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October 04, 2010 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2010-10-04

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8A - Monday, October 4, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Blind Pig crowd will
cheer for Ra Ra Riot

Hawaiian punch -

Daily MusicEditor
There are a lot of bands out
there doing the whole artsy-twee
collegiate thing.
But at the Blind Ra Ra Riot
Pig tonight, New
York-based sex- Tonight at
tet Ra Ra Riot 9 p.m.
will show what The Blind Pig
makes them $15
stand out from
the rest of the
baroque bands inundating today's
indie-chamber pop scene.
While its 2008 debut album
The Rhumb Line offered a quirky
juxtaposition of dizzying orches-
tration flourishes and kitschy,
youthful lyrics ("My bed's too big
for just me" on "Can You Tell"),
Ra Ra Riot's latest album, The
Orchard, has a more mature vibe
complete with quiet moments of
These mournful undertones are
the product of events surround-
ing the band before recording the
album. In the midst of making its
self-titled EP, drummer John Pike
went missing. Later the band was
given the unfortunate news that
Pike had passed away. Several
weeks later, Ra Ra Riot released a
statement expressing their intent
to continue as a band, and in 2008
gained a new drummer in Gabri-
el Duquette. They soon started
work on The Orchard with The
Rhumb Line producer Ryan Had-
lock (Blonde Redhead, Gossip,
In advance of their show
tonight at the Blind Pig, the Daily
spoke with cellist Alexandra
Lawn about the band's preppy-
collegiate persona, the story
The Orchard tells and how pals
Vampire Weekend influence the
"It's funny because I don't
think of us in that way," Lawn said
of the intellectual image the band
is popularly perceived as project-
ing. "But maybe I can see where
the reference is pulled up. There's
a lot of that going on in indie music

right n
a physi
was an
smart t
as unc
we pla
was me
is still
to play.
to be th
quest t
and I t
ally," L
If an
the ban
five ye
ago. So
on The
we wer
"I th
tion th,
ral may
a peacl

ow and Wes (vocalist) was friends weren't living in at the
ics major and Milo (guitar) time and it was just a very good
architect major so there's environment for us to be in and
ely that collegiate kind of we found real happiness there and
hing going on there." it proved to be productive and a
n and her bandmates met great place for us to write music,"
dergraduates at Syracuse Lawn said.
sity, a time Lawn describes Lawn then briefly mentioned
nostalgia when she talks the writing process without Pike,
playing current shows on who had been an important con-
campuses. tributor to the band's artistry.
definitely really fun. When "John was such a creative force
yed there (at Syracuse) it and so talented and he was amaz-
ostly house parties, which ing to bounce back and forth with
one of my favorite venues on that level," she said.
Ra Ra Riot is close to the
le The Rhumb Line proved equally famous collegiate prep-
he product of a band finding sters Vampire Weekend. Lawn
intellectual-pop bearings, explained how the two bands
describes The Orchard as a became acquainted.
o find oneself. "Ezra (Koenig, Vampire Week-
think there's something end) and Wes (Miles, Ra Ra Riot)
it that tells a story about grew up together and we've
one's faith and place played many shows with them and
and outside of themselves become very good friends over
hink we did that musically, the years that we've both been in
ely, together and individu- bands. And Wes and (Rostam Bat-
manglij), who are Discovery, have
been writing music together for
the past four years and finally got
:beeping the a chance to release the Discovery
. album," Lawn said.
struments in Since Ra Ra Riot is composed of
talented instrumentalists, it was
di p only appropriate to ask the band's
opinion on the abundance of buzz
bands today that neglect to use
awn said. any form of traditional instru-
iything, Lawn believes The ment.
d is essentially a display of "I was classically trained and
d's growth. have been playing cello for 21
've been playing for almost years now, so I'm a bit of a tra-
ars together now and we ditionalist when it comes to that
most of The Orchard a year and I always tend to gravitate to
that's pretty fresh off the bands that have instruments in
e path in a sense, whereas them and people who can play
Rhumb Line some of those them well. That's always a perk,"
were written the first week Lawn said.
e together. Lawn couldn't have sound-
ink there's a natural evolu- ed more enthusiastic about the
at you can sense there." upcoming fall tour, expressing
tendency toward the natu- her affinity for playing in front of
'have to do with the band's a crowd.
n to record the album in "Oh, just the feeling you get
h orchard in upstate New when you play an instrument and
playing with people that you love
was in this gorgeous farm that are always inspiring you. It's
with a porch that our the best feeling ever."

