JULY 1970

26 Sunday / MC-5 , Matthew's Southern Comfort

Humble Pie (unexpected appearance) , May Blitz

*The Roundhouse*, London , UK

IMPLOSION  by Michael Watts - Melody Maker - 8.8.70

   On 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 more.
   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 perhaps.
   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 policy.