? and the Mysterians at the Winter Blast.
Someone had described them before as a Mexican wedding band. My girlfriend asked "Why do so many of these songs sound exactly like '96 Tears?" Someone else pointed out the importance of the Rolling Stones instrumental "2120 South Michigan Avenue" on the band's oeuvre and how the German pressing of "12x5" has a guitar solo edited out of all other pressings. They played a song called "Cherry July" that none of us collectors could pull up in our mental rolodex of record collections. They did a solid version of "8 Teen" which I only began to love after I learned that the Mooney Suzuki had ripped that song off for ALL of their early jams..."And Begin", "Turn My Blue Sky Black" and "Love is a Gentle Whip" among the ones that come to mind. But they didn't play "Ain't it a Shame"...a song I only became aware of via the Detroit Cobras cover version and had played a version once with the Bricks live on the Garden Bowl lanes.
I heard somebody say they'd seen a ? show where they played "96 Tears" three times. The audacity of such a setlist coup could've clearly shook my weary head this evening.
Could've done without the drawn-out take on "Stand By Me", but then again, this was a band who's closest comparison is really and truly a Mexican wedding band. The new album is supposedly titled "It's Time for Rock and Roll." I think back to Bangs' rant about "96 Tears" and wonder what he would have thought about what I saw last night. Would he think it was retread or revolution? Q himself has still got it...in his beetle boots and belly shirt he's got all kinds of dance moves to light up the stage. And he's still the only man (or, in his mind, Martian) I've ever seen have to genuinely stop a woman from trying to take off his pants onstage (Magic Stick, 5/30/98).
I guess I could lean either way...if they'd have done "Ain't it a Shame" I'm sure I would've flipped. If they hadn't done "8 Teen" I'm sure the pain in my legs from standing in a heat tent situated in the middle of Woodward for nigh on an hour would've have been, for some reason that clearly has no relation to the song, a little more prevalent. The mere fact that they're playing at all should be the only thing that matters. And for some reason, I feel that I expect a little more from this band that has been around for over forty years. But I don't want to.
I wish I was more into it. I wish I could sit here and say it was the greatest show I'd ever seen. But it was honestly mediocre. And being mediocre is not that harmful a label, as there are no other mid-Sixties one-hit-wonders that I can even imagine wanting to witness in the translucent Detroit cold. So Question Mark won this time, but in the future, I hope my end of the battle is not plagued by old-timey sentiment and elder respect. Until then, I'll just cry...