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June 01, 2004 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2004-06-01

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2004 - 19

April 2, 2004
By Alex Wolsky
Daily Arts Writer
Music R EVI EW * * *
"It's just Halloween - I've got my Bob Dylan
mask on, I'm masquerading."
Bob Dylan was always an enigma. On October
31, 1964, to an adoring crowd of faithful follow-
ers, Dylan performed at New
York City's most prestigious Bob Dylan
venue at the time, Philhar-
monic Hall. The year had Bootleg
been tumultuous for the folk Series 6:
icon: His wife had left him Concert at
and he had just completed his Philharmonic
first national tour, only to Hall
return home disenchanted in Columbia
folk music and preparing to
make a sea change into the world of rock 'n' roll.
The crowd that attended the performance had
the highest expectations for its young poet laure-
ate. As opposed to the figure he would become in
later years, Dylan was still seen as the voice of the
civil rights, disarmament and anti-war movements Heh heh. Alright
in America - an honorable voice of protest.
Bootleg Series 6: Concert at Philharmonic
Hall is, thus, more essential than it is perfect. In
fact, its imperfections show the openness and
comfort with his audience and youth of Dylan B
more than anything. He appears to be slightly ine-
briated, forgetting lines, dropping his guitar pick personal, introve
twice (once he stops to pick it up and the other he The solo Dyl
just continues on without it) and often bursts out tions of favori
in laughter without reason. He appears, on the Changin" and "
outside, comfortable with the home crowd after a political songs
long year of touring. Conversely, he also seems to Blues," "Who K
be preoccupied with making the turn into more Lonesome Deat

firmly placed in the future.
At the time, nobody, including Dylan, knew
how much the next year would change him, and
that tension surrounds Series 6. In some respect,
Dylan had already made his move by the time he
walked out into the Philharmonic that night. His
Another Side of Bob Dylan had been released five
months earlier and included "My Back Pages,"
which directly disowned the moral absolutes of
the folk and political scenes that had already
staked a claim to his writing.
But in another respect, Dylan seemed tentative
about progressing in that direction. He played a
handful of new songs on Series 6 and introduced
them all ad interim or with ironic put-ons, as if he
couldn't quite fix his own intentions, or he doesn't
want to reveal them or how they will affect the
relationship with his followers.
"Gates of Eden," he said, is "a sacrilegious lull-
aby in D Minor" and "a love song," while the
dour "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" is "a
very funny song." The tenor of his comment
about wearing a mask, which follows "Gates of
Eden," is almost comforting in this context. He
seemed to be reassuring the audience that they
could still see him as the person they wanted -
for now.
In this context, it's almost unfathomable to
think that 10 months after Series 6 was per-
formed, Dylan would release both Bringing It All
Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited. Both
would explode into the folk scene and forever
change the rock 'n' roll aesthetic. Some of
Dylan's fans would come along with his move to
rock; many would denounce him as a Judas, and
the atmosphere on Series 6 seems, thus, more
poignant than it did at first glance. It's a snapshot
of Dylan's storied early years at their peak, one
idyllic last show before the storm.

HALCYON DAYS
OOTLEG 6 EPITOMIZES EXCELLENCE
rted songwriting. songs ("Talkin' World War III Blues"). The crowd
an played stark, powerful rendi- roared when Dylan brought out Joan Baez, the
tes ("The Times They Are A- most socially active musician of the time, to
Don't Think Twice, It's Alright"), accompany him on four songs, including the anti-
("Talkin' John Birch Paranoid war diatribe "With God on Our Side." However
Killed Davey Moore?" and "The what makes Series 6 special is the fact that Dylan,
h of Hattie Carroll") and protest while running through these songs, had one foot

The Streets bring hot new twist to rap with Grand

May 24,2004
By Joel Hoard
Daily Arts Writer
On his 2002 debut, Original
Pirate Material,
British DJ/rapper The Streets
Mike Skinner
(a.k.a. The
Streets) relied on A Grand Don't
a dark, brooding Come for Free
sound to paint a Vice/Atlantic
picture of the
bleak urban
wasteland he called home. It exuded
the cocky cockney's cheeky, in-

your-face attitude. It was also the
first hip-hop release from Britain to
capture the attention of Stateside
listeners.
While Skinner's confidence, along
with his superb production skills and
quirky rap style, instantly endeared
the MC to many fans, his bravura
seemed like a limitation, making the
Streets' debut sound flat at times.
Skinner corrects the problem on
The Streets' sprawling follow-up, A
Grand Don 't Come for Free. The
album encompasses a wider variety
of sounds and emotions, showcasing
a gentler, quietly confident Skinner.
Serene tracks such as the boy-
meets-girl tale "Could Well Be In,"

the mellow love song "Wouldn't
Have It Any Other Way" and the
break-up ballad "Dry Your Eyes,"
Skinner's best song to date, are the
album's high points.
"Dry Your Eyes" in particular
shows Skinner's soft, sweet side with
simple, beautiful production includ-
ing strings and acoustic guitar as
well as soft-hearted, unassuming
lyrics such as "I can't imagine my
life without you and me / There's
things I can't imagine doing, things I
can't imagine seeing / It weren't
supposed to be easy, surely / Please,
please, I'm begging, please."
In terms of production, even A
Grand's more raucous tracks show a

more mature Skinner. "Fit But You
Know It" takes rap-rock to an unex-
plored level, combining a jagged
garage rock guitar riff and pounding
one-two drumming with humorous
lyrics chronicling Mike's evening on
the prowl at a nightclub. "I'm not
trying to pull you," he sings. "Even
though I would like to / I think you
are really fit / You're fit, but don't
you really know it."
As with Original Pirate Material,
Skinner's rapping on A Grand can be
off-putting for unsuspecting listen-
ers. His thick accent and quirky
rhymes make for a distinctive style
that often sounds more like spoken
word than traditional rapping. But

once patient listeners have cleared
the hurdle of simply getting used to
Skinner's style, they will be treated
to one of the year's best records.

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