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MC50 Pay Tribute to “Kick Out the Jams” in Seattle

Posted by November 10th, 2018 No Comments »

Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Showbox @ the Market
By Andrew Lowe

Are you ready to … kick out the jams, brothers and sisters!?!

These words were my first introduction to a group of righteous miscreants called the MC5. If you’re not familiar: shame.

Last month, I saw founding member Wayne Kramer on tour with MC50 at the Showbox (in the market) with an all-star band behind him that included Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil on guitar, Faith No More’s Billy Gould on Bass, Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty, on drums, and Zen Guerrilla vocalist Marcus Durant.

If you’ve been to a concert where it is only one or two of the surviving members of a band’s original lineup, you’ve felt the potential to be let down. But, brothers and sisters, that did not happen on this holy night.

The show started with Fitz of Depression and Starcrawler, two groups I wasn’t familiar with. Olympia, Washington based three-piece Fitz of Depression is what I’d call an economic hardcore band. Heavy, some cool riffs, but nothing that really stuck with me.

Starcrawler, on the other hand, was a young group of rock and roll assholes who put both of my band’s stage presence to shame. Their performance was fueled by the powerful dynamic between a very Wayne Kramer-influenced guitar player in full bullfighter suit and a singer who was so steeped in Patti Smith I was expecting a chorus of “Gloria.”

Brother Wayne and his group of the best-known backing musicians in rock ripped through all of the band’s heralded Kick Out the Jams album. The songs, originally, released in 1969, still hold their own. When Marcus preached “are you ready to kick…” I yelled my ass off. I wish this wasn’t such a rare act for me these days – but dammit I saw the light. By the time they got to “Starship,” the band was in full, joyful chaos. Using some weird guitar effects and a synth saxophone they took off to a far different and better plane of existence.

After they finished playing through the album they invited a few guests, like Mudhoney’s Mark Arm, to sing some songs. Unfortunately, at that point I was ready to head home – 5:15 a.m. wake-ups and weeknight shows don’t mix.

This concert was one of the best I’ve seen in recent memories. It was great to witness musicians enjoying themselves and paying homage to an incredible album without cheapening it. To find out more about this influential band’s legacy, be sure to check out Wayne’s book, The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5, and My Life of Impossibilities.

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