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June 04, 1971 - Image 2

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1971-06-04

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Page Two-


Friday, June 4, 1971

Rock Revival: Failing resurrection

They called it the Rock and
Roll Revival, but Sunday's rock
festival at the State Fairgrounds
in Detroit did very little to revive
Detroit's rock culture.
The 16 to 18,000 people who
jammed the race track to hear
nine local and national rock
groups demonstrated a singular
lack of musical discrimination
and an intolerance for music that
isn't super-loud, rhythmically
simple, and artistically crude.
Detroit is notorious for its unso-
phisticated musical taste and as
Boz Scaggs' bass player remark-
ed, "You've got to be awfully
high energy to get much of a
crowd response around here."
Eastown Theater, which pro-
moted the Revival, did a good
job of providing the people with
the kind of music they like. But
only about half of it was worth
listening to.
It was a beautiful afternoon so
the first few acts seemed the
most pleasant of the day. My mo-
torcycle broke down on the way
in, causing me to miss Mutzie,
which was the first group to play.
Fortunately, I got there in time
to hear Bob Seeger. Bob is pei-'
forming alone these days and his
music has changed a lot. H did
four or five songs that he'd writ-
ten himself, all of which are in-
credibly beautiful and lyrically
impressive. His style and voice

remind me of Tim Buckley and in
my book he's every bit as good.
If you heard him at Hill Auditor-
ium a couple of weeks ago you
know what I'm talking about.
Seeger's introduction is indica-
tive of the state of music in De-
troit and the performers' sensi-
tivity to what the crowd wants to
hear. Bob actually had to apolo-
gize to the crowd for not playing
hard rock, even though he turned
in one of the most tasteful per-
formances of the day. Sure
enough, the crowd rewarded him
with a very lukewarm response
and it didn't take long for Bob
to get Teagarden and VanWinkle
out to play some Killer Rock and
Roll withchim. Those three guys
together" churn out some pretty
fine stuff, but they only got in a
few songs.
Detroit, featuring Mitch Ryder,
was up next and they did a typi-
cally exciting set. They aren't
doing much creative stuff but
when it comes to loud, basic rock
and roll they stand among the
best. Ryder is a joy to watch
and really knows how to move an
audience. I was impressed with
the quality of the group as a
whole and the crowd seemed to
agree. I found out later that the
promoters didn't even want to
book Detroit and that they played
for free. Amazing.
Detroit was followed by Boz
Scaggs, a group that I'd only

heard on the radio. They turned
out to be a first-class group that
played some of the nicest music
we heard. Their music is hard
to characterize but is sort of
bluesy with rock and country ov-
ertones. Boz, who used to play
with Steve Miller, plays guitar
and does the lead vocals and is
backed by conventional instru-
ments and a brass section. His
organist, rhythm guitarist, and
trombone player were especially
good. Boz came on with a very
mellow approach and found it
hard to relate to the generally
primitive atmosphere. I dug him
so much that I went right out and
bought both of his records and
found that he's a lot better live
than on record. Unfortunately,
the group was only able to per-
form for about 40 minutes.
Tinhouse, a rather nondescript
group from Florida, was next and
their set was singularly uninspir-
ing. They played very conven-
tional, very loud rock and roll
but that was plenty to turn on
the crowd. I'd never heard of the
group but was assured that
they're real big in Florida and
pretty popular around here.
Tinhouse was followed by J.
Geils, a Boston group that kicks
out some of the baddest rock
I've heard. Michigan people who
like to think they've got the cor-
ner on rock and roll had better
give a listen to J. Geils. They

play blues-rock the way it should
be played-with musical skill,
a devastating lead singer, great
lyrics, and an original and excit-
ing style. Peter Wolf, the lead
singer, can arouse a crowd better
than anyone I've seen. The entire
group is very solid and together
and did the best set of the whole
The Allman Brothers folowed,
laying down some smooth. musi-
cally refined sounds. Duane All-
man is a consumate guitariAt and
their rhythm is very complex and
intricate. For some reason I
couldn't get into their music too
much but the crowd-amazingly
enough-enjoyed it.
The Winter brothers, Edgar
and Johnny, did the last two sets
of the night and were obviously
what the crowd was waiting for.
Edgar's White Trash came on
first and worked the people into
a frenzy, even though their music
is nothing more than undistin-
guished hard rock. I was totally
nonplussed and was surprised to
see that Edgar doesn't play the
leading role in the group: the
lead guitarist seemed more dom-
inant. They were the first group
of which the crowd demanded an
encore and they played two or
three. They finally got off the
stage to make way for Johnny
Johnny Winter is an -excep-
tionally fine guitarist, as his gig
with Luther Allison at the Blues
Benefit last fall testified. These
days he's playing almost exclu-
sively rock and roll classics of
the Great Balls of Fire and
Johnny B. Goode ilk. I'm of the
opinion that nobody can match
the original performers on these
The Michigan Daily, edited and man-
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songs-Johnny Winter certainly
can't. I've never liked his voice
and these songs don't provide a
proper outlet for his guitar skills;
he should be channeling his tal-
ent into more appropriate and
creative areas. Needless to say
the crowd went absolutely ber-
serk 'cause he was playing real
rock and roll.
As the day wore on the vibes
became progressively ugly. There
were lots of bad drugs around
and the well-organized and staff-
ed first aid center was inundated
with OD's of strychnine. The
Howdy Doody
look alike
Think you look like Howdy
Doody? Well, reasonably like
him? WXYZ is sponsoring a
Howdy Doody look-alike con-
First prize is a trip to Doo-
dyville (anywhere in the con-
tinental U.S.)
The contest will be held in
Detroit's Kennedy Square, to-
day at noon. Judges will be
area college editors, who, in
addition to the trip to "Doody-
ville" will award a Howdy
Doody watch, a Howdy Doody
record album and a Howdy
Doody t-shirt.
place was surrounded by voyeurs
who seemed to get a real kick
out of people freaking out.
There was quite a bit of trou-
ble with the sound system, and
that didn't help matters 'any.
Lots of people obviously weren't
interested in listening to music
and the guys seemed more inser-
ested in "finding some chicks".
The location of the Revival
was really a drag. Most people
had to sit on asphalt, dirt, or the
grandstands - there was very
little grass. The area was not
large enough to accommodate
the mobs of people who showed
up, and that added to the gen-
erally oppressive atmosphere.
See DETROIT, Page 8

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Some of the incidents are wild!"
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