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Rock & Roll Crusader

Rock & Roll Crusader image Rock & Roll Crusader image
Parent Issue
Month
March
Year
1968
OCR Text

Detroit is turning into ROCK CITY before our eyes, and we love it! All over the country groups are being "discovered, " and cities like Boston are being hailed as "the new San BFrancisco, " and San Francisco goes on as the new Liverpool, and meanwhile the scène in Detroit just gets scarier and scarier and no one seems to pay it any notice. The kids here are just beginning to find out how heavy the Detroit music scène is, though, as week after week bands come into the Grande from near and far and the kids can hear them and see them in front of everyone, naked on the stage, and find out that the music business is really about MUSIC, after all, and all the fantastic promotion jobs in the world can't cover it up. The Byrds, for example. The Byrds two weeks ago were hopelessly disappointing, and over 1800 kids who had gather ed at the Grande on a Sunday afternoon to dig the Byrds were moved almost to silence by their wholly lacklustre performance. The Rationals were really smoking that day, and an electric current seemed to run through the audience when they realized that the famous Byrds were not going to meet the mark that the Rationals had set even in a short 4-song set before them. The beautiful thing was that the kids who everyone always puts down as "teeny -boppers" or whatever, these kids KNEW that the Byrds weren't doing it, they really wanted to dig the Byrds but couldn't, they weren't misled by everything they'd read and heard about the band and they really Knew IT when the energy failed to flow. The Beacon Street Union carne to town behind a huge promotion campaign by MGM (which should prove to be rather embarras sing in the long run) and had to follow theMC5 on stage at the Grande. It was really sad to watch, and worse to hear. Rumor has it that the Boston band sent word back home that they didn't ever awant to follow a band like that on stage for the rest of their tour --and probably, the rest of their lives. Jimi Hendrix, the hero of all in town it seems starting with this writer, played a horribly mediocre performance before 6000 hungry fans at Masonic Temple last Friday--I won't go into it because all of you were probably there to see and hear it, and like me would rather forget about it and wait for the next time he hits town. People had been waiting six months to get their heads blown off that night by the Experience, but all they got was a tired-out listless Jimi with fucked-up equipment that got there late. The Thyme and the MC5 both sparkled in pitifully -short 15-minute sets, there was a half-hour delay while the Soft Machine and Jimi set up their equipment (Jimi and Noel Redding used 12 Sunn amps between them) which could and should have been filled with music. But too often ' the Detroit groups are taken for granted while all deference possible is given the visiting "stars". It's really good that the main attractions are given such beautiful treatment while they 're guests in our city, but it's sad that the home people are often slighted in the process. Ilm sure that everyone will soon realize the strength and power of our own bands and all this will be cleared up when that happens. Now. Canned Heat, on the other hand, came to town with little reputation and just played their asses off. They stayed in town two weeks, returning to the Ballroom for a second (unscheduled) weekend by popular demand as they say. The Heat are the most powerful blues band I've ever heard--they really kicked out the jams, and especially in their last Detroit performance last Sunday night. Unfortunately there was a small audience for the Heat, the MC5, and the Odds&Ends. The 5 did an incredible set, then the Odds&Ends took over and made everyone very happy with a good strong performance, and the C-4nned Heat got up there and blasted the house down. They played the blues so hard and so strong that people were screaming and jumping out of their seats for them, and when their boogie hand came down nobody could sit still. Whew! They really do itl You won't get it all f rom their albums but when you see the Bear up there jumping up and down, look out! They ain't lyin', they're sockin1 it.out. I forgot one thing: the Soft Machine are out of sight, yes they are. They aren't really a stage band and didn't really get a proper . ing in the monstrous Masonic Auditorium, but their music was very spaced out and very heavy. A three-piece group with organ, bass & drums, the Soft Machine is into a lot of mixed-media art in their (Continued on page 10) y A.S. jC. (Continued from page 2) native London and takes rock music out in another direction, out past the strict beat of what we know and into their own space and time. Their hour-long set seemed over -long after the short appearances by theMC5 and Thyme, but it was out there all the way. Mark Boyle's Sensual Laboratory, the Machine's light company, got a lot of people excited too. , The Electric Flag, featuring Mike