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May 24, 1985 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1985-05-24

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, May 24, 1985 - Page 9

The Three O'Clock brings its
brand of '60s-ish pop to Detroit's
St. Andrew's Hall Saturday night.
Tickets are general admission,
$7.75 through Ticket World
outlets, or $8 at the door, which
will open at 9p.m.
The Three O'Clock-
Arrive Without Travelling
There aren't many bands whose
recorded output, however small, you -
can call flawless. But you could say
that about California's psychedelic
whimsey-pop kings The Three"
O'Clock, from their '82 debut EP
Baroque Hoedown through the sub-
sequent '83 album 16 Tambourines.
The latter especially is a delirium of
enigmatic, fey but uncloying
Beatlesque pop, a revisited magical
mystery tour through various paisley
landscapes, as bright as a room of
Peter Max wallpaper and as perfectly.
Mingled dread and hope strikes in
the heart of the modern music fan
when a fave indie-label artist is The Three O'Clock is supporting their latest album, 'Arrive Without
signed to a major label - it's not so Travelling' with a tour stop at St. Andrew's in Detroit Saturday night.
much anxiousness over the toll of
sudden fame (though this too can get
annoying, when the band you saw last played, and somehow captures elements that made their records
year at Joe's Star Lounge is charging none of their essential fire. What one special, resulting in a product that
$13.50 at the Michigan the next) as fears with bands like the Three alienates the cult loyalists and fails to
fear that the Mysterious Something O'Clock (or the Replacements, who seduce the invited masses.
will happen to the band. You know just got signed to Sire) is that some That sort of thing happens,
what I mean. It's roughly equivalent well-meaning producer or exec will, somewhat, on Arrive Without
to what happens when a great live in the hope of making the band's Travelling, the Three O'Clock's debut
band goes into the studio and records music more palatable for a wider on I.R.S. It's not a negligible effort, to
a disc that is well produced and audience, neatly screw up exactly the be sure, and there are things of great
Meat Puppets: Short and

charm on it; but it leaves behind the pleasant, but melodically nondescript,
magically clear retro-pop textures of with Satanic Majesties weak parody
the earlier records without moving on the mock-middle-eastern "Simon
clearly in a new direction. Produced in the Park" and cheerful nothing-
by Mike Hedges and recorded, oddly, muchness elsewhere.
in West Germany, it's a likeable LP
that seems to be in search of a great On the other hand, the good-to-near-
one. Some hard-to-pinpoint but great songs are here in large enough
definite purity has been chucked in number to make one feel mean for
favor of conventionally bigger guitar carping, even if the suspicion lingers
riffs, thumpin'-in-yer-ear beats, sim- that they would have been better off
pler synth textures. One can't in the production setting of the band's
begrudge the Three O'Clock to make previous days. Despite unnecessarily
a concerted move into the '80s after bloated guitar and drums, "Each and
getting tagged (and dismissed) with a Every Lonely Heart" is an
paisley-flyweights label by some ob- irresistible pop construction, and,
servers who either preferred the starting off with a grand church
grungier garage side of '60s organ effect, "Mrs. Green" is equally
revivalism or disliked the whole gorgeous, with lyrics that are much
trend, but the effect here is simply to move intriguing than most here. The
make them sound more ordinary than best track of all is "The Girl With the
before. (Not that they sounded so Guitar," which comes closest to
weird to begin with, really.) The recapturing the crystalline pop
problem is that while before they clarity of Baroque Hoedown and 16
skipped around like bantam boxers, Tambourines. A sole acoustic guitar
now they're trying to rock while is ideal accompaniment for Quercio's
writing essentially the same hooky plaintive vocal, soon joined by an ac-
super-bubblegum songs as before. cordion and then briefly by bass and
Hence one gets a bewildering array of drums in a tune that sounds like Cat
effects, like the orchestral strings and Stevens, if anything, and proves that
stock jam-out guitar solo the turn the it is perfectly OK to sound like Cat
irresistably winsome courtship song Stevens.
"Hand in Hand" into a minor case of
schizophrenia. Moderately disappointing, Arrive
The tendency toward a rockier Without Travelling finds the Three
sound leaves Michael Quercio's O'Clock, conversely, doing a lot of
always perilously breathy, high voice travelling without quite arriving
sounding at times incongrous and at anywhere specific. It's good stuff but
worst annoying in its munchkin one expects more from a band that's
British-pop affectations. And it must already delivered more than the
be admitted that the songs here aren't usual normal amount of greatness.
all as great as one expects (though
they might have sounded like it on 16 -Dennis Harvey
Tambourines. Nearly all of side two is

sweet crse -

By Beth Fertig
band possessed. Playing as
though their bodies had become one
with their instruments, this Phoenix-
based trio thrilled and amazed their
audience at Detroit's Liedernacht,
Wednesday night.
The show was opened by Detroit
natives, The Sleep - a terrifically
tight hardcore act. One of the best
things about The Sleep was their lead
singer, who captivated the audience
as she dramatically beat on an
aluminum pie pan. Original and fun,
they were marred only by soun-
dmixing that was so loud that it
seemed to keep some audience mem-
bers out of the room.
When the Meatpuppets took the
stage, it was close to 1 a.m. The room
became packed with people; and as
V PA N 62-3149
CER LD 5An 5AboSI 48104

sor- as the band began to play, one
knew he/she had become witness to
an extraordinary musical event.
Any hardcore expectations among
the audience were quickly dispelled
as the band launched into several
tracks from the new album, Up On the
Sun, which represents a complete
break from the band's past
association with that musical style.
Instead, their revved-up coun-
try/western playing enthralled the
audience-none of whom even dared
to slam dance.
Guitarist/vocalist Curt Kirkwood
awed his listeners with lead work that
gave center stage to the man's
amazing speed and dexterity. A self-
taught guitarist, one could tell Kirk-
wood knew his instrument inside and
out, maintaining full control at all

times. Unfortunately, drowi
his soulful singing.
Meanwhile, over towards
Kirkwood's brother Chris had
fused to his bass, playing it a
he were bronco-busting. As d
Derrick Bostrom pounded
steady beat, the brothers thr
to a frenzy that would mak
Blair look catatonic. It is di
believe that all of the string
on their respective instrumen
Obsessed with their music,
broke from playing long enot
for guitarist Kirkwood to wi
towards the audience scr
"Elvis, are you out there?!"
One of the evening's bestr
was "Maiden's Milk" from
album. As this rambling lit)
whirled away, the two Ki

ning out whistled frantically along. Later that CourseI
night, a strobe light was added, How to li
the left, providing a way-out effect that affordab
become enhanced the band's physicalization bfdab]
s though of urgent musical energy. The whole budget.
rummer room began to take on an eerie, Offere
I out a possessed atmosphere. Full seas
ashed in- Regretfully, the management for- openings
e Linda ced the Meatpuppets to stop playing summer:
fficult to at 2 a.m. after one hour on stage. Instruct
s stayed Kirkwood remarked afterwards that Randy Pi
ts. he felt somewhat cheated by the 665-2199
the band delays which had caused this: as the Office H
ugh only band can usually play for two hours or 10:30-5F
rithe out so. He also commepted on the height (Mr. Picku
eaming, of the stage, which he felt prevented tutoringb
himself and the band from interacting
numbers with the audience on a more personal Course Z
the new level. The Tiffa
tle piece The Colo
rkwoods -HIRTThe Mat
316 E
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