MC50 Kicks Out the Jams at Gothic Theatre

MC50 Kicks Out the Jams at Gothic Theatre

November 3, 2018 Off By Denver Thread

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Photos by Michael McGrath, Story by Amy McGrath

“Kick out the Jams, Motherfuckers!” was the 1968 rallying cry of the aggressively leftist Detroit band the MC5. The MC5 was addressing the state of the country in the thick of the Vietnam War and the struggle for civil rights against an inherently racist political system. 50 Years later, the MC50 is howling “Kick out the Jams, Motherfuckers!” as it addresses the state of a country war-wearied from 17 years of conflict in Afghanistan and the struggle for civil rights against an inherently racist political system. The anger of being right back where we started continues to fuel the rage and rebellion of guitarist Wayne Kramer and his band of rock and roll brothers-in-arms.

Kramer has experienced plenty of loss in these 50 years, namely the deaths of ⅗ of the original MC5; vocalist Rob Tyner and guitarist Fred Sonic Smith died from heart attacks, bassist Michael Smith died from liver failure. But Wayne Kramer and his screaming guitar have survived, and he has revived the songs and energy of his original band with the MC50 Tour, an impressive rock and roll supergroup that channels the political rage and rebel rock aesthetic of the original band.

The MC50’s lineup at the Gothic Theater featured Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil on guitar alongside Kramer, Bassist Billy Gould of Faith No More, Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty and the frenetic energy, powerful vocals, and riotous mop of hair of Zen Guerilla frontman Marcus Durant. The band of seasoned vets put in a ferocious set of MC5 classics, mostly pumped up, driving Blues rock songs.

The scene was set in awesomely weird rock and roll fashion by LA’s rock new-comers Starcrawler. The violently thin, teen-aged lead singer Arrow de Wilde prowled the stage with a theatrical rock fury, howling with grunge rage, masturbating herself with her microphone and smearing fake blood all over her face, all while her bandmates held down a heavy, psych/doom vibe.

de Wilde joined the MC50 late in their set for a duet with Durant, a perfect juxtaposition of a rock and roll baby and the veterans who paved the path for the punks and freaks. de Wilde’s on-stage fury was an interesting counterpoint to Kramer’s chill, cheerful demeanor- but his anger at the current political situation in this country was made palpable through his screaming guitar, and his beseeching the audience to “Do whatever you can to stand up against the fool in the White House! Vote! Vote! Vote!”