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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Kick Out The Jams (Live)

MC5

1969

Buy At Rough Trade
Kick Out The Jams (Live)
Album Summary

Kick Out the Jams is the debut album by American proto-punk band MC5. It was released in February 1969, through Elektra Records. It was recorded live at Detroit's Grande Ballroom over two nights, Devil's Night and Halloween, 1968. The LP peaked at No. 30 on the Billboard 200 chart, with the title track peaking at No. 82 in the Hot 100. Although the album received an unfavorable review in Rolling Stone magazine upon its release, it has gone on to be considered an important forerunner to punk rock music, and was ranked number 294 in both 2003 and 2012 editions of Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" lists, and at number 349 in a 2020 revised list.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.92

Votes

11250

Genres

  • Rock
  • Psychedelic Rock

Reviews

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Sun May 23 2021
1

Oh, boy, I'm gonna get in trouble for this one. This album is considered by many as holy writ, and MC5 has a reputation as a forerunner of punk, and for good reason. MC5 has two cards to play: raw aggression and high energy. The singers can't sing, the guitarist can't play, the music is as basic as can be, and they still can't execute it worth a damn. These guys make The Stooges look like effete music snobs that attended Julliard. Hard pass. 0/5

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Fri Mar 19 2021
5

“Kick Out the Jams” (Live) by MC5 (1969) Ok, folks, listen up. If you’re from southeastern Michigan (or otherwise sentient) and think you ‘get’ the cultural revolution of the 1960s without knowing this album or group, you are undereducated. This is an important album. There are eight tracks, which can be summarized as: Sex, Sex, Sex, Sex, Sex, Revolution, Sex, and Fantasy. Sex is the vehicle; Revolution is the substance; Fantasy is the prognosis. Focus on the substance. In “Motor City Is Burning”: “Ya know, the Motor City is burning people There ain't a thing that white society can do Ma home town burning down to the ground Worser than Vietnam Let me tell you how it started now ... It started on 12th and Clairmount that morning It made the beat cops all jump and shout Ah said, it started on 12th and Clairmount that morning It made the pigs in the street freak out The fire wagons kept comin', baby But the Black Panther snipers wouldn't let them put it out Well, there were fire bombs bursting all around Ya know there were soldiers standing everywhere I said there was fire bombs bursting all around me Ya know there was National Guard everywhere Ah can hear my people screaming Sirens fill the air, fill the air, fill the air Ah said, the Motor City is burning, people I ain't hanging round to fight it out Ah said, the Motor City is burning, people Just not hang around to fight it out Well, I'm taking my wife and my people and they're on TV Fireman's on the street, people all around Now, I guess it's true I'd just like to strike a match for freedom myself I may be a white boy, but I can be bad, too Yes, it's true now, yes, it's true now Let it all burn! Let it all burn! Come on baby! Come on baby!” A frank recognition here of the understated strategy: the way to ‘let it burn’ is to shoot the firemen. This music inspired me as a teenager. Nixon, however, was not pleased. 5/5

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Thu Apr 29 2021
5

Powerful primal proto punk. Feels like the band is literally on fire, screaming in the bowels of hell. All live albums should be like this.

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Mon Apr 12 2021
1

I remember music snobs in college loving this and not getting it. Still don't get it. Kind of sounds like shit.

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Fri Oct 20 2023
3

I'm impressed by the band's punk energy, especially for 1969, but most of these songs are just about sex despite all the stuff at the beginning about starting a revolution and changing the world. It's annoying to hear a band pretend to be about something grand but then sing songs about simultaneous orgasms instead. I'm pretty sure that most people wouldn't exist without sex; MC5 hadn't discovered something monumental. It's ok to make songs about fucking but say something important if you promise to change the world.

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Tue May 25 2021
2

Lame rock n roll messiness. I'm sure it's inspirational to heaps of early punks and blah blah blah, but 2/5.

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Sun Jun 18 2023
5

Primal, unrelenting rock fury. 5 stars, motherfucker.

