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April 16, 2014 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 5A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 5A

Traveling on the Arts road

"Where are the croissants?"v
Middli g'i ghts'

Despite Michaelson's
vocals, production
disappoints
By KEN SELANDER
Daily Arts Writer
Ingrid Michaelson's voice
is pitch-perfect - almost too
perfect at times, as odd as that
might sound.
Her latest B
album, Lights
Out, places Lights Out
her voice
center stage Ingrid Michaelson
with plenty of Cabin 24
creative lyrics;
but many of
the often vaguely country-
sounding instrumentals behind
her are painfully generic. While
this is a good quality record, it
feels like there's just something
missing that would make it
outstanding.
The strongest, most soulful
song on Lights Out is "War
Path," which features a country
feel, lightly distorted guitar
and a certain sassiness that
could inspire an audience: all
of which makes it stick out
like a sore thumb. Sadly, this is
also placed as the third to last
song on the album. As for much
of the rest of Lights Out, the
record has an apparent tension
between Michelson's passion
and a lack of soulfulness in her
voice.
It seems that she almost
restricts herself, or is
restricted, from showing how
strong her emotions might be.
A perfect example is "Open
Hands" featuring her co-writer
Trent Dabbs. The song has a
grounding piano that nicely

accompanies her wonderfully
versatile voice. While the low
pitch she often relies on helps
add a little bit of strength and
character to her vocals, it
seems like she's holding back,
just to make sure she doesn't
stray from her mechanically
squeaky-clean singing. If she
were to rip loose and allow
herself to be more raw and edgy,
a great deal of power would be
added to the track.
Much like in "Open Hands,"
piano is incorporated in a
number of tracks trying to
account for Michaelson's lack of
power and soul in her voice. She
lets loose a bit more in "Ready
to Lose," again featuring
Trent Dabbs. The song begins
with piano, and has a pleasing
harmony throughout. At the
same time, there's still an
element of fragility to her voice
that can't be shaken.
One of the few places where
her voice doesn't sound as
delicate is on a couple of
the more country-inspired
numbers, especially "Stick."
The song contrasts with the
first three songs on Lights Out
because you could imagine
her performing in front of an
audience, rather than alone in a
smallaroom in a studio. "Stick"
has an epic feel to it, with
staccato violin, upbeat piano
and tambourine that makes it
easy to want to clap along. This
is one of the rare occasions
in the album where the
instrumental actually enhances
her voice and elicits some
edginess instead of attempting
to mask its more soft nature.
Conversely, in "Everyone is
Gonna Leave Me Now," the
crescendo of the drums and
guitar clearly does a lot more

work than Ingrid's voice itself
in powering the song.
Along with occasional
country inspirations, the record
features a dash of synth here and
there. The opening track, "One
Night Town," featuring Mat
Kearney, seems to imply that
the album will feature a unique
combination of synthesizer and
have a predominantly country-
pop feel; However, the album
doesn't pursue these elements
as much as expected.
Don't get me wrong - while
this albumhas its shortcomings,
it definitely has its strong
points. "Girls Chase Boys" is a
very quirky, upbeat track that
is unique in that it is a "happy
breakup song." The contrast
of short and poignant piano
notes with alternating snare
beats makes for a giddy, almost
silly instrumental. Ingrid's
voice might lack some element
of rawness, but she certainly
doesn't lack range or talent. I
justruminate onthe lack of edge
in her voice because I think
this album could be absolutely
mind blowing if she managed to
incorporate some more grit into
her fragile, beautiful voice.
Lights Out is a little too
perfect, because it doesn't
really seem to push, but rather
contently stays in place. I love
Michaelson's voice, but not
the album. Ingrid is, of course,
the main showcase of the
album, but the accompanying
instruments are usually too
generic and ordinary to bring
the album together as a whole.
If Ingrid were to develop her
voice a little more - notthrough
vocal lessons of any kind, but by
adding some fire to her golden
pipes - she'd probably be one of
the best singers I've ever heard.

