SONIC’S RENDEZVOUS BAND: Live, Masonic Auditorium: CD

Jul 02, 2009

As a devout teenaged Creem reader circa 1979-1981, i knew who Sonic’s ((also spelled “Sonics”)) Rendezvous Band were ((Fred “Sonic” Smith of the MC5 and Scott Asheton of the Stooges, among others)),but i can’t say as i ever heard ‘em—part of this may be due to the fact that they only released one single ((and THAT with the same song on the A-side and B-side, spuriously demarcated as “STEREO” and “MONO” even though no actual difference apparently existed)); another part of this equation might have been that in 1979, there was no FUCKING way i was going to listen to a group called “Sonic’s Rendezvous Band,” simply due to the fact that their name clearly indicated that they were part of That Which Was, and not part of That Which Is Surely Overturning That Which Was ((in other words, had they been named “The Pukes” or “The Burps,” i probably would have been all over ‘em)). Rightly or wrongly ((and it’s lookin’ like “wrongly”)), i ignored the band ever since…which was, if this mastered-off-a-C-90 seven-song live set is any indication, a moderately embarrassing error on my part. Now, granted, song lengths run a little long for punk-damaged attention spans ((3:31 on the low end to 7:18 on the high end, with a median length of 4:57)), and maybe these guys didn’t fully hate Led Zeppelin, but at least they knew the difference between good Zep ((e.g., “Communication Breakdown”)) from bad ((e.g., anything where Robert Plant sounds like a warbling brain-damaged lesbian folk singer…which is, one supposes, practically everything that isn’t “Communication Breakdown”)), and mostly they just sound like what the Saints might have sounded like were they from Detroit and not Australia and Ed Kuepper poisoned Chris Bailey’s Ho-Ho’s® and replaced him with a particularly nimble barbarian, crossed with a ten-years-more-modern version of the MC5. This is the type of thing that really makes the listener appreciate speaker cones. Rock ‘em back, Sonic! BEST SONG: “Electrophonic Tonic” BEST SONG TITLE: Curiously, it’s also “Electrophonic Tonic.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Recorded January 14th, 1978, while opening for the Ramones, on the same day the Sex Pistols played their last show. Liner notes claim that this is clearly some manner of “torch passing”— if so, it marks the first time that said metaphorical torch has actually been passed backwards. Be this as it may, i’m inclined to believe that the Detroit Derby Girls hold their bouts somewhere in this same building.

 –norb (Alive)