Wenesday, July;2, 1997-t-ThetMicgan Daily,- 5
Island Festival offers jazz, zydeco, fun in the sun
By James Miller the universe meant something.
Daily Arts Writer But this is unfair. After all, we're not
Music festivals are risky proposi- talking about H.O.R.D.E here, this is
tions. They seem like a great idea at Frog Island. Frog Island is the some-
first. You pay the same price as a reg- what less high-powered cousin of the
ular ticket and you get to see several famous Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz
different bands and you feel like the Festival, although not by much. The A2
smart concert shopper. festival concentrates mainly on bring-
And then some- ing in a bunch of
time around the big names, while
third band you R E V I E W Frog Island has
don't like you real- Frog Island been content to
ize that you've been Festival put on shows
there for five hours . with a more
and are I) tired of Frog Island Park, Ypsilanti relaxed, summer
dodging Frisbees, June 20 and 21, 1997 barbecue atmos-
2) sick of paying phere, featuring
$2.75 for a Coke, and 3) no longer more zydeco and world music.
.interested in the bra-less, antedilu- The lead-off group, Charlie Gabriel
vian gray armpit-haired granola in and the New Orleans Jazz Band, was
front of you sifting through her NPR decent. Gabriel himself played compe-
tote bag and talking about how this tent and entertaining (if not electrify-
festival was only cool back in the ing) tenor and clarinet. The same can-
early '70s when dope was cheap and not be said for his trombone and piano
players, both of which exhibited a stun-
ning ignorance of New Orleans' Dixie
style. The trumpet player was by far the
standout, and the only player in the
group who seemed to really have a grip
on the Crescent City's rhythmic and
melodic fire. Overall, it was a band
that failed to live up to its name.
Next on the bill was Rosie Ledet and
the Zydeco Playboys. For those who
don't know, zydeco is the New Orleans
equivilent to rockabilly, with a bouncy,
ebullient feel and a prominent accor-
dion providing the dominant color.
Unless you listen to a lot of it and
become a real expert, most zydeco
will sound the same to the average
listener and pretty much anyone who
is not in a zydeco band. Thus the set
had that feeling of "God, are they
playing that song, again?" This had
the unfortunate double effect of
dampening the crowd's appetite for
Chubby Carrier, the closer and fellow
zydeco artist. New Orleans form of melody, counter-
For my money, the main event was the melody, solo to one solo to unison
Dirty Dozen Brass Band. From New playing so seamlessly that amazement
Orleans, DDBB offers old-time, "hot" at the musicianship is second only to
jazz as it was originally played. That is, the desire to start dancing like a ghoul
with a bass drummer, snare drummer at a fat man's funeral.
and a sousa- As is usually
phone providing the case with
the bass line. In A few minor great live bands,
concert, howev- , ,., the only glaring
er, the group irritations aside, a problem was the
had a drum set shortness of the
and-electric key- good tim e was had set, but that la
board. typically the case
And a stun- yall with festivals.
ning spectacle When the
it was. The weather behaves
horn players itself, the bands
spent the entire night either playing are good and the bill is varied, Frog
wild, outrageous sousaphone bass Island is a great summertime institu-
work, playing tutti melody lines, or a tion. A few minor irritations aside, a
little bit of both. One of the things that good time was had by all, soaking
makes DDBB so exciting to hear is our feet in the transplanted
that they can shift from the traditional Mississippi loam.
Continued from Page 14
though Woo's trademark slow-motion
camera work is laughably excessive,
thus allowing Hong Kong import Woo
("Broken Arrow") to create his defini-
tive American film - an operatic mix
of mass destruction, humor, pathos and
The greatest example of Woo's
artistry with this mixture is one of
many actual Archer-Troy face-offs that
takes place in Troy's old apartment,
through the eyes of a child listening to
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow," bul-
*lets flying just as the bluebirds do.
Backed by songs from INXS and
Tricky, the high-decibel demolition con-
trasts strongly with the film's emphasis completely vapid - a tremendous feat
on family values, producing strong and in these intellectually challenged days.
strangely touching supporting perfor- As Travolta and Cage do the trading
mances from Joan Allen as understand- places tango, they face off, take their
ably confused faces off, face off
wife Eve; Gina again and engage in
Gershon as Woo, Travolta and some adventures
Troy's not-a- thatI tdear your face
door m at Cage have MadeO off, so dot't face off
moll/doting sin- Itwith the box office
gle mom Sasha; 'Face' n- h- attendant - just
and Alessandro' . buy the damn ticket.
Nivola as Troy's best action movie it won't make
schizoid brother MLyou as cool as
Pollux. of the Y e Travolta or even as
With such cool as Cage, but it
smart support, Woo, Travolta and Cage will give you the rare pleasure of actu-
have made "Face/Off" the best action ally serving up some acting with your
movie of the year that isn't a sequel or hearty helping of action.
READ. . -------
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