There’s nothing like a good old school garage rock show. Going around the country right now celebrating 50 years of one of the best live albums ever released is one of the bands who came out of the 60’s. They were one of the loudest to come out from that time period and little has changed over the half a century for MC5, except that only one man, Wayne Kramer, is still in the band. Wayne put together quite a who’s who in music to help celebrate the live album and the legacy of the band on this tour.
The night though started off with The Detroit Cobras, a five piece out of their namesake, like the MC5. They were a perfect fir for the tour as garage rock lives and breathes from the city of Detroit. Their short set was well received by the crowd, who continued to stream into the club as they played. Front-woman Rachel Nagy easily held the crowd in her hand as she sang her heart out showing off some killer vocals. The band were having a blast and would have kept playing if the set times had allowed it, especially since the crowd wanted an encore out of them.
The Paradise didn’t get an encore, but they did get local legend Peter Wolf, best known as the front-man of The J. Geils Band, introduce Wayne Kramer and the rest of the band. Wayne came out and for the rest of the night never seemed to stop moving, which for a guy who just turned 70, is pretty damn amazing. I’ve seen musicians half his age not dance and move around as much as he did. The man is an absolute force of energy. Sometimes when you see older acts it looks like they are going through the motions, but Wayne was clearly reveling in being on stage and playing these songs live.
I mentioned earlier that he put together an all-star cast to play with him and they were shining all night. Kim Thayil, playing his first major shows since Chris Cornell passed while on Soundgarden tour, accompanied Wayne on guitar all night. He didn’t solo a ton, but when he did he made it count. Kim definitely grew up on this music and he was definitely loving playing these songs and I would assume it’s pretty therapeutic for him to be out on stage again. Brendan Canty from Fugazi, among a ton of other bands, kept the beat going all night. Brendan was literally a machine on the drum kit and never seemed to tire. Billy Gould from Faith No More was right there with Brendan keeping everything going. The bass player can sometimes get lost in the mix at shows, but you couldn’t miss Brendan’s notes thumping through the entire room. Finally Marcus Durant from Zen Guerrilla took care of almost all of the vocals during the show. If you looked quickly you could even mistake that it was Rob Tyner on stage, the original lead singer who died in 1991.
Wayne spoke of Rob as well as Fred “Sonic” Smith, Michael Davis, and Dennis Thompson, the other members of MC5, a little during the show and how he wanted to do this tour not only for the music, but also to remember them. Of course the crowd went nuts for “Kick out the Jams,” which was the second song of the night. The evening turned weird during “Starship” as it felt like we were transported to an “Acid-Test” party from the 60’s as the band went into some wild jams. The set ended with “Call Me Animal” before a three- song encore, that was well deserved as the crowd went wild for them to come back out.
Before “The American Ruse” Wayne implored everyone in attendance to vote the corrupt assholes out of office and look out for one another. He said if we don’t then we are going to wind up with more of the same crap going on now. They then launched into the song and without missing a beat went right into “Looking at You” to close the night. Many people might look at this show as all nostalgia, but these guys are tearing up the stage right now. I don’t know how many more times you’re going to get the opportunity to kick it with Wayne and the crew so you should get out now while you can.
Article: Bryan Lasky