Bloomfield, opened the new Harbor Lights thejttreconcert house the same weekend as the Canned Heat and the Byrds, so I never got a chance to hear them. They were greeted with tiny audiences and were disappointed with their trip, rightly so, but they'll be back in town soon and can't be missed. Harbor Lights is a nice place a long way out West Jefferson to Outer Drive in Ecorse, but if the band's right it'd be worth the drive. Check it out for yourself--it's owned by the people from the Living End,-a pretty hip little bar that has brought a lot of good music to town over the last few years--one of the very few music houses that's made it. Their thing is mostly folky music but they do have some real winners from time to time--and you have to 21 years old to get in there! That's weird - 21 to hear music?? Well, that's the law weird, ain'tit? Coming to the Grande starting this weekend is an amazing lineup: Big Brother & the Holding Co, tonight and tomorrow, on their first tour since they got stranded in Chicago two years ago and had to sell 'themselves to Mainstream records for $500 to get home. This time they're travelling under Albert Grossman's superb management and ■with a new recording contract with Columbia that's rumored to've cost the big C $250,000 to get Mainstream to give it up. Columbia ;will be recording Big Brother and them at the Grande tonight and 'tomorrow night and should get a few supprises from the Detroit bands on the bill. ] Next week the Electric Prunes (?) on Friday night, and the electrifying WHO on Saturday, with the Soap and the unbelievable Psychedelic Stooges. Russ has been trying to book the Who for months but got outbid by Southfield High School, of all places, on their last trip here. This time all the freaks caiflfear them and see them. Admission is $4.50 that night but it'll be worth it. In between Big Brother and the Who, Blood Sweat & Tears comes in for a Sunday evening no age limit deal. This is Al Kooper's new band formed by him & Steve Katz after they left the now-defunct Blues Project. Also with Grossman and also on Columbia, which is a pretty good ■ deal for any band. _ Following the WHO will be the Youngbloods, formerly of New York but San Francisco freaks since last summer. Their last RCA album "Earth Music" is very popular around bere. The Rationals and the UP will be there Friday night (March 15), and the James Gang (Cleveland's finest) on Saturday, although without brilliant star guitarist Elliott Schwatrz, who had to split Cleveland for parts unknown when the SS (Selective Service) people carne after him. What a waste --hope he makes it. He was beautiful last time they were here. After that, the next weekend the Grande moves to the State Fair Coliseum for a huge concert featuring Eric Burdon & the Animáis, the mighty Grateful Dead, and the Aere Apparent, the Animáis' touring mates for this trip. The ballroom will close and the whole Grande scène will move out to the Fairgrounds for Friday and Saturday nights (March 22 and 23). Friday night the Apostles and Sat. the new improved Jagged Edge will do it too. Watch for news of the first TRIBAL STOMP at the Grande March 24th, with the MC5, the UP, the Pink Peach Mob, the Odds&Ends, the Gold, and possibly the Dead back in the Ballroom. Proceeds will go to the Warren-Forest Defense Fund and to the LEMAR lawyers handling John Sinclair's case. Also poetry readings, lights, films, chanting and dancing, all day long. Watch for news. RECORDING NEWS: The Rationals1 latest, "I Need You", an old Chuck Jackson bailad beautifully produced by Jeep Holland and engineer Danny Dallas at United Sound in Detroit, got the Rationals signed by Capitol and on the way to a national hit this time. It hit the Billboard Hot 100 this week and is going up. Now maybe an album soon?... The Amboy Dukes hit the Hot 100 Album charts this week with their Mainstream LP, the first album out of the Detroit scène. They've been touring in Boston and New York and will be through Detroit soon on their way west. Maybe we '11 get to hear them again. . . . The Apostles have their first single out on A-Square and we're waiting for it to hit the air. It was recordad months ago, before their guitarist left the band, but it still sounds good. The Apostles are sounding even better live -hear them soon. . . . The MC5 recorded "Looking at You" and "Borderline" with Danny Dallas at United early in January and are waiting now for the pressing. The record was produced by John Sinclair and comes with label and jacket designed by Grimshaw--quite a treat. It'll be on A -Square --watch out for itl . . , .Scot Richard Case, now to be known as SRC, has been taping for Capitol both here and in New York and is busy putting an album tpgether, I wish they'd hurry--I want to get it home and play it every day. ... Had more to say but no more time. Turn on your radio toWABX, 99.5 FM, while you're reading this and dig their new sound --The new sound for Detroit. You'll hear hip records all day long. We'll try to have an interview with some of their staff for next issue. Turn it on and keep it on!