MC5 Live at Beat Forum
23rd of November 1972,
Gladsaxe, Denmark

by Anders Röder

    Around 1000 people attended the concert held by Beat Forum in Hoeje Gladsaxe salen also known as The Kennedy Gym. The doors opened at 7.30 pm. Admission was Danish Kroner 7,- (US$ 0.85). The announced support band "Day of Phoenix" had dissolved and therefore been replaced by the Danish psychedelic band "Alrune Rod". As evidenced in the translated reviews below the majority of the audience was quite young and presumably much better acquainted with the support band than with the MC5. But as can be witnessed from the recording of the concert and the reviews MC5 put on a great show even without Tyner, getting the crowd on their feet.
    While a few people in Denmark knew of MC5 through their first LP it is likely to believe that most of these never got past it onto the second LP with its very different sound. So the anticipation to seeing the band would presumably be the sonic blast and politic exclamations of that first LP as the reviews also shows. This is also backed by Peder Bundgaard who attended the concert with his friend the now deceased Danish poet and counter cultural hero Dan Turell. He remembers how he would have "Kick Out the Jams" on the record player constantly in the weeks prior to the concert expecting it to be a sonic blast but recalling it as being more of a straight forward rock concert. He also remembers how he was somehow put off by the Landau sound on "Back in the USA" having a hard time relating to that LP.

Wayne Kramer
Bataclan, Paris '72
      The original Hoeje Gladsaxe Beat Forum scene headed by Peter Nielsen existed 1970-75. Later attempts were made of reliving the scene without Peter Nielsen. Beat Forum evolved out the counter cultural milieu that had formed in Denmark in the late sixties. Several Danish cities saw in these years local initiative towards regular attendance of rock, jazz or theatrical groups.      
Fred Smith
Bataclan, Paris '72

These arrangements were covered financially against loss by the commune who would also grant the permission for a place to be used.
The idea with Hoeje Gladsaxe Beat Forum was to raise money for the local youth centre. To better conditions for the children in the commune of Hoeje Gladsaxe. The hall itself contained room for an audience of 3500 and the concerts received attendance from many parts of Zeeland eventually resulting in audience record of 2300 people attending the Beat Forum concert held on the 4th of November 1972, the concert prior to the MC5 appearance.
    While the concert on the 4th of November had evolved into a riot with fights, sinks torn out and smashed, and broken bottles scattered around, local paper "Bagsvaerd Folkeblad" printed a letter of complaint on the 16th of November from local college headmaster Ulf Oestergaard against Beat Forum, complaining that the arrangements could hardly be called local as two thirds of the audience would be from outside of Hoeje Gladsaxe commune, that the Beat forum concerts incited minors to get in touch with alcohol and hash and that the permission for Beat Forum to hold concerts should be re-evaluated (Despite Beat Forum's prompt offer to cover all damages resulting from the riot). Furthermore Ulf Oestergaard anticipated anxiously the expectance of a US rock group on the 23rd of November (i.e. the MC5) rumouring it to be playing at 3000 watt and using a motorbike (!) on stage.

    Regular attendant to the Beat Forum concerts in the period 1970-72 Lars Persson recalls how he and his hippie friends as teenagers would be riding their mopeds the 30 miles from their local town Hilleroed in North Zeeland to attend the Beat Forum concerts. Sometimes they would end up too drunk and stoned after a concert to make it back home having to spend the night freezing on a staircase. He remembers the concert room as being a candle lit room, furnished with practical institutional type of chairs and tables in the back of the room where those intent on romance or preparing pipes of hash would locate. Between the tables and the spotlighted stage the audience would be attending the concert sitting on the floor.

    That MC5 literally got the audience on their feet can in actuality be heard on the tape recording from the concert. Before MC5 begins "Let it Rock" shouts can be heard from members in the audience: "Saet jer ned..saet jer ned…" (I.e.:"Sit down, sit down…"). The guy who did the recording was sitting on the floor as well. During the next number "Gloria" one can sense the excitement building in the audience when then suddenly a few bars into "Tonight" the sound on the recording starts to blur and lower in volume.
A lot of people seem to at last have tired of the demands of sitting down and risen up and then "Tonight" really starts cooking -the clapping gets louder and more intense- evolving into a long hard hitting jam…
    While Beat Forum (as well as other locally oriented scenes) was dominantly a west coast, and to a lesser extent jazz, oriented hippie scene the concerts would also be attended by local biker prospects trying to harass the audience and starting fights. Lars Persson recalls how some of the hippies would fight back eventually forcing the biker prospects to give up their harassment. Peter Nielsen would later hire some of these biker prospects as concert guards this way trying to adopt them to the scene as to keep their attending buddies from starting trouble.
    While "big" acts like Alice Cooper and Tina Turner, who played on the 20th and 24th of November respectively, was booked by some of the big established "capitalist" bookers to play in the large concert hall "KB Hallen" just outside Copenhagen it seems only natural that it was the counter cultural milieu of Beat Forum with their large attendance and hall that would be in charge of booking MC5 to the Copenhagen area.
    As Beat Forum was considered a local event according to the agreement with the Hoeje Gladsaxe commune the Beat Forum concerts were not allowed advertising outside of the communal border. To bypass these regulations posters advertising Beat Forum concerts would be made as ads for display in local busses this way bringing the announcement of the concert outside the communal border of Hoeje Gladsaxe and into the main Copenhagen area. The MC5 concert on the 23rd of November 1972 did however get mentioning in the concert calendar of the Danish leftist newspaper "Information" on the 20th of November and an article of advance publicity appeared in the politically moderate Danish newspaper "Politiken" on the 23rd of November.
    The hall itself still exists and while not presently in use for public concerts it is still used as party hall by the schools in the commune of Hoeje Gladsaxe.

Anders Röder, Copenhagen 2001/10/20


Notes on recordings of the concert and picture material:

    At least two recordings of the concert were made. One version exists as issued on the bootleg LP "Kick Copenhagen" (MOW 11). The other recording exists as a tape copy only. The version issued on the bootleg is the version which has most clearness in sound. The two versions differs from each other as the bootleg version has "Louie, Louie" as the last song after "Kick Out the Jams" which the tape version does not have. The tape version has however "Tonight" prior to "Kick Out the Jams". Otherwise the order of the songs is identical on both recordings.
From comparing the two versions of the concert it is evident that the two people who recorded it where located in different parts of the concert room. Presumably the person who did the recording used on the "Kick Copenhagen" LP where located closer to the stage.
Photos were taken by at least two photographers. Peder Bundgaard took pictures for the Danish music magazine M/M. Another photographer referred to as A.A. on the bootleg LP, took pictures also, some of which appears on the cover of the LP.

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