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A Predestination In Time – The SRC with Katie Grace, Magic Bag, Ferndale 2012

While I may have entertained thoughts of ingesting more LSD during the ride up Woodward Avenue north to Ferndale, such impulses were soon quelled by four-dimensional pixies bouncing on the seats around me while whispering in jabberwocky. Even as my flashbacks intensified, I lit a cigarette as a celebratory tribute to my arrival, watching my exhaled smoke envelope the acrobatic creatures in various hues of colour.

“Enjoy the show,” my driver smiled as he open my door. I exited the Lincoln, and found myself exactly in front of my destination, the Magic Bag in Ferndale.

Lysergic manifestations pulsated to life as I looked about the street. Mesmerized by elaborate formations taking shape on the sidewalk, I watched the SRC's first album cover spring to life on the concrete in front of the building. As my driver pulled away from the curb, the breeze of traffic swirled the mini-universe around me with a refreshing misty coolness.

I was digging this! My time-tripping and transitory lysergic hallucinations were becoming alternative realities and the excitement this afforded was addicting. My flashbacks were the perfect sign, and even my intuition told me that this night at the SRC reunion would be stellar!

It was still a few hours til showtime and the venue was not yet open, yet I was drawn to the entrance by colourful visuals of sound spilling out from the crevasses in the glass doors. As I pressed my face close and peeked through, my vision wound its way through the lobby til it found a group of musicians on the stage. Excited, I recognized the guitar of Steve Lyman as I heard “Checkmate” blasting forth. This was it—the SRC at sound-check! Bless my good fortune! I quickly resolved to see more and wandered around the block towards the back of the club, letting the music be my guide.

Ever since I was a kid, I would hang out with my older sister near the backstage entrance of music venues. She had found that often this would guarantee not just meeting the band, but even getting free admission. As I turned the block and continued a short distance, I came to an alley of sorts. Looking to my left, I noticed the theatre door slightly ajar. I stepped closer, and as the sound grew in euphoric sensation I slipped past the door and into the club.

I selected a seat a few rows back from center stage, sat back, and let my senses enjoy a fairly private sound-check performance by one of the top five Detroit-area bands to ever grace the Grande Ballroom stage.

This was already far above what I had anticipated, and my expectations for this evening were as high as I was! “Checkmate” wrapped up, followed by “Heatwave” and excerpts of “The Angel Song.” The band then flew in into a fuzzy version of “One Simple Task,” with “Black Sheep” weaving throughout the spaces of this utopian euphony.... This was freekin' far-out! It had been far too long since I had been digging on the SRC. They had represented of the Motor-City counter-culture since the sixties. I believed they had played a defining role in the evolution of the Detroit Music scene from black and white to glorious psychedelic colour.

When sound-check ended, I took my copy of the newest SRC poster over to the band members for them to sign. As I walked through the hall, the poster's colours and patterns kept spilling out and splattering onto the floor, no matter how steady I tried to hold it. Acid flashbacks—they're such a wonderful gift! However, I was still able to maintain, and presented the poster to the lead vocalist, Scott Richardson, to autograph. Upon his signing, we spoke of some past shows. Our conversation eventually drifted to that of time travel. I inquired as to the method he utilized, as mine was LSD. He smiled. “Moving forward or backward through the time stream is accomplished by meditative discipline, and the journey itself can be realized in less time than the blinking of a shaman's eye!”

“Oh, that's right. After all, we all are traveling through time and space to one degree or another.” I liked Scott. It had been quite a while since I had seen him at the Birmingham Palladium, when I was in my early teens. He had always had a way with people, and his warm personality was evident both on and off the stage. Snap, snap went my camera...

Scott called Steve Lyman over to where we were talking. “Steve, Mischa would like your signature on her poster.” This introduction made it easy for me to get the entire band to sign.

There was a lull prior to the show, offering me a chance to enjoy a cigarette. However, when I reentered the club, I noticed not a soul at the SRC merchandise counter, and concert-goers were asking around as to who was selling the merchandise. Spontaneously, I said “That's me!” I sat myself behind the table, arranged the items in proper display, and presto! An instant representative of SRC marketing, I began selling.

One thing about being at the merchandise table is that I was able to converse with and enjoy nearly all who came into the venue. It seemed that every soul who came in had a spirited story to tell of the Detroit music scene. Everything and everyone was covered, from the Grande days to Hastings Ballroom, Virgin Dawn and the whereabouts of Ray Gunn, to Frijid Pink and their unmatched ultra-sonic wall of fuzz-guitar. I finally met my pen-pal Kevin Fry, radio ace Doug Podell, and the ever vivacious Retro-Kimmer. This was way cool!

This was groovy. I spoke with Steve Farmer and Rick Lober of the original Amboy Dukes. According to Farmer, “The shows where we shared the bill with the SRC were always the best!” The SRC were one of the bands that represented the essence of the Grande Ballroom; they, along with their peers, were instrumental in defining the sound of the era.

Their legend had begun at the Hideout as the Fugitives, with the Gang as their rockin' collaborators. The Gang evolved into the Amboy Dukes and the Fugitives into the SRC. Both bands formed the core and spirit of the first golden age of Psychedelia. Their influences were to spread across the globe.

As I continued to converse with the people at the merchandise table, I barely noticed that the first act had begun playing. However, by her third song Katie Grace was rocking out an amazing performance that definitely had my attention, and by her final number the crowd was on their feet with a standing ovation. Her show was well above what I or others had possibly imagined. I had come tonight to see the SRC, and was now a converted fan of Katie Grace and her unique brand of folk rockin' music!

Martha (sister to the Quackenbush brothers) came up and introduced herself during intermission, and she and I became instant friends. The interlude between bands seemed to fly by, with everyone picking up items and exchanging rock stories talking about the glory of “What is Detroit!” when a shout went up and the SRC graced the stage amidst a fury of applause. This was the band that was here for us tonight, carrying on the spirit of the Grande Ballroom.

They opened their set with an anthem dedicated to all the rebels of society, “Black Sheep.” This was the sound of the counter-culture that had rebelled against the dehumanization of industry and establishment conformity. In perfect timing, Katie Grace showed up at the counter and offered to take over selling the merchandise of both bands. Martha and I then made our way to the front of the stage. I was now up close, front and center, enjoying the SRC, and was once again rocking out to the sound that had sealed their place in music history!

The audience resounded in a unison of shouts and cheers . The applause was near deafening, even as the final notes of Black Sheep faded into that nether-land of space-time eternity. This unquestionably had fired up the crowd, and the band made use of this energy to launch into....

End of Part 1 – (Stay tuned for Part 2)
Story is an excerpt from, The Incredible Adventures of Mischa

Read part 2

Column made by Michele Dawn Saint Thomas / 2012
© Copyright 2012

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