Alex O'Laughlin
ruins yet another
CBS enterprise
Daily Film Editor
Remember those Cheetos com-
mercials where Chester Cheetah
had a meter to
adjust levels of
cheese? Well, if
Chester were to Hawaii
see the revamp
of the iconic Fie-0
"Hawaii Five- Mondays at
0," he'd crank 10 p.m.
that lever all the CBS
way up to Dan-
gerously Cheesy.
Filled to the brim with shoot-
outs, explosions and bikini-clad
women, "Hawaii Five-O" is the
television equivalent of a Michael
Bay movie - which could trans-
late to either mindless fun or a
torturous experience.
The show follows an elite
law enforcement squad clean-
ing out high-profile criminals
from Hawaii because apparently,
behind all the wind surfing and
luaus, the state is a hotbed of
international terrorism. The team
answers only to the governor
(Jean Smart, "24") who promises
them "full immunity" and "no red
tape," which is just a convenient
plot device to allow characters to
bypass proper police procedures,
letting them shoot first and ask
questions later.
The squad is led by Steve
McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin), a
former Navy SEAL who, in the
show's pilot, puts together the
task force to hunt down the man
who killed his father. McGar-
rett is a veritable G.I. Joe, an
extremely proficient soldier who
is as impassive as an actual action
figure. It all comes down to the
ineptitude of O'Loughlin, who
drags down the show with his
inability to emote or inject any
sort of personality into his char-
acter. O'Loughlin is so awful that
it feels necessary to take a (rel-
evant) tangent to momentarily
raise some hell.

"Look at this guy's smile. It's dangerously cheesy."

What exactly is CBS's obsession
with Alex O'Loughlin? "Hawaii
Five-o" is his fourth collabora-
tion with the network in the past
four years. He was given the lead
role in "Moonlight" and "Three
Rivers," two instantly forgettable
series that lasted 16 and 13 epi-
sodes respectively, and he was the
male lead in crapfest "The Back-
up Plan," released earlier this
year by CBS Films. There's clearly
some sort of talent deal going on
- O'Loughlin is objectively a very
bad actor and seriously limits the
potential of "Hawaii Five-0."
O'Loughlin's miserable perfor-
mance is only accentuated by the
excellence of Scott Caan ("Ocean's
Eleven"), who plays his partner
Danny "Danno" Williams. Caan is
witty and goofy as a divorced dad
who moves out of his New Jersey
comfort zone to Hawaii so he can
be closer to his daughter. Caan is a
magnetic presence, cracking jokes
throughout gunfights and crime
scenes but unearthing his softer
side in the appropriate occasions.
The squad is rounded out by
two fairly flat characters: Chin Ho
Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim, "Lost")
and the show's single significant
female character; Chin Ho's cous-
in Kona (Grace Park, "Battlestar
Galactica"). Chin Ho doesn't do
much besides brandish a shotgun
(though he's sure to develop as
the show progresses) and Kona is
relegated to disgustingly exploit-
ative eye candy - she's shown in
her underwear twice within the
pilot and engages in a catfight in

the second episode which, yes,
ends up with both women fighting
in a pool.
"Hawaii Five-0" fits nicely on
the CBS schedule, among all the
episodic crime procedurals. Yet
instead of mere homicides a la
"CSI," the crime of the week is
larger in scope, involving such
nefarious deeds as human traf-
ficking and the abduction of very
important people. These lead to
some very entertaining action
sequences - quite impressive for
network television - that look
incredible due to ace cinematog-
raphy and well executed direction.
But the action also highlights a
major flaw of the show: There are
no stakes. During the shootouts,
the four main characters may get
nicked or bruised, but as an audi-
ence, we know that they will be
perfectly fine by next week. As
fun as the action sequences are,
there's a significant lack of sus-
pense knowing that our heroes
are not in any danger. Compare
this to "24," where every firefight
generated heart-stopping tension,
as any given character (even Jack
Bauer) could be killed.
"Hawaii Five-O" works as a
turn-off-your-brain, subtext-free
hour of television. And no matter
how much O'Loughlin sucks it up
or how grossly exploitative it is
toward women, there are enough
elements in place to make it a fun
time-pass (if you have time to
pass). Plus, it has the greatest
theme song of all time. Objec-



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