MC50 Tear Down The Commodore Ballroom

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Reviewer: Shila Bimji

Photographs: Sharon Steele

Starcrawler (opener), Main act: MC5

Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, Canada 

October 17, 2018 

Opening for MC5 was LA based band “Starcrawler”. This young band is noted for their crazy on-stage antics and their performance in Vancouver followed suit, with the “Voodoo Zombie” infused lead singer Arrow de Wilde terrorizing the crowd by either spitting blood/water in the face of a photographer or falling into the crowd to be guided back onto the stage to continue unleashing her wild factor. 

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Although this wasn’t classed as an official MC5 reunion, I felt that that the collective that were gathered did so in celebration of their 50th anniversary which included MC5 member Wayne Kramer, Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil, Fugazi, drummer Brendan Canty and Zen Guerrilla frontman Marcus Durant replacing the original members. 

Considering that the majority of the original members have passed, I felt that the super group collective did their due diligence in paying tribute in their own way to the music of MC5. The performance seemed to be more for their love of the band than the audience. Everyone acted as though they were teenagers living out the dreams of their younger selves who probably air guitared to the music of MC5 back in the day in between high school classes. It was adorable.  

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Unfortunately as we progress with the review I have to stop calling them MC5 simply because the name of the band had to be changed to MC50 due to legal reasons and to signify the 50th anniversary. Because of the name change on the advertisements, I suspect this is why the Commodore was less than half sold, however, those that were there wore smiles on their faces.   

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Marcus Durant took care of almost all of the vocals during the show. He was an extremely charismatic frontman. There were moments in which the spirit of nostalgia came out in his performance which made me smile. Watching him made me disappointed with some of the new bands that refuse to be front men. What happened to the era of great front men? We need this back again! 

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The audience got to hear all the songs that they wanted to as it was a celebration of 50 years of a band. This was the main selling point of the gig tonight.  

The band kept it simple on stage and just allowed themselves to deliver the message to the audience who wanted to relieve some of their old youth memories through song.