Live, Masonic Auditorium Detroit, January 14, 1978.
180 gram vinyl.
Seemingly always overshadowed by either his more boisterous bandmates in the MC5 or his infamous punktress spouse, Patti Smith, Fred "Sonic" Smith always made the loudest racket possible waiting in the wings for his turn. The post-MC5 Sonic's Rendezvous Band--a Detroit proto-punk supergroup featuring the Stooge's Scott Asheton, the Rationals' Scott Morgan, and the Up's Gary Rasmussen--released one certifiable classic, CITY SLANG, essentially to public indifference. Originally part of a six-disc set in 2006 and then on its own in 2007, MASONIC TEMPLE, DETROIT 1978 aims to rectify the Rendezvous' status as a Detroit cult act and recast them as America's great lost hard rock band of the '70s.
The story goes that the Ramones specifically requested that Smith and Co. open for them, and on a freezing January night to a packed house, the hometown heroes ripped the lid off the joint. The set is only seven songs long--they were opening for the Ramones after all--but blistering versions of "Electrophonic Tonic," "Sweet Nothin," and "City Slang" come off as heavy garage essentials, with Smith's pop chops and undeniably vicious guitar tones highlighting the tracks. There may be no second acts in American lives, but clearly there are in Detroit garage.