Music ... or Sports?
That was the original dilem-
ma, the first really consequential
choice I made after arriving at
the University. Sure, I had made
a tentative
choice for
major (later
changed), and
yes, I could
have worked
in two Sec--
tions of the4
Daily for a ELLIOT
semester, ALPERN
maybe more.
But I didn't
want that - no, this was going to
be a decision of influence, to define
my path of journalistic intent for
the next four years.
But - what did I want to write
about?
As you can probably guess, I
walked to the left of the news-
room that fateful mass meet-
ing, away from the Sports desks
and toward the rather quirky
set of writers gathering around
the Arts area. A few weeks later,
and I was writing my first album
review. (I like to remember it as
Bruce Springsteen's The Promise,
but unfortunately the honor goes
to a 2 1/2-star review of a mixtape
album by The Big Pink. Ugh.)
I can't say that I haven't thought
about how my career would've
turned out if I'd taken the alterna-
tive route. I'm a sports fan, after all
- my interests were almost equal
back as a freshman, just as they
are now. Sometimes, I wonder
where I would've been had I spent
my nights at the Crisler Center,
instead of deeply immersed in the
latest album.
But I can tell you one thing:
Music opens up a potential for
experiences that is, in my opinion,
unparalleled.

Yes
Lights
sponta
studen
turned
Hageli
onds l
winne
jumpe
after T
and br
ship g
But
choice
Let
Sports
been
For fo
ketbal
puter
studen
down1
But
a Mus
It's
trary;
requir
pit, to
with:
of crag
some
their
would
some c
ing up
For
ories,
all der
spite o
At
ago, I'
my cl
ers pl
"Lear:

I was at the Under the what's become my favorite con-
game. I saw friends kiss cert ever. And this past year, cov-
ineously, stayed with the ering a concert for the Pittsburgh
it section even after they Post-Gazette, I was able to witness
I off the music. I saw Carl mayflies descend on Colbie Caillat,
in tie a game with a few sec- much to the general amusement of
eft, and then score the game- the crowd.
r in OT as time expired. I And the people - I've never met
d in the Diag with the rest so many cool, friendly people at a
Prey Burke dropped a dagger sports game as I have at the con-
rought us to the champion- certs I've been to. Taking the train
ame. home from Lollapalooza thatsame
still, I'd make the same year, I spent the ride talking with
. Music - not a doubt. some guy, going over the shows
me tell you that all of those we'd seen, to discover that we
experiences would have didn't overlap once - that, some-
vastly different as a writer. how, we had each moved back and
'otball, for hockey, for bas- forth between the same stages,
1, I'd be huddled over a com- sharing not a single act.
or some notepad while the And none of that relates to the
it body jumped and Bernied best part of the job - to talk with
below men and women who had such a
I've never felt separate as passion for music, that they would
sic journalist. On the con- pursue it to the ends of the Earth,
risking utter failure to achieve
their dreams. I can still feel the jit-
been agreat ters ommy first interview, a jazz
grea bassist named Victor Wooten who
journey' had the deserved fortitude to con-
tradict my, frankly, leading line of
questioning.
Years later, I sat down to speak
getting a good story almost with Tim Bergling, better known
es you to get down into the as AVICII, navigating a thick
go find common ground Swedish accent through a phone
stars who see the craziest call. And, that same month, I dis-
zy on a daily basis. I'm sure cussed the future of pop with Girl
athletes have their egos and Talk, opining about the next big
quirks, but I don't think any thing.
conduct an interview under There's no way to know if,
drug's influence, or just wak- maybe, I'd be writing the same col-
, hungover, at 4 p.m. umn as a sports writer, reminisc-
all those great sports mem- ing about that day I chose athletics
I can give you just as many, over the arts.
ivedfrom myjob, and not in But I chose the road I truly
f it. desired, the road I'd been traveling
Lollapalooza a few years toward my whole life. And that has
was soaked straight through made allthe difference.

othes while the Foo Fight-
ayed on, rocking through
n to Fly" and "My Hero" in

Alpern is still wandering. If
found, e-mail ealpern@umich.edu.