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Wed Sep 06 2023
5

I still have my U.S. pressing of this album that I purchased from Ashwoods for $1.50. Like any Stooges or VU albums, they couldn’t give this record away. I always thought it was one of the most raucous live albums I’d ever heard. But it wasn’t until later that decade, particularly when I got into Radio Birdman, that I appreciated the part this record played in promoting the so-called Detroit Sound. In 2004, I finally got to see the remnants of the band at Selinas when they were on their world tour as DKT-MC5, with Michael Davis, Wayne Kramer & Dennis Thompson in a band padded out by guests, including Deniz Tek from Birdman & Evan Dando from The Lemonheads. They were terrific. They opened with Ramblin’ Rose (one of the great live album openers of all time) & included all 4 songs from Side 1 of the album, and nothing from Side 2. Unfortunately my pressing has John Sinclair’s (see song about him by John Lennon)word “motherfuckers” overdubbed by “brothers & sisters” in the intro to Kick Out The Jams, but what a track. Tyner’s vocals are so crazy on this record. Anyway, I’m a fan. I love the covers. They’d played with The Troggs in ‘68 - I’m not sure what they’ve done here with I Want You, but it certainly rocks. And whatever Sun Ra had to do with Starship, it’s a cacophony that makes perfect sense. I imagine. Great production by Bruce Botnick. In the 60’s, you rarely got noisy live recordings that were this clear.

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Mon Jun 14 2021
2

The soundtrack for going batshit crazy, overdosing on ketamine, sweating and screaming in a crowd of 164 people doing the same in a smashed up, crackhut in the woods. I definitely see the appeal. The guitar solos in "motor city is burning" are the most washed up shitscrambles of early rock and roll and punk tropes I have ever heard though.

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Tue Apr 27 2021
1

Dumbfounded this was in the list. Shockingly bad

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Fri Sep 24 2021
1

People revere this album. I have no idea why. Someone influential must have once said it's essential and now it's a "the emperor's not wearing any clothes" scenario. I mean, this is utter sh!t. Tuneless noise, pointless rage.... just... no.

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Tue May 04 2021
5

This album ROCKS. It's kind of amazing that it's from 1969, as it wouldn't be out of place ten years later at the onset of punk. Similar feelings about the Stooges album that we listened to recently. I hadn't had a listen in a while and it was great to get reacquainted.

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Mon Jan 31 2022
5

Testify! Kick Out The Jams is one of the best debut albums and one of the best live albums of all time. This and the Stooges debut are the birth of punk. I can not describe how much I love this album. I'd the name MC5 for years seeing the name dropped by so many bands. Pre internet it was nearly impossible to track this stuff down. Hearing the Bad Brains version of Kick Out The Jams while watching Pump Up The Volume finally put the music to the name and got the reverence for the band straight away. I don't think I listened to this album in whole until I went out and bought it finding out I was to design the poster for a special show by MC5/DTK. I have never been so excited by designing anything as much as that poster.

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Thu Aug 25 2022
5

I know MC5 for one reason: the Presidents of the United States of America covered "Kick Out the Jams" on their debut album. The Presidents' version is far more polished, which is hardly surprising given how raw MC5's original is. And that raw sound—which borders on amateurish at times—defines the entire album. But that's not criticism; it's what makes the album quintessential proto-punk. The fact that it was recorded live emphasizes the lack of polish and allows their personality to shine. I was originally set to give this three stars, but then I listened to it again ... and again. And a little more. And it holds up. The track that stands out the most is "Motor City is Burning," not necessarily because it's better than the rest, but because it's the bluesy eye of the sonic storm, providing a stark contrast from the proto-punk chaos that surrounds it. But I'm not seeing a throwaway track here. They're all solid. The album's loud and dirty and imperfect, and that feels just about perfect.

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Fri Mar 29 2024
5

SO good. Can you imagine having been at that show?

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Fri Jul 09 2021
4

Decent, OG punk but with Jimmy Hendrix vibes. 4/5.

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Mon May 30 2022
3

Je n'ai pas eu la moindre nouvelle de mon camarade d'écoute robtheillère depuis plusieurs semaines. Si vous avez quelconque information à partager, merci de me contacter sous le review du prochain album de Stevie Wonder. Merci d'avance.

