Title: Live at the Magic Stick, Detroit - Company: Real O Mind (USA)
Cat No: (none) - Format: cd album - Released: 2000 - Status: Out of print
Longtime Barflys will recall reading Michael Krawczyk's account of this gig when it went down almost a year ago. At the time, it seemed to good to be true -- the surviving members of Sonic's Rendezvous Band (Scott Morgan, Gary Rasmussen, Scott "Rock Action" Asheton) paying tribute to Fred Smith's memory and playing the old toons with Ann Arbor son Deniz Tek standing where Fred once stood, not "taking his place," but kicking 'em out in the way he learned from Fred 'n' Wayne and Ron Asheton and went on to teach to a generation of Aussie brats back in the mid-70s.
Intro - Electrophonic Tonic ( S Morgan ) (5:07 m:s)
Dangerous ( S Morgan ) (3:28 m:s)
Let's Do It Again ( F Smith ) (3:43 m:s)
Hearts ( F Smith ) (4:01 m:s)
Earthy ( S Morgan ) (4:28 m:s)
Sweet Nuthin' ( F Smith ) (5:48 m:s)
Dirt ( The Stooges ) (5:27 m:s)
New Race ( D Tek ) (3:24 m:s)
Gettin' There Is Half The Fun ( S Morgan ) (3:42 m:s)
Gone With The Dogs ( F Smith ) (4:20 m:s)
City Slang ( F Smith ) (8:00 m:s)
Scott Morgan - Lead Vocals, Guitars
Deniz Tek - Lead Guitar & Lead Vocals Tracks 7 and-8
Scott Asheton - Drums
Gary Rasmussen - Bass & Lead Vocals Track 4
Recorded live by Geoff Ginsberg at the Magic Stick, Detroit September 11, 1999
Of Interest: (continued from above)
Dave Champion and Geoff Ginsberg have provided us with a recorded document of the event (under the "Real O Mind" imprint; true aficionados of Dee-troit noise will dig where THAT'S coming from), and it's stupendous. Get Hip has this Stateside, and there are European (with different art and interactive video added) and Australian releases projected.
After a brief spoken intro, the musical festivities commence with a free-form jazz kinda thang (recognisable to fans of Scott Morgan's solo work as "88" from the '96 "Revolutionary Means" disc) before powering into "Electrophonic Tonic," and it's nice to have a live version of that one, with its cryptic lyrics and manic dynamic shifts. "Dangerous" is a little thin in spots (the A2 boys rehearsed for a month before the Iceman jetted in from Big Sky country for a couple of rehearsals prior to the gig, having woodshedded with tapes for months in preparation), but Gary and Rock lock it in the pocket, as is their wont, and ultimately Dr. Tek finds the groove.
Things start to pop and smoke in earnest with "Let's Do It Again" -- a nice statement of purpose for this gig, with Scott singing Fred's words. Gary takes the vocal on "Hearts" and does a fine job of it. A brief Hendrixoid blues jam (Tek's thick tone sounding like nothing so much as the shattered shade of Jimi giving it up, spiritually complete but emotionally tapped, at the '70 Isle of Wight festival) gives way to "Earthy," Rock Action kicking it up a few clicks of the adrenaline meter lower than Nick Royale did on the version Scott waxed with the Hydromatics (in case you aren't already sick of hearing me say it, MODERATE TEMPOS ROCK HARDER -- compare these versions 'n' see if you don't agree!). "Sweet Nuthin'" chugs along like it was the Second Chance in '78 all over again.
Scott Morgan is a lot of people I know's idea of THE GREATEST VOICE IN RAWWWK, PERIOD, but he always speaks with awe and respect of his late partner's vocal prowess, and he does Fred proud with his work on this 'un. Tek digs deep on his solo, a reminder why the best rock'n'roll always happens onstage in front of audiences.
Deniz takes the vocal on the Stooges' seldom-covered "Dirt" -- one wonders what Ron Asheton, in the audience that night (Deniz was using one of his 50-watt Marshalls) felt when he heard his brother kick the intro to that one -- with great guitar damage from the Morgan-Tek tandem, and a rebel-rousing "New Race," bringing the spirit of '76 Sydney to '99 Detroit.
The high spots come at the end. The title track rocks relentlessly (after the band pauses to order a round of Absoluts!) -- if this isn't enough to get you on the bus for the First Church of Rock Action, there's NO hope for YOUR immortal soul (the cover pic shows a real church bus, emblazoned, no fooling, with the title of this rec, that Dave's friend Lee-Ann Faulkner photographed enroute to Detroit to record this show)! "Gone With the Dogs" affords Morgan and the rhythm boys an opportunity to play their classic selves, while Tek valiantly leaps into the breach, wrestling snaky lines from his custom-made Robin (curiously, the Iceman left the legendary EPi Crestwood he bought from Fred back in Montana for this gig).
The climactic "City Slang" is, as Scott acknowledges, the only way the set could have ended, and they do it up fine, both guitarists winding up on the floor, fucking and ripping strings off their axes, an apocalyptic finish to a set of unremitting high-energy. It's finally here for your ears to behear, and it's ragged but right -- not the work of a full-time performing band, more an evocation of echoes, a warts-and-all document of a unique rock'n'roll MOMENT, and a tantalising taste of what might still be, if these guys can hook up again and sho' nuff do it again, only this time with some NEW material (and Scott's got a batch of late '90s toons that haven't yet been released but would KILL with the Rendezvous riddim boys and Dr. Tek to bring 'em to life onstage).
Never happen, you say? Maybe. Myself, I'm inclinded to agree with the Mickey Rourke character from "Diner": "If you don't have good dreams, you have nightmares." And while we're on the subject of legendary unreleased shows, when IS Wayne Kramer gonna release the tape of that Dodge Main show from the Euclid Tavern back in '97, anyway?!!!
(Article by Ken Shimamoto originally found at the I-94 bar)