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March 15, 2007 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-03-15

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(page 2'

2B - Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.corr

0

THE VAU0LT 'RO SHAM BO' (1994)
A rare pop experiment

ENTERTAINMENT BRIEFS

By BRIAN CHEN
Daily Arts Writer
Before he was busy producing
Kanye West's Late Registration
and composing film scores for
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless
Mind" and "I Heart Huckabees,"
Jon Brion was just one of four
members in the terribly over-
looked pop band known as The
Grays.
The album's title, Ro Sham Bo,
refers to the game of rock-paper-
scissors, in which disparate ele-
ments interact with each other in
random, strategic and dynamic
ways. Likewise, the chemistry
between the band's four members
- Brion, Jason Falkner, Buddy
Judge and Dan MeCarroll -
attains that same dynamic. They
are distinct at the same time, each
writing individual songs with
subtle, idiosyncratic differences.
Unsurprisingly, the album's cover
art is a collage of the four mem-
bers' faces, each comprising a
fourth of a singular and cohesive
whole.
The Grays take influence from
the melodic pop bands of the '60s
and '70s, like the Beach Boys and
The Zombies. Brion, Falkner and
Judge share the vocal duties; but
more than that, they divide writ-
ing responsibilities and shape
their respective songs in substan-
tial ways.
Judge's tracks are propelled by
the rhythm section, characterized
by lively bass lines and energetic
drums. This works especially well
on "Nothing," which begins with

a desolate piano phrase before the
bass arrives and the song acceler-
ates forward.
While Judge is a capable song-
writer, it's the dynamic between
Falkner and Brion that steals the
spotlight. Falkner's songs are typi-
cally quicker, zipping along with
an optimistic pleasantness. In the
album's opener, written by Falkner,
he sanguinely sings "Everything
is going to be all right, despite my
fighting tears / Cause these are the
very bestyears."
In contrast, Brion's songs are
melancholic and downhearted.
Bravura multi-instrumentalist
that he is, Brion expertly captures
the dejection of album closer "No

NOW IN THEATERS
300
At the State Theater,
Quality 16 and Showcase
** - - OR *-***
According to our duelingcrit-
ics, "300" is either an "aggressive
and exuberantly stupid spectacle
(that) purports to get the audience
off, but there's no fire, no heat, and
in the end the whole thing turns
into a frigid parade of limbs and
egos mutilated beyond repair," or it
"speaks to themes of loyalty, honor
and duty, but no one bought a ticket
to see 'themes,' they came to see a
battle. And the fighting itself is so
beautiful and well-orchestrated it
carries the movie." Either way, it's
become the film event of the winter.
Wild Hogs
At Quality 16 and Showcase
Predictable, generic comedy

The Grays' first
and only album an
overlooked gem.
One Can Hurt Me" with harmonic
guitars, tremulous bass riffs and
timid drums. Bitterer still is Bri-
on's revelation of the song's titular
significance, singing timorously,
"No one can hurt me like you do."
Together, Brion and Falkner are
the diametric forces of the emo-
tional tension that make Ro Sham
Bo such an intriguing and melodi-
cally bipolar album.
While their musical influences
are obvious, The Grays sound
uniquely their own. This kind of
music isn't necessarily ground-
whose only redeeming quality is
its big-name stars (the dubious
combination of Tim Allen, Martin
Lawrence, William H. Macy and
John Travolta).
Ghost Rider
At Quality 16 and Showcase
If you're a fan of over-the-hill,
mediocre actors playing superhe-
roes, "Ghost Rider" is the movie
for you. Of course, this isn't just
any superhero - Ghost Rider
(Nicolas Cage) is a superhero with
a motorcycle, flaming skeleton
head and powers of a satanic min-
ion, although for some reason he
uses them for good. This whole
package is a hard pill to swallow.
But Eva Mendes is hot, right?
Black Snake Moan
At the State Theater

breaking, but it's made with a
punctiliousness so razor-sharp
that no song can be considered
filler material. Lovelorn despair,
ecstatic rapture - these are some
of the familiar themes revitalized
by the band's individual and col-
lective creativity.
Brion is particularly praise-
worthy, deftly crafting melodies
around spiraling guitars and har-
monizingvocals. Even atthis early
point in his career, Ro Sham Bo
exemplifies the melodic arrange-
ments at which he excels.
Kanye West was so impressed
with Brion's work on Late Regis-
tration that he asked him to pro-
duce his next album, Graduation.
Director Paul Thomas Anderson
trusts Brion alone with the score
of his films, including the upcom-
ing "There Will Be Blood." If
you're curious as to why he's in
such high demand, just listen to
Ro Sham Bo. Combining Brion's
inimitable knack for melody with
three similarly talented artists,
The Grays' first and only album is
a gem, an offbeat pop experiment
now sadly out of print.
When a down-on-his-luck
farmer (go-to Hollywood presence
Samuel L. Jackson) finds a beat-up,
unconscious, half-naked young
woman on the side of the road
(Christina Ricci, "Prozac Nation"),
he takes it upon himself to "cure"
her of her "wickedness" - the hard
way. Hint: It involves chains.
Zodiac
At Quality 16 and Showcase
"Zodiac" opens in 1968 and
doesn't stop jumping weeks from
there, months and even years, fol-
lowing the various men - a drug-
addled San Francisco Chronicle
reporter (Robert Downey Jr.), a
family-man detective (Mark Ruf-
falo) and, eventually, a cartoon-
ist (Jake Gyllenhaal) - who take
charge of and are slowly consumed
by the investigation into Califor-
nia's most notorious (and elusive)
serial killer.

