Sonic's Rendezvous Band

Detroit

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While some people imagined the Ramones must have come out of nowhere when they emerged at CBGB in 1975, those with keen ears could hear antecedents in their frantic assault of sound, particularly the high-energy Motor City attack of the MC5 and the Stooges. So it makes sense that when the Ramones played a show at Detroit's Masonic Auditorium in January 1978, they'd want to pay homage to their heroes, and Sonic's Rendezvous Band -- featuring Fred "Sonic" Smith of the MC5 and Scott Asheton of the Stooges -- were given a support slot on the bill, after official openers the Runaways and before the Pride of Queens took the stage. Detroit is an EP that documents SRB's five-song set that night, taken from an audience tape (at one point, you can hear someone politely passing by the person with the mike), and if the fidelity isn't great, it captures the glorious roar of this band with genuine accuracy. Sonic's Rendezvous Band was one of the most powerful Michigan outfits ever, and Detroit finds them making the most of their 28 minutes on-stage, with Smith tearing out gutsy, incisive leads, Scott Morgan giving Smith plenty of six-string support and delivering some superb vocals, Gary Rasmussen pouring out the bottom end on bass, and Asheton driving the music forward with power and precision on drums. "City Slang" and "Electrophonic Tonic" are brilliant songs worthy of this band of Detroit all-stars, and when this set winds up to a frenzied conclusion, you have to wonder if the Ramones had regrets about giving themselves the challenge of following this act. Given its brief length, Detroit is best recommended to fans who already have the Sonic's Rendezvous Band archival releases that have been released in the wake of Easy Action's 2006 box set, but anyone who has enjoyed this band's joyous rock & roll mania will not be disappointed with the music captured here.

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