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
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
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
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
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."