This is not the first time I’ve seen Michael Monroe performing live, he and his band are a force of nature. Their performance is more than powerful and often shocking, I have witnessed Michael climbing and jumping on stage amps or barriers on several occasions, he’s definitely a pro at what he does. Their delivery is always flawless but also unconventional and that’s what fans like the most. The band walks on stage to the notes of ‘Ballad Of The Lower East Side’. One song in and they already manage to give life to their audience. Their chemistry is equal to none, that’s exactly why Monroe keeps repeating that this is not ‘his solo project’, instead, he prefers to call it a band. Tonight we have Steve Conte and Rich Jones on guitars, Karl Rockfist on drums and the unmissable Sami Yaffa on bass – their technique are as good as the passion they put into their performance with Michael leading and bringing the show to the next level.
Fifty years ago MC5 recorded the live version of the album Kick Out The Jams and tonight they are ready to get on stage to celebrate this milestone. Their tour is in fact called MC50 in order to honour the fifty years of their career although the line up is not the same as 1969. Apart from Kramer who stays on guitar duties, the new members come from different bands that have influenced MC5 sound over the years, therefore their skills and personalities blend perfectly with what was the MC5 spirit and authenticity in the late 60’s. On this new chapter Wayne is joined by an outstanding frontman Marcus Durrant of Zen Guerilla, Faith No More’s Billy Gould on bass, Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil on guitar and Brendan Canty of Fugazi on drums. Let’s not forget that MC5 are famous for being pioneers of the punk movement in the USA – they were eccentric, loud and definitely not afraid to display their leftist political views through their lyrics. It’s probably not a case that their return to the scene seem to coincide with the unstable and chaotic age we are living in. Kramer, now 70, brings joy and smiles on stage, together with the same energy he had in 1969. They start tonight with a recording of ‘Rambin’Rose’, which was the intro of the album ‘Kick Out The Jams’, where we see Kramer taking over on vocal duties. Their sound on stage tonight is much tighter and far less loose compared to MC5’s early days. The band is no longer unorganised, in fact they are very well in control of what they are doing, someone might think they have lost their punk attitude but that raw verve is still all there. Kramer has certainly put together some talented musicians who have the right skills and characters to carry on his band’s legacy. Durant in particular, who also physically reminds us of Rob Tyner, manages to fully capture the core and the passion of the MC5. A wild combination of garage-rock, blues rock and free jazz is now filling the venue with their psychedelic melody and the audience is loving it.