The Ann Arbor News, Friday, August 16, 1968


by Doug Fulton

West Park - that's where the action used to be.
Gallup Park - that's where the action is now.
According to Don Borut, assistant city administrator, Gallup Park is the "best of a number of bad alternatives." But, in the words of John Sinclair, hear of the "MC5" and director of "Trans-Love Energies," "It's a great place, much better than we hoped for."

The "action," of course, is the Sunday afternoon rock concerts that have happened the last two years in West Park, causing joy to young Ann Arbor devotees of modern music and consternation in City Council chambers, and culminating in a council order on July 29 that prohibited "high output electronic musical instruments."

At that time City Administrator Guy C. Larcom. Jr., admitted that "loud electronic music is a form of entertainment for a particular segment of the population," and promised to attempt to locate some other location.

After searching the possibilities with the parks department and the university, Gallup Park was chosen.

"The area is substantially less populated," explained Borut, and the past two Sundays the bands have given concerts there "there have been almost no complaints."

He hastened to add that "Sinclair has been most cooperative" in helping to solve the problem of the city in finding an alternate location.

Last Sunday an audience of over 100 spectators, mostly "under 30, up-beat and cool" devotees, listened intently, applauded at times, and appreciated the four-hour performance. There were also a few of the "over 30 and up-tight" generation, who came to watch and see what the action was.

What they found were two bands, the "Wilson Mower Pursuit" of Birmingham and the "MC5" of Ann Arbor, playing before a backdrop of speaker cabinets and amplifiers powered by a portable generator, in the grassy expanse of land between the parking lot and the small lake, the Huron River on one side and the Penn Central Railroad tracks on the other.

The Wilson Mower Pursuit is young and fresh-faced. Typical kids from next-door, with perhaps longer hair, whose lead singer assures the audience "You'll love it" before each number.

After a two-hour set (the concert begins at about 3:00 p.m.) They unplugged their various guitars and mikes and gave way to Sinclair's MC5, older by somewhat, more polished, more inventive, and definitely louder, who communed with their audience in the hard-rock idiom for another two hours.

This reporter, even by dint of having two teen-agers in the house, is not an expert in the idiom, and will refrain from attempting a critical review.

Admittedly the music will not be everybody's cup of tea, but it is "what is happening" among the younger generation.

Somewhere, remembered vaguely from a college course in music appreciation, come the words "dissonant, loud, and vulgar." These were written by a contemporary critic - of Beethoven!

Even more vaguely remembered was a quote from an ancient Greek philosopher to the point that the modern generation of his time was going to pieces in a burry.

We seem to have survived, and probably will continue to do so.

As Borut says, "People are interested in the music, and we feel it is appropriate to provide an outlet if at all possible."

And Sinclair, a large and yet very gentle man, whose manner belies his appearance, comments, "We'd just like people to come and listen. We're not exclusive and have no desire to be. Perhaps many won't like our music, and that's fine with us, but for those who do enjoy it we intend to keep on."

This Sunday, barring bad weather, the MC5 will return, and several other bands - "UP," "3rd Power," "Dharma," "G-Nova-K," and the "Wilson Mower Pursuit" have indicated interest in coming too.

Remember - "Gallup Park. Where the action is."