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June 17, 1981 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1981-06-17

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The Michigan Daily Wednesday, June 17, 1981 Page 7

Rock and roll family reunion

Daily Apocalypse Editor
Chaos is much better live than on
vinyl. During all of the pre-concert
hyperbole yesterday, WCBN played
portions of Mission of Burma's forth-
coming 12" EP, and I began to wonder
what I was getting myself into.
Which is to say, it wasn't promising
- it was so raw and grainy it sounded
like it had been recorded with $75 amps
in somebody's garage. Maybe that's the
way they wanted it to sound.
THANKFULLY, MOB did not sound
that way Monday night at Second
Chance. Oh, they built up a cacophony
of sound in short order, a furious on-
,slaught that at once stunned the senses
and enthralled the imagination. Not in-
consequentially, a couple of hundred
pairs of feet seemed to gain a new life of
their own in response.
Mission of Burma's unrelenting pace
is oddly charismatic, in that it not only
invites involvement, it very nearly
demands it. Tunes like "Einstein's
Dead," "This is not a photograph," and.
their classic "Academy Fight Song"
were delivered with such immediacy
that they felt like events.
What this means is that Mission of
Burma can get by with most anything'
Material that ought not to hang
together - indeed, doesn't hang
together on record - gets swept along
with ferocity just like everything else.
ODDBALL, quirky time signatures,
bumpy rhythms often eerily intersper-
sed with tape loop hocus-pocus, and
even barely disguised Gang of Four
imitations worked their way into the
set, and there were times when they
didn't really fit. That it didn't matter at
the moment is tribute. to the com-
pulsiveness of MOB's music.

The music itself was often so stormy
and incredibly intense that it seemed
certain to fly into pieces, and destroy it-
self in its own fury. I kept expecting it to
gain control of its creators (the
Frankenstein theory applied to rock 'n'
roll, a la the Sex Pistols). I was just
waiting for the band to collapse in an
exhausted heap.
IT NEVER happened. Through two
shortish sets, they stormed non-stop
with few and fleeting suggestions that
they were just another of those punk
bands (or even a punk band, at all).
Finishing ironically with "Fame and
Fortune" ("Fame and fortune is the
game I play," sang hometown boy
Roger Miller, MOB's guitarist), the
band left amid veritable puddles of
their own sweat. When they returned
for an encore and announced, "This is a
slow dance," I thought they had run out
of steam. Wrong. The ensuing tune,
"Honolulu Baby," was the fastest and
most furious of the evening. Tireless
Fittingly, Miller's twin brothers
opened the show with two sets of
driving, emphatic music by their
vehicle, The Other Band. The band
relies a bit too much on guitar gim-
mickry, but the hard rhythmic base of
the music allows for extensive and of-
ten inventive experimentation by
whichever twin happens to be playing
lead (they switched guitars - bass and
electric - between sets). Like MOB,
the vocalists were often barely audible,
but somehow it didn't seem to matter.
375 N. MAPLE 769-1300
Discount Matinees $2.00
Before 6:00. Tuesday $1.00
Except for "Raiders"
an oeu-tmm owere
frm the creatr of.
j, l~ of the
No matinees Price or Tuesday $1.00
Price for this feature
CLASH OF 12:30
Forged by a god-
Found by a King. 1:30
EXCAIBUl , 7:15
0 ® '' 9:40

Daily Photo by JACKIE BELL
THIS Roger Miller never wrote any big hits like "King of the Road," but he
has had limited - but well-deserved - success with Mission of Burma. Here
he leads them through one of their cataclysmically catchy songs.



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