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Fri Apr 15 2022
2

Is fully what it is – which is mainly chaotic and screechy. I guess you had to be there. Might also help to know more about the jams they were aiming to kick out and how/why they were/are different than countless other politically outraged combos yowling their heads off in garages around middle America. Maybe just screechier and more chaotic? The big, slabby, psychedelic guitar riffs are decent; one half-expects them to break into “Wild Thing” at a few moments. Their oft-repeated “thank yous” at the end of every song are interesting; for outraged protesters, they seem awfully grateful and even mannerly toward the audience (not that that’s a bad thing). What this is not is musical or very listenable. Like, literally – it’s nearly impossible to hear what’s being shouted … er, sung. Also seems worth noting that a good bit of what's audible sounds like it might be about love and, you know, girls, not the military industrial complex, the pigs, racism, etc (though of course one can make out a bit of that stuff, too). Lastly, would Sun Ra consider this a tribute? Maybe including one (or more) of his records would help us know. 1.5 for 2 (and only because rounding up makes me feel slightly better about my lack of political commitment and because I’m sure the live shows were fun and as many got laid as achieved consciousness-raising).

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Wed Sep 01 2021
1

This was so laughably bad I'm not sure how it snuck onto this 1001 list. 1/10.

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Fri Feb 25 2022
1

This album definitely puts the "proto" in "proto-punk", as this really does feel like an unfinished, beginner's prototype for punk music, if that can be imagined. The spirit of punk is present though: they are making loud noise and they don't give a shit. This has very unpolished production, mediocre execution, and for my taste, is almost unlistenable. While I get that this is heralded for being the birth of punk music, I'd rather just listen to some "post-birth" punk music that has better production and execution. As stated, the spirit of punk is here in its proto state, but the majority of this album was just not very good.

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Fri Jan 26 2024
1

Jesus Christmas this blew. Singers who can’t sing. Musicians who can’t play. Engineers & producers who can’t engineer & produce. And the worst example of a 60’s band that “thinks it has something to say “.

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Sat May 15 2021
5

One of the all-time great live records. Definitely a favorite of mine.

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Thu Oct 14 2021
5

chaotic, rebellious energy, motherfuckers!

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Sun Oct 24 2021
5

A good case can be made that punk has its origins in the late 1960s garage rock scene in Detroit which includes the Stooges and MC5. MC5 is what you get when people with counterculture sympathetic beliefs get angry and aggressive. The music is messy, distorted, and frenetic. Along with the purposefully provocative lyrics and stage show, MC5 is clearly a herald of the nascent punk scene

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Wed Feb 02 2022
5

I'd heard this before, thanks to The KLF and Primal Scream. It really is phenomenal, lightning in a jar energy. Wish I'd been there, dude.

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Thu Feb 10 2022
5

Great performance, great songs!

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Mon Feb 21 2022
5

Fantastic album one of the best live albums of all time - Raw true insperaters love this album

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Mon Mar 14 2022
5

First time listening to MC5, and Iv had this on repeat all day. This is one of the best live albums Iv ever heard. Brilliant and can see the influence this band had on punk music that was to follow. The mix of blues and garage rock and the raw aggression and high energy makes it a five star album in my book.

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Wed Mar 23 2022
5

Let's be honest with ourselves, live albums are a bit shit, that's just a fact. Capturing the magic of a great band live is nigh on impossible. So if this truth is held to be self evident and Kick Out The Jams is this good, MC5 must have been an absolute force of nature to see live in person. This is everything that is good about rock n' roll - heavy, high energy, raw, intelligent, super cool, sleazy, punky, bluesy - all the good adjectives. So effortlessly iconic that they have the dubious honour of having their logo worn by teenager influencers who wouldn't know a white panther if it jumped up and bit a hole in their $100 t-shirt. KICK OUT THE JAMS MOTHER FUCKER!!!

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Thu Apr 28 2022
5

KICK OUT THE JAMS MOTHERFUCKERS PREFS: TOUT MOINS PREF: RIEN

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Wed May 04 2022
5

Holy fuck. Let me repeat that just in case you didn't catch it the first time. HOLY FUCK. The energy emanating from this album could power all the homes in Detroit for a year. It's rare that a band's debut album is a live album, but I can see why in this case. It's hard to overstate the power of this album and its importance in the history of rock n' roll. Gotta give it up to my motor city homeboys the MC5. 5 stars.

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Wed Aug 03 2022
5

Find me another punk band who can play seven quality songs and then record the absolute insanity of Starship; Won't be easy. The solos leave something to be desired. That about sums it up: This was an energizing listen, stands up against the intervening decades of music, and still sounds like it's coming from the bottom of a dirty bucket. What more can a guy ask for?