Classic'Les Miserables'
to premiere at the 'U'

atin@ Culture Show
showcases identities

By KATHLEEN DAVIS
Daily Arts Writer
The term "Latin@ culture"
seems insufficient in of itself
to describe the cultural
diversity of the
people living Latin(@)
everywhere C
from the
boroughs of Show
Mexico City
to the bustling April17
metropolitan 7:00pm
areas of Lydia Mendels-
Argentinato the sonTheatre
rural farming Ticketsat MUTO
regions of Peru.
This Thursday,
the 14th Annual Latin@ Culture
Show hopes to showcase this
complexity in order to celebrate
what makes Latin@ heritage
unique.
What began in 2001 as a
small group of performers in
the basement of the Michigan
League has become an annual
celebration of Latin@s with
a range of backgrounds. This
years' event will feature several
dance performances from styles
that originate from countries all
over Central and South America,
including salsa, bachata and
reggaeton.
The event is student-run and
typically attracts an audience of
200-500 people, and according
to LSA junior and LCS publicity
chair Alejandra Roel, attendance

is expe
"It's
for not
on car
who li
culture
about
great<
partici
C
on
throug
throug
Roel
the pr
and is r
a danc
executi
of thec
finding
show,'
Impara
focus
Latin@
what ti
"We
forwar
for us?
future(
our cul

cted to be similar this year. as years go on? We really want
a really great opportunity the audience to think about these
only the Latino students questions."
mpus, but also students The event took several months
ke to engage with Latino to plan, with efforts focused
and like to learn more on fundraising to support the
it," Roel said. "It's a extensive costs of the program,
opportunity for them to recruiting core members and
pate in it. Whether it's dancers and deciding on a theme.
The program hopes to educate
the University about the rich
W e don't all diversity of cultures that exist
withinthe Latin@community on
'ome from campus.
"The concept of being Latino is
e pa tic lar very complex, we don't all come
ie particular dfrom one particular landscape,"
andscape, " Roel said. "There's not just one
kind of Latino at the University of
Michigan."
LCS' commitment to providing
a voice for all students who
h a performance or simply consider themselves Latin@
h attending it." is what makes the program so
performed as a dancer in strong.
ogram her freshman year "I really want to show how
returning this year as both proud we are of who we are, and
er and a member of the the fact that we're here at the
ive committee. As a part University of Michigan," Roel
core group, she assisted in said. "At least in my perspective,
the theme for this years' that's what we're really
Neo Latinidad: La Fuerza celebrating,"
ible." The program will "We're here, we're happy
on what it means to be to be here, and we're happy to
p in today's culture and celebrate our culture and take it
he future may look like. everywhere we go," Roel added.
wanted to really think "Especially with this years'
d, like what is the future theme, it's about being grateful
" Roel said. "What is the and proud of being here now and
of being Latino and how is thinking about how much is in
ture going to be influenced store for us in the future."

By ALEX BERNARD
Daily Arts Writer
Ten minutes to"Topoftheshow."
Students are milling about the
stage. Vajean laughs with Javert.
Eponine and
Fantine do Les
vocal warm-
ups, which, to Miserables
the untrained April17
ear, sound 7:00pm
like deranged April19and20
birdcalls.
Five minutes 8:00pm
to "Top of the April21
show." 2:00pm
The pit Power Center
orchestra warms $22
up, strings and
horns setting the
you're-about-to-see-a-musical tone.
The lights dim as the cast gathers
on stage. Nervous chatter floats
around the actors. The anticipation
is palpable. The director gives a
few technical notes and walks back
to his house seat. The cast scatters
offstage.
The music stops. So does the
chatter
Over a microphone, the stage
manager announces, "Remember!
Noeatingincostume!"
A screen descends in front of the
set, and "Les Miserables" projects
onto it in front of a French flag.
The lights go out. The music
starts.
Andtheshowbegins.
"Les Miserables" - centered
on turbulent post-Napoleonic
France and one man's journey to
redemption - opened on Broadway
in 1987. The show won eight Tony
Awards, including Best Musical,
Best Book and Best Original Score.
And now, through the School
of Music, Theatre and Dance,
the legendary musical comes to
Michigan.
The show is directed by
Joe Locarro, a member of the
original Broadway cast of "Les
Mis" (Enjorlas - replacement).
Unsurprisingly, Locarro said his
previous experience has proved
incrediblyuseful.
"When I work with the students,
we talk extensively about the
history of the piece, the differences
between the novel and the musical,"
he said.
The piece's history doesn't stop

