Sonics Rendez-Vous Band - Masonic Detroit 1978 12 inch
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Sonic's Rendezvous Band may well have been the finest rock & roll band to emerge from the Midwest in the last half of the 1970s, but there isn't as much evidence as one might wish to back up this claim. Fronted by MC5 guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith and also featuring Scott Morgan (ex-Rationals) on rhythm guitar and vocals, Scott Asheton (ex-Stooges) on drums and Gary Rasmussen (ex-Up) on bass, Sonic's Rendezvous Band took the primal "high energy" sound of classic Detroit rock and streamlined it with force, precision and intelligence; however, record companies showed no concrete interest in the band, and outside of a self-released single with the same tune on both sides, the group broke up in 1980 with their great songs and blazing performances undocumented. Many years after Sonic's Rendezvous Band called it quits (and Smith succumbed to a heart attack in 1994), a small trickle of live recordings of the band began to circulate, and a treasure trove of SRB material was released in 2006 by the U.K. Easy Action label in the form of a six-disc box set. Masonic Temple: Detroit 1978 is a stand-alone release of one of the live shows featured in the SRB box, a storming seven-song, thirty-five-minute set the group played opening for the Ramones on January 14, 1978. From the opening notes of "Electrophonic Tonic," it's clear Sonic's Rendezvous Band were determined to show the hometown crowd what they could do, and this show never lets up its majestic intensity and drive for a moment. The musicians sound almost telepathically tight, the guitar attack is joyously unrelenting, the songs are excellent (especially "Sweet Nothin'" and "City Slang"), and the set is paced with the care of a good album. This recording was easily one of the high points of Easy Action's SRB box set, and if you're hesitant about forking over for a collection that large to find out what Sonic's Rendezvous Band were all about, Masonic Temple: Detroit 1978 is an excellent place to discover one of the greatest "unknown" bands of all time -- though don't be shocked if you want to hear more after checking this out.