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A man from Blue Man Group

Some performers must be seen to be appreciated. Take the Blue Man Group. Put this group on a stage, and you get something akin to a theatrical experience: big blue freaks flailing about onstage, playing oddball art-funk music on an array of plastic pipes.

Put that same group in a recording studio, though, and you get a bunch of anonymous, adrenalized instrumentals in search of an Intel commercial. That's the case with The Complex, the band's second, and most recent, CD. After building a street-art following in New York in the early '90s, and graduating to periodic appearances on The Tonight Show , where they have filled the void left by Shields & Yarnell, the enigmatic indigo men turned their attention to rocking out. The Complex is their most earnest attempt thus far to

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interface with the contemporary rock scene. But for all the band's percussive flair, their instrumentals tend to lie there on the disc, and vocal cameos by mediocrities like Dave Matthews and Gavin Rossdale don't help much. The record really only comes to life when Tracy Bonham takes over guest vocals on the pulverizing "Up to the Roof."

But these guys really aren't recording artists. They're a modern hybrid: showmen and commercial shills who act like artistes, percussive virtuosos who have learned a thing or two from KISS. And like KISS, they are only in their element on a concert stage. •



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