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June 16, 2003 - Image 9

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-06-16

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www.michigandaily.com A R T S

MONDAY
JUNE 16, 2003 .

Radiohead
back on top
with Hail to
the Thief
By Alex Wolsky
Daily Arts Writer
'Music REVI EW *
Radiohead's long-awaited, highly-
anticipated follow-up to the experi-
mental, extremely dystopian Kid A
sessions has finally arrived. Hail to
the Thief is a return to their guitar-
laden roots or, as Thom Yorke put it,
"OK Computer Part Two." But he's
dead wrong in many aspects; for
every part it embodies outward rock,
it embodies the same inward experi-
mentation that helped define the
band's sound since "OK Computer
Part One."
In the past, Radiohead has
explored the inner-workings of rock
music, redefin-_
ing sonic Radiohead
imagery while
writing songs of Hail to l
desolation, para- theThieff
noia and just the Capitol Records
overall creeps.
And where Kid
A and Amnesiac were highly intro-
verted, rhythmically-driven works,
Hail to the Thief is a proper return to
normalcy of rock song composition
(or as close as they can really get).
The lyrics are a conglomeration of
the fear and paranoia that have
grown within the emerging culture
of war and terrorism. On "Sit Down.
Stand Up."Yorke sings that, "We can
wipe you out anytime." Yet Thom
has become a father, and his writing
seamlessly intertwines his adoration
for his son with his fears of the out-
side world. On "Sail to the Moon"
he writes, "Maybe you'll be presi-

A PERFECT NIGHT
ROCK LEGEND Lou REED PLAYS ST. ANDY'S

dent / But know right from wrong."
And while Thom croons out front,
the men behind him are crafting a
musical melee of sound. A combina-
tion of their past efforts more so
than a new experiment, Hail to the
Thief isn't "OK Computer Part Two"
in any shape or form. While being
more guitar-focused and song driven
than KidA or Amnesiac, it's still got
some remnants of experimentation
from those respective sessions.
However, now instead of experimen-
tation, the band seems completely
comfortable integrating electronic
music into their rock mold.
And while it's instantly more
accessible than their last two proj-
ects, Hail to the Thief loses the
miniscule things that make an
album completely engrossing. The
constant nature of Kid A and the
progressive rock of OK Computer
are never reached here at all. While
it seems that they've attempted to
strike a balance between their elec-
tronic, experimental side and their
rockin' side, they lose themselves
trying to combine them best and
find themselves lost in limbo
between the two.
Hail to the Thief sounds exactly
like expected, and that's the problem.
The combination of rock and experi-
mentation creates a sense of over-
compensation which reminds us of
why OK Computer and Kid A were
so great: they were both so pure.
Hail to the Thiefs attempt to com-
bine the two strips the emotion and
beauty the two predecessors hold.

By Stove Cotner
Daily Arts Writer
Something about smoky, sweat-
drenched, standing-room-only St.
Andrew's Hall brought out the best in
Lou Reed on Saturday night. Bassist
and Detroit native Fernando Saunders
had insisted they play at the small
downtown venue for what was billed
as "an intimate evening with Lou
Reed." The fans did not disappoint
Lou, and he responded with a night
of terrifyingly beautiful music.
The age- and gender-diverse crowd
endured nearly two hours of waiting
inside St. Andrew's, staring at a lame
cello and wondering where the drum
kit could be. Lou finally swaggered
onstage around 9 pm, looking tired
and shy, and broke the ice with the
shuffling intro of "Sweet Jane" and a
lecture on how to make a career out If El%
of three chords - the secret, he said, solt
is in the "hop." sho
With that, the crowd was in his met
hands. They cheered at every song, sin1
every solo, every smart aside and and
every wink. When he wanted it reca
quiet for "Vanishing Act," he sang
motioned "cut" across his neck, and The
the drunks calmed down. When fans held
got excited over "Dirty Blvd.," he The
stopped in mid-song and urged them nigh
with a beckoning hand, drawing turt
louder cheers from everyone. A high
point of the night came when a man
from the balcony shouted, "Lou
Reed, you're the rock and roll ani-
mal," and Lou paused before giving
something between a curtsy and a
bow, looking dignified but playful
like a smiling Zen Master. The
crowd erupted in approval. Lou is a
genius of the gesture and a master-
ful orchestrator of those in front of
him and at his side.
All of the band members had their
moments. The jolly piano sound of
Mike Rathke's Z-Guitar drew laughs
during "Small Town." Fernando
broke the land speed record for bass

UeamesyeoC,,mertero.
vis had made It to 1983...
os on "The Last Shot" as Lou screeching beast for two minutes in
tk his head in comic bewilder- "Venus in Furs." Lou's own distort-
nt. And Anthony, a cherubic ed guitar solos came close to the
ger whose pained expressions same intensity.
wrist-wrenching tremors In their unbounded performances,
alled something of Joe Cocker, the players conveyed a relationship
g pure notes in a woman's range. to sound that went beyond mastery
crowd cheered each time he or virtuosity, to the point where they
[the high note in "Candy Says." swam and bathed in it, and occa-
most enthralling moment of the sionally came up gasping, telling us
ht came when Jane Scarpantoni what they saw in the deep end. The
ned her cello into a searing, See LOU REED, Page 10

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