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May 15, 1980 - Image 9

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1980-05-15

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S iT

The Michigan Daily-Thursday, May 15, 1980-Page 9
Ars

And the hits just keep on comin'

By JIM ROBINS
Bookies, the infamous New Wave
showcase club on Detroit's Northwest
side, kicked off the week with a pair of
no holds barred premiers. Monday
night saw Gang of Four turn out a
wildly intelligent set of clanging,
redefined 'wall of sound' music.
Tuesday the Selecter delighter the
audience to the rock steady Two-Tone
Ska sound that just won't let anybody
standstill.

Calling yourself Gang of Four is
going to have your band pegged even
before the first note is played. Gang of
Four's Detroit debut had been preceded
by rumors of a Marxist dance
band-Communist rock and roll-the
International in four-four time. But
what Gang of Four actually did per-
form was some of the freshest, most
direct rock and roll heard in these parts
in some time.
, GANG OF FOUR'S first album has

yet to be released in the States, except
as a hard-to-find import. The band's
rapid paced live attack made most of
their lyrics indiscernable. So the
audience was largely unfamiliar with
the group's material and was in no
position to judge its 'political correc-
tness.'
But the lyrics one could pick out
Tuesday night were vivid in their
directed imagery. A line from one of the
early numbers of their set, "I feel like
there is a beetle (Beatle?) on my back"
provides commentary on being part of
a new generation of British musicians,
feeling the subtle weight of the past. A
chorus like "Please send me evenings
of weekends" expresses a desire to
celebrate-to turn it up to max, but with
clarity and economy. Gang of Four at
times employa kind of social realism in
their lyrics that is so blunt it hurts, like
in the refrain: "Your kiss so sweet,
your sweat so sour; sometimes I think I
love you, but I know its only lust!"
The lyrics one could hear clearly
were a treat, but Gang of Four's
musical barrage was so effective that
actually they could have been singing in
Italian and they would have sounded
terrific. The rhythm section of drum-
mer Hugo Burnham (a big George Clin-
ton and Funkadelic fan) and bassist
Dave Allen drew on several of the best
elements of reggae, rhythm and blues,
and funk, to create a persistent dance
beat. Guitarist John King played just
the right raw soungs, constantly
reaching for the best chunky chord or
note, yet not taking off, staying in the
ensemble. Rob Marr handled most of
the vocals with an engaging voice that
didn't dominate the band's music, but
was an integral part of a collective
sound.
Gang of Four's debut album will
be released in America next week.
Finally, people Stateside will get a
chance to hear exactly what this band is
singing about. Hopefully the album's
release will be followed by a quick
return performance of Gang of Four's
jarring, yet mesmerizing nusic.
ROCK STEADY. You could repeat
the phrase rapidly over and over again
for 90 minutes and you might get an
idea of riding the Ska beat with the
Selecter at Bookies. Like their Two-
Tone label mates, the Specials and
Madness, the Selecter has taken the
Ska and Reggae beat, along with other

