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October 04, 1995 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-10-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

-m ~V MIfr~ d - w

Strange days Indeed
Free movie alert! Free movie alert! This movie stars the scrun-diddly-
umptious Ralph Fiennes, cool Angela Bassett and wacky Juliette Lewis;
it's about how violence is the the drug of the future. Bassett's
character in the movie is called "Mace" Mason, and Lewis sings a PJ
Harvey song as well. How very ... strange. It's at the Michigan Theater
at 7 p.m and it's free if you're a U-M student!


Page 5
October 4, 1995


- W m w

Devil In A Blue Dress'is one giant mess


By Kelly Xintarls
For the Daily
Instead of "Devil in a Blue Dress,"
a more fitting title for this movie
would have been "Denzel in a Big
In a reprise of his "Pelican Brief'
detective role, Denzel Washington
plays Ezekiel "Easy" Rollins, a gutsy
war veteran trying to make a living in
1948 Los Angeles.
Faced with racial discrimination at
his last job, Rollins decides to accept
an offer from a shady character named
Allbright. For a $100 cash advance,
Rollins must find the whereabouts of
a Miss Daphne Monet (Jennifer
Beals), hence the film's relatively
cheesy title.
Once he starts to track the mysteri-
ous woman, a couple of people linked
to her turn up dead. Rollins gets into
even more of a bind when some abu-
sive policemen try to pin the murders
on him. When the winner and loser of
the mayoral election find out who
Rollins is searching for, everyone
suddenly wants to find Monet.


Even with his trigger-happy friend
Miles along for the ride, Rollins finds
himself in a Catch-22 - both the
gangsters and the police consider his
life expendable.
When Monet finally appears in
her infamous blue dress (which is
really nothing to speak of), the de-
tails of blackmail and power
Devil In A
Blue Dress
Directed by Carl Franklin
with Denzel Washington and
Jennifer Beals
At Briarwood and Showcase
struggles emerge and Rollins real-
izes why everyone wants to find
In depicting an honest man who
must resort to life-threatening en-

deavors for money, director Carl
Franklin presents a world where
everyone must fend for him or her-
self. Rollins highlights this when
he says, "Everyone was trying to
piss on my head and then tell me it
was rain." Throughout the film,
people use each other for their own
ends, and Rollins is the only one
who escapes trouble unscathed.
Beals succeeds in a half-hearted
portrayal of Monet, a woman with a
secret who really just wants to be
Even Washington's talents can-
not save the film from mediocrity.
Clearly intended as a vehicle for
Washington, the film is often stop-
and-go, often halted by a weak
script. Some marginal characters,
such as a tree-hacking man in
Rollins's neighborhood, seem to be
thrown in for good measure.
Although thejazzy late-1940s city
life gleams off the screen through
the clothes and cars, most of the
scenes are too time-worn to be called

original. People give Rollins a drink
and some clues more times than
Secret Agent 007 in the all the James
Bond films put together.
Based on a book by Walter
Mosley, "Devil in a Blue Dress"
just does not translate very well
onto film. Although Washington's
voice-overs exist to supplement the
simple character development, they
quickly become annoying. Some-
times the glimpses inside Rollins's
head provide a chuckle or two, but
most of the time they fall flat. At
one point, Washington says, "I felt
the pictures in my pocket like a
cigarette burn."
When all the plot lines unravel,
they reveal a disappointing lack of
substance. Washington's closing
commentary about the importance
of friends seems like a last-ditch
effort to muster up a message for
the whole film. In the end, you might
ask yourself why the talented Wash-
ington took on this poor role. Maybe
the devil made him do it.

OK, so this isn't a photo from 'Devil In A Blue Dress,' but isn't Denzel foxy?

