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June 02, 2003 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-06-02

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9A - Tho Mirhidan Maiki

- Orinnt 4inn Grlitinn 7(lflQ

tit i ne nnrcnigan ua11Y - urieniation taition 1uuj

Old hippie
drops new LP
By Alyssa Kalata
For the Daily
MUSIC REVI EW ***-1
After nearly two decades of head-
ing the jam-band behemoth Phish,
Trey Anastasio hasn't slowed down
one bit. On the ambitious live solo LP
Plasma, Anastasio and his nine-piece
stay true to the exploratory and
freeform nature of Phish at their best,
while venturing down new paths
instrumentally through the use of a
five-piece horn section and three-
man rhythm section.
The first disc opens with the ener-
getic "Curlew's Call," fueled by
diverse Afro-
C u b an o.
rhythms and a Trey Anastasiol
percussion solo Plasma j
that eclipses Elektra Records
Anastasio 's
preceding guitar solo. The opening
track is followed by "Plasma," a song
that touches on the jazzier side of
Anastasio's abilities. Immediately
following is "Magilla," an older Phish
favorite that features a powerful brass
arrangement that adds a musical layer
not present on the original version.
The majority of the first disc stays
consistent with the strong start of the
opening tracks. "Mozambique," the
standout track, showcases both the
abilities of the band, through a lively
call-and-response performance by
the brass section and of Anastasio's

RTS
ighty Wind' a folkin' good time

4

guitar abilities in the Santana-like
riffs spread throughout the song.
Also of note is "Small Axe," an
instrumental interpretation of a song
by Bob Marley.
Although less musically adventur-
ous, Plasma's second disc still
remains a worthwhile listen. "Night
Speaks to a Woman," the sole track
on Plasma drawn from Anastasio's
self-titled debut, features a coarse,
catchy lead guitar line and highlights
Anastasio's masterful control of
tempo. Similar to "Magilla," the clos-
ing track, "Sand," also builds on pre-
vious Phish performances through
the addition of distorted guitar not
prominent in earlier versions.
Drawing from jazz, reggae, swing,
African and Cuban influences,
Anastasio creates a unique musical
montage, just in time for warmer
weather. As Anastasio states in
"Curlew's Call," "The message that I
get from spring / Is that a change can
surely bring / A break from the sullen
winter skies." Through danceable
rhythms and instrumental experimen-
tation, Plasma makes a good accom-
paniment to the change in mood.

By Joel M. Hoard
Daily Arts Editor
VEREVIEW
With hard rock music, community
theater and dog shows already tack-
led, Christopher Guest and his loyal
improv troupe turn their satirical eye
on yet another American institution:
'60s folk music. Though not as out-
right funny as Guest's previous
efforts, "A Mighty Wind" is some of
the crew's smartest and most enjoy-
able work to date. From the eerily
authentic folk tunes to the nuanced
performances, Guest et al. are at the
top of their game.
Much of the film focuses on sepa-
rated folk duo Mitch and Mickey
(Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara).
Levy turns in perhaps the best per-
formance of his life as the drugged-up
and spaced-out Mitch Cohen; he stares
out wide-eyed from under a salt-and-
pepper mop, using
every square foot A Mighty
of his bushy eye- Wind
brows. Wind
The original At Quality 16,
Spinal Tap trio ShState Theaterhe
(Guest, Michael
McKean and Wamer Bros.
Harry Shearer)
are also featured prominently as the
squeaky clean Folksmen, a group who
found success in the '60s with albums
like Ramblin', Hitchin' and Wishin'.
Rounding out the ensemble are the
New Main Street Singers. Led by
Terry Bohner (John Michael Higgins),

4

4

The bigger the cushion, the sweeter the p
along with his reformed porn star wife
Laurie (Jane Lynch) and gutterpunk-
turned-clean-cut-folkie Sissy Knox
(Parker Posey), they are a rebirth of
the original folk "neuftet."
But it is Fred Willard who domi-
nates the group's scenes as onetime
sitcom star and current Singers' man-
ager Mike LaFontaine, again showing
why he is arguably the funniest
human being alive. Willard once
again proves to have the quickest wit
of the cast, delivering his trademark
one-liners with a buoyant laugh and
stupid grin.
Like "Spinal Tap" and "Waiting for
Guffman" before it, "A Mighty Wind"

features cast-written music through-
out. Tunes like the Folksmen's "Old
Joe's Place" and Mitch and Mickey's
"A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow"
capture the sound and mood of '60s
folk perfectly and are joys in and of
themselves.
Perhaps most admirable about "A
Mighty Wind" - and any other
Christopher Guest picture for that
matter - is the attitude the cast takes
toward its characters. Sure, they're
funny send-ups of stereotypes, but it's
clear that they feel a warm affection
for their characters that saves the film
from appearing meanspirited and
makes it succeed.

1 ..

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My name is Jesse and
I'm a student at U-M.

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