Often cited as one of the most important American hard rock groups of their era, MC5’s initial run only lasted from 1969, when they released their live debut album Kick Out The Jams, until 1972 when they came to an end.
Formed in Lincoln Park Michigan in 1964 the original band line up consisted of vocalist Rob Turner, guitarist Wayne Kramer and Fred “Sonic” Smith, bassist Michael Davis, and drummer Dennis Thompson.
During the 3 short lived years, MC5’s loud and energetic style of rock positioned them as emerging innovators of the punk movement.
When I got the call and was asked if I would like to write a review for the MC50 show at the Brooklyn Bowl Tuesday 10/2/2018 I almost fell out of my chair. I couldn’t have been more excited to finally see and hear their music performed live and in my face.
They opened with Rambling Rose and went directly into their classic Kick Out The Jams and 70-year old Wayne Kramer was running around the stage with the energy of a teenager. I looked to my right and was shocked to see Kim Thayll of Soungarden fame. I was told that Thayll was very excited when asked to come out on the 50th Anniversary with his favorite band. In fact he reports being saved from lying in the fetal position after losing his dear friend and bandmate Chris Cornell in 2017. “ This tour has saved my life and it feels great to be playing music again.”
Tall and lanky singer Marcus Durant at 50, the youngster of the line-up, belted out the vocals and played the harmonica while slithering around the stage like a serpent. Durant, formerly of Zen Guerrilla was a perfect addition to this remodeled group.
On bass was Billy Gould formerly of Faith No More and beating the skins was Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty. These guys were truly the back bone of the sound emanating from the stage.
The songs were played exactly in the order as on the 1969 debut album and the crowd really seemed to be enjoying themselves. I know I certainly did. If you’re a fan of early rock and roll and want to experience a little nostalgia, I would most defiantly recommend seeing these pioneers of the proto-punk era. I’m sure you can catch them out on tour as they have a lengthy tour across the United States ahead of them.
Chris “Rockin’ Red” Engel
Photos: Paul ROCK Santos