Edwin McCain plays their stuff at the Blind Pig

Wakko, Yakko and
Animaniacs Variety Pack
Kid Rhino/Warner Bros. Records
One of the lowest points of my life
occurred at the age of 15 when I came to
realize that my interest in the world of
cartoons had waned to practically noth-
ingness. No longer did the antics of
Tom trying to eat Jerry (even though I
knew he never would) or the sci-fi thrill
of watching He-Man combat Skeletor
(even though I knew he'd always win).
Thanks to Warner Bros. creations
like "Tiny Toons" and "Animaniacs"
many older folks have begun to recap-
ture a half-hour worth of youth marvel-
ingonce again at the pun-filled zaniness
of the monkey/mouse/dog/squirrel
whatchamacallits Wakko, Yakko and
Dot, not to mention the rodent duo
Pinky and The Brain and Skippy Squir-
rel and his grumpy Aunt Slappy. Now
you can get even more of that youthful
feeling back because Kid Rhino has
compiled for your listening pleasure
some "Animaniacs" tunes that anyone
can enjoy. From "Dot's Song" to
Yakko's attempt to sing "All the Words
in the English Language" to "Wakko's
Two Note Song," humorous, uplifting
beats are the order for the day when this
16-cut LP is popped into the CD player.
Even more interesting is the fact that
in listening to many of the songs a little
learning will also occur. Before listen-
ing to "The Presidents," I knew maybe
five of them. Now, after driving my
roommate batty playing that one song
on repeat, I know at least 10 U.S. presi-
dents now. Yakko even has the power
to make mathematics interesting in
"Multiplication," and the discussion of
what goes on behind the scenes in Hol-
lywood in "Variety Speak" will strike
you as much with its honesty as with its
"Animaniacs Variety Pack" is an ul-
timate stress buster. It's a funny re-
minder that sometimes a little craziness
is just what we need in order to stay
-Eugene Bowen
The Chemical
E&it Planet Dust
Yeah! Nothing like 11 tracks of high

energy dance-type music with enough
darkness and small enough high-end
sound to make a savory burger of a CD.
The Chemical Brothers prove that some
wicked guitar is all you need to put over
some insipid synth sounds to make it a
thing of beauty.
The first track, "Leave Home" is five
and one half minutes long, but it is
entertaining enough that you've barely
noticed it was there and wouldbe sorry
that it was over if the next track wasn't
as good. "Exit Planet Dust" is track
after track of songs that skate the line
between being stupidly electronic and
being non-electronic music while pull-
ing it off beautifully.
The menacing goodness of the CD
slows down a bit around "Chico's
Groove," but hey, that's alright. It's
good to mellow out once in awhile. All
together, the mostly vocal-less songs
are some of the best whatever kind of
music this is you could ask for.
- Ted Watts
Various Artists
Soul Hits of the '70s (vol. 11-
Rhino Records
Adding to an already heavenly bloated
collection of Black music of the 1970s,
Rhino Records has added five new com-
pilations of 60 songs to make that deci-
sion of which song to play next agoniz-
ingly fun. Almost any label that can be
attached to a song will apply to one of
these cuts. Up-tempo (O'Jays' "Love
Train" and B.T. Express' "Do It"), laid-
back (Gladys Knight & The Pips' "Mid-
night Train to Georgia" and The Staple
Singers' "Let's Do It Again"), dance(Kool
& The Gang's "Jungle Boogie" and Fred
Wesley &TheJ.B.s'"Doing Itto Death")
and love songs (Minnie Riperton's
"Lovin' You" and Major Harrs' "Love
Won't Let Me Wait"), "Soul Hits" has
something for everybody.
The songs chosen are part of a '70s
legacy of Black performance at its finest.
One would be hard pressed to try and find
anything as well-roundedly inclusive as
"Soul Hits." Featuring the works of un-
forgettableperformers like Shirley Brown,
The Pointer Sisters, The Three Degrees,
The Miracles, Rufus and Millie Jackson,
these five CDs could never be praised in
their fullest in a music review; they are
more deserving of a Ph.D. thesis.
- Eugene Bowen
See RECORDS page 8

