Yas, free music. Free livin’. Free heads. Free Old Tarter Field for awhile at the WABX free Sunday afternoon concert.
After three solid days of rain, the sun shone on Old Tarter Field July 20. Deep in the crotch between the John C. Lodge and Edsel Ford Expressways five bands jammed for the whole afternoon.
This is part of a regular series by WABX (underground radio in Detroit). The next event will be Sunday afternoon, August 3 in Palmer Park. Two weeks following that another free concert will be held on the steps of the Detroit Public Library.
This Sunday the sounds were free. Dig it? Free. No $4.50 fees or tolls. No hand-stamps. No shoving for seats. No over-17 age limit. Free and open. Even the pigs were cool. Mostly black Guardians. Doing wheelies all over the lawn on their little Honda scooters.
Playing, alive and golden, were Plum Wine, Virgin Dawn, Savage Grace, SRC, and the Wilson Mower Pursuit. Five of the reasons Detroit has one of the toughest rock and roll scenes in the world. Because of their responsibility to the community, all of these bands played for free.
Among the bands, both the Savage Grace and the Wilson Mower Pursuit are getting their shit together and developing into tight, heavy groups. But the medal for Distinguished Service goes to SRC.
SRC is becoming a people’s band. They’ve been playing wherever and whenever they can—at free gigs and benefits as well as the paying engagements. The results are beginning to show.
SRC has been building a reputation. And they’ve been feeding off the energy from their audiences all along the way.
And this is right, because all this energy is coming back in a together sound that’s reaching people because it’s rooted right here in nitty-gritty industrial Detroit.
The SRC is becoming an organic thing. It’s feeding from and nourishing at the same time the strength of our community. They’re growing up the same way the MC5, the Frost and the Amboy Dukes did.
On this Sunday, the SRC led off a hard set with a song by Bob Dylan, “Dear Landlord,” as well as “Up All Night” and their famous “Hall of the Mountain King/ Bolero.”
On stage the whole time they were drinking Red Ripple Wine (which you know with Boone’s Farm Apple Wine is Detroit’s national drink). And they were having as good a time as the people in the audience. Like Donovan once said, “I dug them digging me in Mexico.”
The official WABX crowd estimate was better than 4000 people. An unofficial estimate said that many people plus 568 kids and 43 dogs.
The concert was publicized only on WABX radio. This shows the power of our alternative—our alternative culture, our alternative politics, our alternative society.
4000 people for the first concert! This represents something real. But something to remember: As they announced on WABX, the concert was jointly sponsored by the Mayor and the Park and Recreation Commission.
Now it’s cool if the Mayor digs people getting together for free music on a Sunday afternoon. As long as he thinks it’s ok, it’s nice to have the city willing to cooperate. But the Mayor is going along in an effort to control us and channel our furious energies.
Because the Mayor thought it was cool once, it don’t mean he’s going to go along every time. As soon as the music gets dangerous, as soon as it’s out of his hands, the clamps will come down. The mayor is a liberal, and this is how the liberals hope to rule the people.
To love, we must live.
To live, we must survive.
To survive, we must fight.
Right now in Ann Arbor, the people are fighting the city power structure for the right to hear their music. In Berkeley the fight was over turf—land for a park. Remember the pigs still hassle our people every night in Detroit. Remember that all kinds of people are getting fucked over every day in the city and the suburbs. 4000 people is potential power. But it’s also potential conflict—when the truce is over.
For instance, Tartar Field where the concert was held backs up on Hobart St. where 35 clergymen were arrested two years ago in a sit-in demonstration by the West Central Organization against urban renewal.
If 4000 people had come down while WCO and the neighborhood residents were fighting Wayne State University for control of the land, Wayne State and its phony urban renewal program would have driven none of those people out and boarded up their homes. Power to us, the People.
It’s a good thing to be together for the afternoon with 4,000 brothers and sisters. WABX should be commended for its role of service to the community. And the ice-cream man at the concert should be commended for giving ten percent of his profits to the Open City organization.
The exploiters and opportunists suck. Be ready for the next free WABX free Sunday free afternoon free concert at 2 pm Sunday, August 3 at Palmer Park, north of McNichols on Woodward. Bring your own high. It’s going to be bigger yet.