by Michael Watts - Melody Maker - 8.8.70
the surface it seemed crazy - 1,500 kids packed into a hot stuffy old
engine shed, while outside the temperature was in the seventies. The great
thing about London's Roundhouse, though, is that, probably, more than
any other revue in the country, it captures the spirit of rock music at
its most unaffected, and in its most involved state. That is its attraction
for audiences and the reason why groups are prepared to play for as little
as a tenner.
May Blitz, who kicked off the
programme during the afternoon, set the musical tone of implosion on Sunday
with a hard, driving set, full of catchy little riffs spun off by lead
guitarist Jimmy Black and amplified by Tony Newman on drums. They are
a funky little band, developing fast but lacking a little in variety at
present. A forthcoming tour of the States will help them to spread out
Acoustic guitarist Michael Chapman,
and Brett Marvin and the Thunderbolts, who treat their music (virtually
blues) with a fine mixture of irreverence and good-humour, set the scene
for an unexpected appearance by Humble Pie.
Their set seemed a little slow
in taking off, maybe due to their few public performances recently, and
the atmosphere they generated was decidedly low until the penultimate
number, and extended version of "Walk On Gilded Splinters,"
which was relaxed and bluesy, with Frampton's guitar sliding smoothly
in and out of Marriott's vocals. Generally, tough, somewhat disappointing.
Ian Matthews' Southern Comfort,
who followed, were similarly subdued with their brand of country rock
(if one has to put them in a bag this seems the most suitable description).
Gordon Huntley's steel guitar fills are beautifully composed and economical,
and Matthews had a most pleasing voice, full of wistful, aching textures,
but the overall sound seems to lack guts and drive. A bit superficial
In contrast, the MC5, who headlined,
were a joy to listen to for their unabashed exuberance, which they have
successfully harnessed to form one of the most professional rick bands
around. In fact, one does not listen to their sound, one is overwhelmed
by its volume.
Their use of two lead guitars
is extremely interesting, in that this extra power at the front enables
them to erect great slabs of intricate sound, whose texture and intensity
they are constantly building and lowering. Visually, too, they are a gas,
with lead guitarist Wayne Kramer twirling from the back of the stage up
to the mike to take a solo, or Rob Tyner, the vocalist, bumping and grinding
in the fact of the audience. Musically, honesty, it seems, is the best