By Maureen Sirhal
Daily Staff Reporter
You have not heard of this band.
It's OK, really. They don't mind. But
you should get to know them..
Edwin McCain is used to the ano-
nymity. Until recently, that is. With a
highly publized tour as the opening
band for Hootie and the Blowfish,
Edwin McCain is in the spotlight, not
for their connection to Hootie but
rather their own unique blend of
Southern soul and the jazzy appeal
that has made groups like the Dave
Matthews Band so popular.
This soulful music is a definite de-
parture from the era of Guns 'n' Roses
and even Pearl Jam. The sound has
caught on in the South and has been
emerging steadily in other regions of
the country.
Maybe it's the true-to-life lyrics
that speak to many listeners. Maybe
it's the simplicity behind their music.
Whatever the reason, Edwin McCain
blends perfectly with this new trend
in music.
Band leader and lead vocalist Edwin
McCain started playing acoustic gui-
tar before releasing his first album in
1993, "Solitude."
After one semester at the Univer-
sity of South Carolina before being
kicked out, the former SAE pledge
began playing in bars and clubs.
It was three years ago that saxman
and keyboardist Craig Shields hooked
up with McCain. Shields is a graduate
of West Virigina University. His un-
usual approach to the saxophone con-
tributes to the band's eclectic sound.
Drummer T.J. Hall joined two years
ago. Hall was friends with Shields dur-
ing their years at West Virginia. Bassist
Scott Banevich is the newcomer, hav-
ing joined only six months ago, but his
credits included playing with ex-Judas
Priest drummer Scott Travis.

With the intense popularity of
Hootie and the Blowfish, Edwin
McCain took the opportunity to be-
come more recognized. It isthat rec-
ognition that helped bring them to
Atlantic Records where their debut
album, "Honor Among Thieves," was
Edwin admits that recognition as
the opening band for the Blowfish has
helped tremendously. However, the
band's own talent has been the real
lifeboat in helping them stay afloat in
the ocean of band competition.
"Sure, (Darius Rucker) has helped.
Where:Blind Pig
When: Tonight
Tickets: $6 in advance
Doors open at 9:30 p.m.
We used to play together in clubs,"
explains Edwin. "All of a sudden
we've been pushed into the public
Despite all the temptations of fame
and money, Edwin stresses that he
and the band try to keep their friend-
ship with the Blowfish separate from
the business of their careers.
Although they have been hailed as
a "cross between Dave Matthews and
Hootie and the Blowfish," Edwin
McCain perfers to call their sound
"acoustical grit."
"(Our music) has the grit of guitar
and the soulfulness of Motown,"
Edwin says. "The accoustic inference
of folk tells a story."
In listening to the songs offthe"Honor
Among Thieves" album, it isn't hard to
find the connection to bands like Dave
Matthews or even Blues Traveler.
"Jesters, Dreamers and Theives" is
one track that definitely hints at some
similarity. Yet the songs, like the rest of

the album, remain unique in that they
blend a different twang into the music.
For this particular song, McCain mixes
New Orleans jazz into vibrant pop.
On a different side, the song"3 A.M.,"
leans toward a folkier sound with some
influences that remind one of Simon
and Garfunkel.
McCain's biggest influence was
acoustic performer David Wilcox. The
poetry and lyrical strength of Wilcox's
perfomances inspired McCain to be-
come more ofa songwriter than a player.
"(Wilcox) is truly amazing songwriter
and storyteller and raiser of conscious-
ness," MaCain says.
Musically, McCain follows the likes
of Maurice White, Jeffrey Gain and
Motown players.
The band tours 327 days a year.
Money and fame is not what motivates
McCain to perform on such a grueling
"It is what I love to do," McCain
stresses. "it is part of being fulfilled.
I am always working toward some-
thing. It is not actually achieving."
While some bands base their popu-
larity on non-conformity, alienation
and angst, Edwin and company main-
tain a sense of character. Simply
stated, he is a man who likes to play
and that is where he finds his greatest

Prior to the band's discovery, they
produced songs that were part of the
A.W.A.R.E. compilation of unsigned
"The heart of many musicians lies
in the desire to recognize and choose
your dreams. It lies in your house, it
lives on stage. It lies on a street where
somebody tells you a story and in-
spires you to write a song. That is the
power - that is the music."
"We are real stories inspired by real
people," McCain said.
All of the songs on "Honor Among
Thieves" are written by McCain and
are thematically related to a story.
The band is picking up more noto-
riety with the release of the first mu-
sic video for "Solitude" with
apperances made by some Blowfish.
"(Music video) is something dif-
ferent. I had some control over what
was happening and I appreciated that."
The band tries to find time to work
on their next video for the song
"Alive." But touring is something that
they consider a priority.
For now, Edwin McCain is happy
with themselves and their success. So
they don't care if you don't own their
CD. But you're missing out if you



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