City Slang: SRC Turns Back The Clock At The Magic Bag

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The Magic Bag in Ferndale was full to bursting on Saturday night, as Detroit rockers young and old turned out to celebrate the fact that the SRC was playing its first show together in four decades. The Grande Ballroom cats were spread around the Bag, including artist Carl Lundgren (who designed a poster for the show) and photographer Leni Sinclair. Destroy All Monsters / Monster Island man Cary Loren was visibly excited, as was the Witches’ Troy Gregory. This show was, without a shadow of a doubt, a big deal.

First though, Outrageous Cherry had the task of warming up a crowd that was really only there to hear the headliner. Having said that, many of them had waited for 40 years, so another hour was never going to kill them. In fact, thanks to Matt Smith and his crew, the set was most pleasurable and the band turned out to be an inspired choice. The Cherry might not be veterans of the SRC standard, but they’ve still been around for a good long time and have honed a sound of very pleasant and melodic psychedelic pop-rock. If Marshall Crenshaw had been in a Nuggets-era band, it would have sounded like Outrageous Cherry and written songs like “Young and Miserable”.

And so to the SRC, who were predictably magnificent. The three-guitar attack of Gary Quackenbush and Steve Lyman (original members), and Ray Goodman (later member, also of the Detroit Wheels) sounded immense, while Glenn Quackenbush added neat frills from behind his keyboard stack. Contrary to my preview blog a few days ago, the drum stool was filled by former Bossmen and Popcorn Blizzard (featuring Meatloaf) man Pete Woodman and he too sounded huge, as did bassist Ralph McKee (lawyer by day). Original bassist Robin Dale even flew over from China for the show and made an appearance on stage, though he did look mildly awkward singing backing vocals in his Asian gown. Still, it was good to see him up there.

Every song a fan might want to hear was played, from the singles “Black Sheep” and “I’m So Glad” to this writer’s personal favorite, “OneSimpleTask”. The cover of Martha Reeves’ “Heat Wave” was a little cabaret, but what the hell. Singer Scott Richardson was having the time of his life and he could even be forgiven when he slowed his band down for the umpteenth time and told the women in the crowd that he loved making love to them all night long, “from midnight to 6 a.m., and then we started all over again”. A touch cheesy, but fuck it. Let’s allow the guy to enjoy the spotlight. Most importantly, his voice sounded perfect.

The expectation leading up to this show was such that anything other than fireworks would have been an anticlimax. The fact that everyone was leaving sporting beaming smiles speaks volumes.

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