A fury of sound waves began flowing out from the stage. Here it was, “Checkmate,” the swirling keyboards of the wizardly Glenn Quackenbush infused with driving power. I was loving this band's energy and it was only to get better!
The SRC were demonstrating the groovy substance of the Motor-City '60s tonight, in such a manner that it was a savvy treat for even the most experienced psychedelic warrior!
“Heatwave,” “Who's That Girl and “No Secret Destination,” with those windy whirling keys and stinging guitars, were a tripper's delight! The vocals of the backing girls offered a unique spice in sound and style. This repertoire is what contributed to making the Detroit music scene the most creative and dynamic to ever exist on the planet.
As “The Angel Song” rang out, time seemed to freeze for a split second, then began spinning out in a melodic sequence of harmonies. This was the brilliance of the SRC. I was taken on a timeless journey through segments of my life: riding a palomino on my uncle's farm, rockin' at the Grande with my older sister, enjoying my first hits of LSD, hitchhiking to California, smoking grass while listening to Nursery Crymes (and noticing how much Genesis rocked out the vibe of the SRC's Milestones). With its melodiously beautiful orchestrated perfection, the memories and feelings that this number unleashed were limitless.
I have never heard a better adaptation of the Skip James blues classic “I'm So Glad” than that by the SRC, and tonight's rendition surpassed all expectations. The beat vibrated the house, giving off the spiritual feeling of a virtuous Detroit soul revival. Most of the faithful rose up and rocked on their feet throughout this ultra long version that had the entire audience clapping and singing along. If I didn't know better, I would have thought everyone in attendance had ingested hits of acid based on all the smiling faces and gleaming eyes surrounding me. I imagined we had all vibrated from 1967 though time and space and were now connected as one with the band in this new millennium. It was a magical revelation!
All the while, the beat grew more and more passionate, much like the pulsating of one's own heart. The arousal intensified as Scott Richardson, mid-way through this rocking classic, exclaimed in sermonized verse how “the Summer Of Love is now and forever in time eternal.” Sure, he was preaching to the choir, but no one was complaining, as the band's attitude and music were defying time itself! Throughout this lysergic wave of trans-dimensional time travel, Steve Lyman held the beat, moving gracefully like a man of the cloth, giving praise with hands in the air. I thought of all the places a person could be in the world at this point in time, and smiling to myself, I knew that I was “so glad” to be here, with the SRC!
Shades of vintage '60s, “Up All Night” was unleashed for the rapturous crowd. Scott's voice, in perfect balance with the backing vocals, together with Lyman's and Quackenbush's signature sounds, resulted in a song that was scorching hot.
A momentary break in the performance brought forth a still quietness that magically ushered in what was to be the final song of the band's set.
The notes of “Hall of the Mountain King/Bolero” began creeping beautifully about the place in a near sinister manner. As the repetition of sounds amplified in magnitude, they started growing their own psychedelic patterns of breathing colour. They then developed bodies and legs and began playfully dancing to the resplendency of life. These sensations multiplied in both speed and power. Faster! Louder! The band played their music as one, yet the sound charged out in many directions. It was intoxicating. Faster, Faster! Louder, Louder! The definitive moment came after the drum-roll, the clash of the symbols, and the beating of the toms. This percussion brought forth to front stage one of the greatest guitar virtuosos of psychedelia, Gary Quackenbush! His guitar dominated the hall, the standing-room-only crowd enjoying the everlasting sounds, note for note! Reverberations from his guitar sounded as if heaven itself had open up, and angels were now backing his epical playing with the horns and trumpets of divinity!
This was above and beyond mortal, the very libations in sound that could inspire the Titans themselves! Then Scott's almighty scream brought forth from the appreciative crowd an echoed return that filled the hall. The band wrapped up the song within a roaring cover of applause and graciously exited the stage.
Excitement from this rousing finale swept the venue; the people cheered and would not stop. In time, Doug Podell took the mic and led the crowd in chants for the return of one of Michigan's finest... “SRC! SRC!! SRC!!!”
Return they did. As the band retook the stage for an encore, SRC founder and keyboardist Glenn hit the keys, and the eternal notes of “Black Sheep” again flowed like streaming colours into the air. The guitars sliced harmonically through the river of sound and another version of the song was heard. The band had gone full circle, and the two versions of “Black Sheep” held the magic of this night together impressively. Inside, outside, start to finish.
It was an exhilarated, loquacious crowd that gathered after the show in the club's lobby. Retro-Kimmer and I, along with a few others, were invited to Como's Restaurant to hang with the band and enjoy conversation, food and spirits, and to there we walked, about a block away. This was great! So my earlier flashbacks as prophetic signs had been spot on. What a night!
After exchanging farewells, I stepped outside. No sooner had I fired up my cigarette, inhaled its cool menthol flavor and exhaled into the starry night sky, my driver appeared. As I entered the vehicle, it suddenly registered that my chauffeur looked familiar. Our eyes met in the rear-view mirror as an ear-to-ear grin spread across his face....Satori Circus!
“Bonsoir Madame!” “Bonsoir Monsieur!” my eyes opening saucer round.
“Where to next?” he quizzed. “What time is it?” I inquired. “It can be any time you desire,” was his reply. Satori Circus then handed me a business card with the wording: TRANS-LOVE ENERGIES UNLIMITED, and beneath this heading was the phrase “Gets You There On Time”.
“You're kidding—a business card from the White Panther Party for time-travel?” I jokingly remarked.
Scott Richardson and SRC
“It represents much more than that, Mischa,” came his reply, as he pulled into the hotel drive. “When you're up to traveling, call me at the 313 anytime.” I exited the auto, went up to my room, poured myself a drink and within moments, I was fast asleep.
Column made by Michele Dawn Saint Thomas / 2012
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