The Sun Ra Arkestra
was the original interplanetary space jazz band. They started in the
50’s, have influenced countless musicians, and can’t be imitated, don’t
even try! Wondrous cacaphonies of horns envelop you, sometimes
squawking, sometimes melodic, always changing.
DTK is Mike Davis, Dennis Thompson, and Wayne Kramer of the MC5,
one of the genuine revolutionary bands of the late 60’s. They took it
all to new levels, both politically and musically. (Lead singer Rob
Tyner and rhythm guitarist Fred Smith died of heart attacks in the
Both bands played last night at Royce Hall at UCLA. It was quite amazing.
81 year old Marshall Allen fronts Sun Ra now. He looks and acts 50. The
band has mellowed a bit over the decades, so perhaps now they’re just
circling Saturn, not Pluto. Where they were twenty years ago is where
others might want to go now! To play seriously avant music, you need to
be excellent musicians. They are. They were also about the first to mix
musicial cultures in what is now called world music.
The MC5, what can I say, I’ve followed the band since day one and am
happy to report they blew the roof off. People were dancing in the
aisles. Guest vocals by Handsome Dick Manitoba, Lisa Kekaula, and Greg
Dulli made it even better, and Wayne Kramer remains a stunning guitar
player with the ferocious Thompson/Davis rhythm section churning underneath.
The finale, with everyone onstage, was the MC5’s “Starship” merging into Sun Ra’s “We Travel the Spaceways.”
Tomorrow night, also at Royce, Kris Kristofferson and Steve Earle!