Easy Action Recordings
This double album and complete concert DVD box set trundles to us three years after Massive Attack invited these two watershed bands to collaborate at the Meltdown festival of 2008. The Scream played first, then MC5 nailed the second set before both bands collaborated on a five-track encore that started with ‘I Can Only Give You Everything’ and ended with MC5’s epic closer ‘Black To Comms’.
With two drummers and five guitarists angling their sonic streams over the Thames, the gig was wrought to an acerbic peak as John Sinclair strode on stage. Sinclair, a former guru of MC5 and leader of the White Panther movement, split with the band in 1969 yet in 2008 stood amongst the tumultuous cacophony and eulogised the ‘fallen brothers’ of the Five - Rob Tyner and Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith (who married Patti Smith) - before he spun off lyrically into some astral free jazz spoken word.
MC5 launched their career with a 1969 live album, ‘Kick Out The Jams’, recorded at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom, but ‘Black To Comms’ is an equally arresting historical cross roads. Rarely have two such influential bands, two decades apart, shared such a loving stage with such electric results.
Words by MATTHEW BENNETT
FATTENING FROGS FOR SNAKES 2011