The Go/The Muldoons/Mountains and Rainbows
February 23rd, 2007
The Lager House, Detroit
Mountains and Rainbows were equally insane and deliberate. Recalling 60's wildmen like the Driving Stupid or the 13th Floor Elevators it was a haphazard mess of fuzz and clunky drums and falsetto vocals. With 3/4 of the members from Tyvek it must be said they have NOTHING in common with those intuitive home insulators. Mountains and Rainbows stand alone in this town, probably this country, almost certainly this world.
The vibe from the stage was anomalous…totally smart and cognizant as well as clueless and lost in their own world of confusion.
The jam Indian with saxophone fed through a delay (what sounded like someone who actually has some sax training as opposed to the current norm of uninformed wailing) was harsh. It was followed by moving Back From the Grave-inspired fuzz number, the most "together" MAR sounded the entire night and yet still quite fractured.
After those two songs, I was so close to walking up to the stage, getting guitarist Heath's attention just to ask him if I could release those two songs on a 7". I just didn't want to risk the chance that someone else would ask them first. I patiently waited until after they left the stage and asked Matt Z instead. He said yes. I cannot wait.
The tune Lester is Coming? is quite possibly in reference to Bangs' prediction of an amazing band in the vein of Mountains and Rainbows in "Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung" a claim about a band from somewhere in the Rust Belt coming along with primal urge and primitive allure. This claim has, in the past, been attributed as the Gories birthright, but I think it's safe to let MAR join in the histrionics. I'm too lazy to dig up the exact quote now, but rest assured, it's somewhere in that book.
The set had a perfect arc, ending with Christo (not named after the fabric wrapping artist, but a childhood friend of the singer Matt Z) a song that has something to do with fiddle-faddle, a curious snack food that's more common in the Southern states. That song ended with the same chordal volume knob fade-in, fade-out that the set started with. From the Raconteurs with Hands, the Mooney Suzuki with And Begin and even the Von Bondies with It Came From Japan I've always been sucker for a band that opened AND closed with the same song.
The Muldoons continued their virtual ownership of the Lager House stage with another blasting performance. They played all the usual hits. The new cut probably named something like Fire in the House is TV Eye meets Rocket 455 juiced up on roids. They simply deliver. Can I call them the first family of rock? Ma gave me dvd of the MC5 documentary. That is awesome. Hunt's guitar hit brutal volume levels mid-set. His low end was nice and fat like T. Rex's 20th Century Boy. If you don't already have their jams, now's the time for you to catch up before you get left behind like a loser.
With the production on Whatcha Doin so divisive, the live arena for songs from that album has always been preferred. So the inclusion of Whatcha Doin, Meet Me at the Movies and Keep on Trash in the set clearly provided the best crowd reaction. But then again, I remember talking to people who didn't live in Detroit about the Go and the consensus always seemed to be that the first album was STUPENDOUS and that the live show was retching. Everyone has an opinion about Whatcha Doin and the Go yet no one will ever get it right. Krautner is singing more than ever and it's silky. A few too many slow songs in towards the middle was a questionable call. So was the absence of Growed Up Wrong from the set. Matt Smith regarding Summers Gonna Be My Girl said "this is the only song that sounds like Can and Steppenwolf" In the world? Tonight? Ever? Please, give me some qualifiers here.
Detroit's doyenne Shelby Murphy and the not-far-behind Aran Ruth stormed the stage dancing and for a brief moment it was as if we were at Motor during the Hamtramck Blowout of '99. You've all seen the pictures, heard the legends, that Christ himself took on human form for that brief set to witness the sheer ferocity and unhinged energy that night. Will they ever top that moment? With all the girls in attendance dressed to the nines and the room crowded and smoky as hell, the palpable furor in the air, I thought they came damn close. You Go Bangin On, So Long Johnny and Help You Out are solid new jams that are already making Howl on the Haunted Beat You Ride a full-length with diverse ambitions. A local band that still draws what seems to be the same people to its shows as it did 8 years ago? Don't know if that can be said about anyone else. Good to have you back.