elements of Carribean music and up-
dated the sound, speeding up the tempo
for an electrifying, urbanizing effect.
The result is a kind of danceable mania
that possesses the energy associated
with the old Stax-Volt or Motown
groups.
The near capacity crowd at the club
picked up on the Selecter sound quickly.
For the secondnight in a row there was
non-stop pandemonium on the dance
floor. Spurred on by vocalist Pauline
Black's encouraging words to let loose
and move, the crowd vigorously
responded and when it was time to
leave, they left resembling the title on
one of Ms. Black's compositions,
"Black and Blue."
The Selector churned out the music,
working hard to get the crowd's atten-
tion and participation. The twin,
twanging Telecaster guitars of Neol
Davis and Compton Amonor, the fine
keyboard pulse provided by Desmond
Brown, the punchy drumming of
Charley 'H' Bembredge, the rich bass
lines of dreadlocked bassist of Charley
Anderson all were unrelenting in this
brand of Coventry (a tough English in-
dustrial town, home to the Two-Tone
bands) party music. Pauline Black and
Arthur Caps provided a vocal presen-
tation filled with drama, yet never
overstated. Black in particular, gave
the lyrics added power with her
animated facial expressions: Eyes
bulging out to menace and arching her
eyebrows into defiance, then breaking
out into a smile and a slick shuffle, all
with a smooth exuberance.
The Selecter primarily played com-
positions from their album The Selec-
ter. They introduced the reggae classic
"Time Hard" with its chorus "each day
is getting worse" as a song for Detroit.
Tgheir British hit "On My Radio" with
the refrain "its just the same old show
on my radio", was dedicated to Detroit
radio with its excessive play of "Led
Zepplin and Styx and all those other
boring old bands." The Selecter
displayed no doubts about where they
were playing.
After a very full hour and a half set,
including two enthusiastic encores, the
Selecter said good-night to a joyously
wasted audience. Like their com-
patriots Gang of Four, the Selecter are
a fine young band, who are fortunately
starting to make musical inroads in this
country (despite very little radio air-
play) with a tough sound that explodes
with rhythmic and lyrical conviction.

Dolly rPoto y iUMtUE NMALLEY
Gang of Four
Join the Arts staff
It's that time of year, as the two areas have been woefully
new semester gets under way, neglected because we don't have
when the Daily sounds the enough qualified writers. If you
recruiting call for new arts staff feel motivated to try your hand at
writers once again. We need writing about anything that could
people to report on all aspects of be conceived of as prt, or
the performing and visual arts, something that wouldn't fit in
from grand opera to street anywhere else in a daily
theatre. One needn't be an expert newspaper, stop by the Student
in a given field: interest and in- Publications Building, 420
volvement, as well as a burning Maynard-right down the street
desire to write, count for a lot from McDonald's. The arts editor
more. can be found in the office up-
A special appeal goes out to stairs, to your right, any weekday
anyone with an abiding interest afternoon. Give it a try: it can't
in (and knowledge of) classical hurt and it may help-both you
music and the visual arts; these and the Daily.

%INEMAII
BEFORE THE
REVOLUTION
(Bernardo Bertolucci, 1962)
Bernardo Bertolucci, the director of LAST TANGO IN PARIS, made BEFORE THE
REVOLUTION, his first major success, when he was only 22. The plot is loosely
based on Stendahl's THE CHARTERHOUSE OF PARMA. A young man flirts intel-
lectually with communism and incestuously with his young aunt. This film, colled
the 'revelation' of the 1964 New York Film Festival, established Bertolucci as on
outstanding talent. 'BEFORE THE REVOLUTION is too much and that is whot is
great about it.. "-Pauline Koel. Italian with subtitles (115 min.).
MLB 3 - 7:30 & 9:30 $1.50

The Ann Arbor Film Cooperefive Presents at Aud A: FREE
THURSDAYMAY15
JON JOST FESTIVAL 7:00-Aud A
Visiting filmmaker Jon Jost makes his first Ann Arbor appearance. Jost, a 36
year-old independent, experimental filmmaker, examines political and social
issues. His stay in Ann Arbor will be highlighted by screenings of Speaking
Directly (7:00) and Last Chants For A Slow Dance (10:00). He will give a lecture
on low budget filmmaking between the two shows. Speaking Directly (1973)
has been described as a ruminiation on life in America, Vietnam and the process
of filmmaking. Last Chants For A Slow Dance is a story of an unemployed trucker
who plays at being "King of the Road," while his family struggles for welfare.
Don't miss Jost's films and the chance to listen to an independent filmmaker
expouse on his art. A workshop is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday after-
noon, May 14. Please check the desk or office phone for details.
Tomorrow: Jack Nicholson in FIVE EASY PIECES and DRIVE, HE SAID at
MLB.11.50
'eua ., fk! 'F . .'d a .

l

Tomorrow: AMARCORD

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