there, t
and the
with th
well-kn
"Whe
all this b
- no m
from a
member
historyf
that the
scene," I
In ad
student:
"Les M
musica
"The
moment
playing,
In fa
Music,'
Catheri
show'sr
Y
must b
and voc
and emt
Adan
sing ar
combine
to this
Locarro
method
"We
We had
the stag
around
to dive d
their fee
to learn
Locarra
The.
40 SM
to senic
Michiga
"Wel
" Locar
believe:
the over
andthe
a very u
don't ge
student

hough - not for Locarro And what a caliber of student it
student cast who are tasked is. Even in dress rehearsal, the cast
:e development of already leaves you speechless, teary-eyed
owncharacters. and emotionally disoriented. One
atwedoiswegivetheactors would expect no less from "Les
background, and every actor Mis," but somehow the music still
atter what role they have, blindsides the audience like an
principal to an ensemble emotional freighttrain.
- they have to build a Locarro's ensemble is to thank
foreach andeverycharacter forthat.AsheandAdamsexplained,
y have in the show in every there is no one person who carries
Locarro explained. the show. The program is carried
Idition to writing histories, by a slew of great individual
s must tirelessly practice performances creating the gripping
is" 's uniquely complicated numbers and chilling act finales.
ndvocals. SMTD Senior Conor Ryan,
re are only one or two who plays Valjean, leads the way,
ts where the orchestra stops expertly developing the character
"he said. from "Prologue" to "Epilogue" in
ct, according to School of a captivating performance that
Theatre & Dance Professor captivates you no matter what
ne Walker Adams, the impossible note he's hitting.
music director, the students "I Dreamed a Dream" (Erika
Henningosn - Fantine) will have
you wiping your eyes fifteen
minutes intotheshow.
'oung talent On the flip side, SMTD junior
Mackenzie Orr (Thenardier) and
in SM TD SMTD sophomore Kalia Medeiros
(Madame Thenardier) deliver
)roduction. a much-needed and hilarious
repose from the show's weight
with "Master of the House." Their
onstage chemistry and perfect
timing fuels the show's few funny
alance impeccable rhythm moments.
al command with the pace And yet, the emotional highlights
otion of a conversation. of the show come in Act Two (no
ns and Locarro had actors spoilers).
number, speak it and then Whitney Brandt's (Eponine) "A
e the results. In addition Little Fall of Rain" is unforgettable,
more traditional exercise, gut wrenching and one ofthe show's
also used a few unique defining moments. Her down to
s: earth and heartbreaking portrayal
had them roll on the floor. erases the gap between audience
I them drag people across and actor, between seat and stage.
e. We had people running Bringtissues.
the stage. I've been known And the brilliance doesn't stop
down tothe ground and hold with these songs. "Stars," "Empty
et to the ground ... You have Chairs at Empty Tables," "End of
what each person needs," the Day" and the show-stopping
o said. "OneDayMore"arejustafewofthis
cast is made up of nearly musical's ovation-worthynumbers.
ITD students. Freshmen Tickets are sold out right now,
ors alike bring a uniquely but ifyouhaven't beenluckyenough
n feeltothe classic musical. to buy some, keep trying You can
1, we're callingit'Les Mich,' call the Power Center box office or
ro said. "The thing that I check online for availableseats.
makes (this show) unique is If you have tickets, let me offer
rall ability of the ensemble one piece of advice from Director
cast...Thathasbeen,forme, JoeLocarro:"Showupearly."Either
nique Michigan thing...You that, or you'll have to wait until after
t to work with this caliber of the "Prologue" to take your seats.
s very often." See you at the barricades.

I

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