BIRTHED
"Beverly Hills 90210" alum and
reality-television staple Tori Spell-
ing officially became a mother this
past Tuesday with
the birth of her 4
first child. Liam
Aaron McDermott
was born at six
pounds, six ounc-
es and arrived in
the early hours
of the morning at SPELLING
Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Ange-
les. The birth may bring Tori closer
to 'her estranged mother, Tori's
brother Randy said.
ADOPTED
Angelina Jolie is cradle robbing
again - no, not like the dudes at
Phi Psi. The Ministry of Justice's
International Adoption Depart-
ment in Vietnam confirmed Jolie
will acquire her fourth child soon-
er than expected. The surprise
announcement was because Jolie
had already been involved with
the child in question for several
months now. It's interesting to see
what $20 million a movie and an
Oscar can get people these days.
FREE
Britney, are you paying attention?
Lindsay Lohan's father, Michael
Lohan, was released from prison
yesterday after atwo-year stint for a
disastrous D.U.. The former stock-
broker has tried to make amends for
past behavior andintends tobecome
an ordained minister and reality-TV
star. How ironic - is this really a
Lohan we're talking about?
FASHION
"Sex and the City" star Sarah
Jessica Parker launched her new
fashion line this week. The clothing
Bridge to Terabithia
At Quality 16 and Showcase
** **
With a trailer featuringcomput-
er-generated giants and swarms
of insect-like warriors, Disney is
eager to pawn "Terabithia" off as
a "Chronicles of Narnia" replica.
But director Gabor Csupo goes too
far in stripping awaythe fantasy
and turningthe film into a rehash
of 1991's "My Girl" - strong
drama, but little escapism.

label, called "Bitten," premiered its
clothing line yesterday to an elite
group of fashion editors. As for
pricing, availability and styles, no
one knows exactly what Parker
intends to do with her clothes. But
unlike HBO's hit series, the public
won't have to listen to Parker pout
about what to wear this time.
ARRESTED
Two of Leonardo DiCaprio's
bodyguards were arrested in Isra-
el this week after a spat with the
paparazzi. The two men kicked at
a photographer and were subse-
quently taken into custody by local
officials. DiCaprio has yet to speak
on the incident. Who needs body-
guards anyway - didn't he protect
himself pretty well in "The Depart-
ed?"
BUSTED
Snoop Dogg using drugs? No
way. Well, according to Swedish
authorities, Snoop was arrested
for possibly using illegal narcotics
on Monday morning. After a gig in
Stockholm, Snoop was stopped by

the local police, where he was found
surrounded by intoxicated women.
Soon after, police tested Snoop for
drugs and let him go. The results of
the test will be announced in two
weeks.
REHAB
American fashion ingenue
Marc Jacobs checked into rehab
this week after having an alleged
relapse. After being sober for seven
years, Jacobs found himself abus-
ing drugs and alcohol similar to
past instances. After a Louis Vitton
showing last week, Jacobs checked
in to an Arizona clinic on Monday.
SETTLED
After feuding for weeks, the
great Donald Trump and Rosie
O'Donnell battle may have finally
come to an end. Earlier this week,
O'Donnell announced on her day-
time talk show "The View" that she
will no longer mention Mr. Trump
and that they won't quarrel any-
more. Damn, and it was just about
to get interesting.
BLAKE GOBLE

0

I

Courtesy of HBO
"Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker unveiled her own fashion line yesterday.

I
6

0

Marsalis returns to Hill

By MICHELE YANKSON
Daily Arts Writer
Famed trumpeter Wynton Mar-
alis is set to
tir up the Uni-
rersity with his Wynton
nixed oeuvre MarsaliS
>f jazz and clas-
;ical when he Tonight at 8 p.m,
performs at Hill $10-$70
Auditorium At Hill Auditorium
onight at 8 p.m.
Renowned
n the jazz community, Marsalis's
ound ranges from the enchant-
ngly eloquent to the wonderfully
whimsical. Marsalis's father Ellis
md brother Branford are both
-espected jazz musicians. Still,

with a Pulitzer Prize in music and
multiple Grammy Awards under his
belt, Marsalis's mastery is undeni-
ably more than just in his blood.
Marsalis is alsothe artisticdirec-
tor of Jazz at Lincoln Center, whose
Orchestra, hailed by Howard Reich
of the Chicago Tribune as "the
greatest large jazz ensemble work-
ing today," will join him at Hill.
The Orchestra's 15 jazz soloists add
a unique blend of sound to Mar-
salis's artistry. The backgrounds
of the musicians range from Scot-
land-born saxist Joe Temperley
and Detroit's Cass Technical High
School alum Ali Jackson Jr.
Ann Arbor is the third stop on
the "Songs We Love" tour - Mar-
salis's 11th visit to the University

Trumpeter always
finds a ready
crowd in A2.
and the orchestra's loth.
Followers of jazz will appreciate
Marsalis and the Orchestra's con-
tinuing loyalty to the University
and relish the pairing's inspired
arrangements. The less fanatic
of self-professed jazz lovers will
be delighted by the better-known
romantic classics, such as the Billie
Holiday-lionized "Summertime,"
that Marsalis and the Orchestra
are set to perform.

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