Copyright 1996 Boston Herald Inc.

The Boston Herald

February 1, 1996 Thursday SECOND EDITION


LENGTH: 288 words

HEADLINE: MUSIC; Mann changes her knock to rock in Hub

BYLINE: By Dean Johnson


Aimee Mann, with Semisonic, at the Paradise Tuesday.

For someone who knocks the Hub in the new issue of Rolling Stone, onetime Boston rocker Aimee Mann seemed delighted to be back in her old stomping grounds Tuesday.

"I kinda miss (Boston)," Mann told the sold-out crowd that assembled to help celebrate the release of Mann's savory and long overdue CD, "I'm With Stupid."

That's a far cry from sentiments expressed in the Feb. 22 Rolling Stone. "I hated to go out in Boston," Mann said. "It's all colleges, and there are a lot of people who are just a little too excited about drinking."

Whatever . . . Mann's 75-minute concert was a treat, mixing infectious pop melodies with smart, lush arrangements, most of them anchored by Michael Lockwood's Beatlesque guitar spins.

Mann stuck mostly to acoustic guitar as she dug into a set primarily made up of songs from the new disc and the previous effort, "Whatever."

An unplanned encore rendition of "Voices Carry" was given a solemn, almost deconstructed treatment.

It stood in stark contrast to the richly textured and bracing pop churned out by Mann and her backing quartet for most of the concert.

Tunes like the Liz Phair-style "Superball" and "Choice in the Matter," anchored by rippling guitar licks from the Badfinger school of pop, had a delicious, tender-tough kick.

Mann sensed it, too. When a fan shouted out in midset, "You're the best," she flashed a quick, wicked smile and replied, "Yes, indeed."

Semisonic opened with a poker-faced version of the Hollies' "The Air That I Breathe." The Twin Cities trio then bounced back and forth between frothy pop tunes and meaty R.E.M.-Live-laced rockers. Semisonic lived up to its name, not quite super.