+ JOHN SINCLAIR AND HIS BLUES SCHOLARS
+ COBRA VERDE
June 10, 2004
Majestic theater, Detroit, Michigan
Hey everyone, If you missed out on DKT/MC3 in Detroit then you missed one heck of a rock show! It was great and I wish everyone could have seen it.
Yeah, Yeah, there is a bunch of controversy surrounding the ATT movie and the Levis-sponsored show last year, but let's just take a second and remind ourselves why we love the MC5 so much. Their songs ROCK! No, they didn't play the ultimate versions of these songs that night. If you want to hear those go listen to the MC5's records. Regardless, combined with the setting and the no frills "here are the jams" attitude, I would say the show came off pretty well and fun was had by all.
The crowd was mostly made up of older folks and very young kids. I saw virtually none of the Detroit hipster band folks there at all.
The opening group was Cobra Verde. They were good 'n' rocking. It's got to be really tough to open a show where everyone is only waiting for you to get off and make way for the headlining band, but they still did alright. The singer gave it up to the Pistons which seem to please the crowd just fine.
Next up was John Sinclair and his Blues Scholars. Out of the three times I've see John Sinclair this was the best back up band so far. The guitar player Jim McCarty was so amazing! Mr. Sinclair gave his usual throaty poetic performance. The rhythm section was tight and rocking. They only did a few numbers and made a quick exit. They must have been able to feel the anticipation building.
Finally DKT-MC5 took the stage. I was still a little skeptical right up until they put the hammer down on their opening song which was "Tonight" off of the Back In The USA record. I can't remember the whole set list so I'm just going to give you the highlights.
Wayne singing Ramblin' Rose was great even though he didn't sing it in the funny falsetto like back in the day. Mick Collins from the Dirt Bombs came on to sing "Looking At You" and I wish he would have stayed on for more of the vocal duties, although he did stay long enough to play harmonica on "Sister Ann" which ROCKED!
Mark Arm sang most of the songs and did a great job. He took time in between songs to point out that the entire show was dedicated to Fred "Sonic" Smith and Rob Tyner.
Unfortunately Evan Dando sucked. Sorry dude, you tried, but the power required to belt out those songs just wasn't there. At one point People actually started chanting "Fuck Dando". When he tried to make light of it by chanting along with them he got pelted with bottled water and ice. Then he actually tossed a cup of water at the audience. After that he manly kept to the back of the stage. It was funny and sad at the same time. He actually sang "Let Me Try" pretty well, but he totally fucked up the lyrics to most of the other songs he sang especially "Motor City's Burning". He even had a cheat sheet on the stage! I felt he was almost there for comic relief. The band played great anyway.
They only had a few mis-steps that I noticed. Over all they seemed to be sticking to the album arrangements pretty much and would only fumble something when one of the vocalist would miss a cue. You wouldn't have noticed if you didn't know the songs as well as someone (like me) who has listened to them a million times each. Other great songs they played were "Call Me Animal", "Over And Over", "Shaken Street" and "High School". When they played "Kick Out the Jams" the crowd went crazy. The entire ensemble took the lead vocal part for the whole song except for "Machine Gun" Thompson who was behind his kit bashing away, having a blast.
The big highlight for me was when they played "Starship". I totally didn't expect them to play it. Man, it was played real tight and just right. Mark Arm was right on. So was Dennis Thompson's drumming. There were a couple of dudes playing sax and trumpet that helped fill up the sound during the whole show and it came off really well. Marshall Crenshaw did a really good job singing and playing guitar although his guitar was sometimes to quite. Seems Wayne felt the same way and asked for Crenshaw's guitar to be turned up. Mr. Crenshaw also took lead vocals on "Tonight" and "Gotta Keep Moving" and pulled it off well. DKT seemed to be loving every minute of it.
They came out for THREE encores! My only complaint of the evening, besides Evan Dando's performance, were two missing songs, "Skunk (Sonically speaking)" and "Black To Comm" which is my favorite MC5 song. Afterward the security was being pushy and it looked like I may have missed the chance to get my records signed. But then Dennis Thompson came out and was very gracious to all the fans seeking autographs. Some of you folks might find it silly to ask for people for autographs. Well shame on you! These guys were musical heroes for me while I was growing up in south east Michigan. The MC5 laid the foundation for the future of Michigan rock. They set the bar for everyone who came after. Their legacy is still effecting the way people approach Rock N' Roll to this day especially in Detroit.
If you get a chance, go see DKT/MC3. Put away whatever feelings you have about the ATT movie and that Levis incident and just enjoy the music. True, it isn't the MC5 by any means but it's still a good time and great MC5 music! - Chris "Box" Taylor
DKT-MC5 World Tour dates can be found here. Australians can win a double pass to their Sydney and Melbourne shows here.
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