorium to capacity for
each performance. Consisting of
anywhere from six to 10 "scenes"
roughly ten minutes in length,
the selected pieces are generally
student written and directed.
There have been adaptations
of Saturday Night Live and other
television skits, but mostly "Eve-
ning of Scenes" is a chance for
the young and hopeful to display
their charm and wit.
"Evening of Scenes" is won-
derful appetizer for such upcom-
ing events as "Kamikazee

Theater," where the entire show
comes together after a 24-hour-
long marathon.
Look for humor ranging from
slapstick to overt snark. The RC
talent pool is an organic, con-
stantly evolving body of compe-
tent actors and actresses, so new
faces will shine right alongside
the old.
The performances are tonight
at 8 p.m. and tomorrow at 9 p.m.
The cost of admission is a whop-
ping $0 - you have no excuse
not to catch a surefire hour and a
half of laughs. But get there early:
Choice seats fill up fast.




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