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Mon Aug 22 2022
5

"Brothers and sisters, the time has come for each and every one of you to decide whether you are going to be the problem or whether you are going to be the solution." Well, this record is undoubtably the solution. Absolute masterpiece.

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Thu Aug 25 2022
5

Hard fast 60s in your face rock. Totally my style.

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Thu Sep 15 2022
5

This album totally rocked! Super impressed, one of the best punk albums—or live album I've ever heard. Had never heard of these guys but will dig into them more and for sure being replaying this. Really resonated with me upon first listening.

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Mon Jan 16 2023
5

More bands should make their live albums their first album.

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Fri Feb 03 2023
5

Great punk album! I loved it!

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Thu Feb 09 2023
5

Might be a 5. This is right, electrifying, and a taproot for my favorite features in music. Kick Out the Jams was of course a stellar song but that intro, and every other song was blistering

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Wed Mar 08 2023
5

Pure Pre-Punk, Detroit style. Power rock at its finest.

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Fri Apr 07 2023
5

Man, 1969, what a time to be alive. And this album is ALIVE. Absolutely electric. You can hear a revolution. You can hear everything that punk rock would become. It goes 0-60 in 3 seconds flat and never takes any 1 of those 10 feet off the gas. (Except for in those pesky fade-outs which seem entirely unnecessary today and are probably just a relic of where and when this album was mixed. And honestly, there’s a bit of of character and appeal in that imperfection. A certain marinade for the raw flavor dished up across all 8 tracks.) I’ve never listened to MC5 or heard of this album. But this is just awesome. Great, great live album. THIS IS THE HIGH SOCIETY. I dig the experimental bend in “Starship” but don’t dig that song as a closer. This needed a high energy encore to take us home. 4+, rounding-up-to 5 STARS! Also just so great to hear a punk band behind before there was any inclination of what a punk band was. A punk band pulling on all their influences from rock n roll, to blues, to drawn-out, experimental droning. Just following taste and natural inclination, these 5 created something wholly new. Not unlike that which that other 5—Grandmaster Flash’s—created with the Message.

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Fri May 12 2023
5

Generally don't care for live albums, but I wanna be part of the solution, man!! Fuck yeah!!!

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Sun May 28 2023
5

Shocking nobody, I really liked this. There's no shortage of people who will tell you all about how important this album was for American culture. I won't waste your time with another recitation. Just know that it's true. This one was huge. But we're here for the music, right? And, from a musical perspective, "Kick Out The Jams" is an amazing moment at the crossroads of genres. It's a "missing link" album that shows the moment in time when the Vietnam-era rock peaceniks stopped "making love not war" and their anger with American nationalist culture boiled over and became something new. Something sonically violent and disruptive and impossible to ignore. It's a snapshot of a transition and I'd love it for that alone. But, lucky for us, that's not all that's here. It's right at the edge of punk with all of the violent energy that implies but it's ALSO at the end of the 60s with all of the layered psychedelic guitars and wild rhythms that come with the time period. This is still '69, after all. Influenced by their contemporaries like Hendrix, King Crimson, The Who, and more, MC5 brings serious musical chops to the stage. The guitars are every bit as shreddy and psychedelic as Floyd and the grooves grind every bit as hard as a Zeppelin joint. It's got everything you want in an album from '69 AND it brings the revolutionary energy of a punk band. How can you not love that?! It's musically fantastic. Add to that its cultural importance and it's an easy 5 for me.

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Thu Jun 01 2023
5

Fuck you! This is the high society, this is the real high society!!! 🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕

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Tue Jun 20 2023
5

Are we allowed to give 7 stars?

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Mon Jul 03 2023
5

4.5 this is amazing and so not what i was expecting! the first song set the bar high but the rest didn’t disappoint. i also listened to jeff buckley’s cover of the titular song and it’s stunning. mc5 were wayy ahead of their time this shit still slaps even though i don’t usually enjoy live albums. hard to choose a favourite but i want you right now followed by starship is one of the best song pairings i’ve heard in a while and such a good end to the album. there were moments i found myself tuning out of and i don’r remember being blown away by borderline hence the reduction of .5 but really overall i had an amazing time with this.

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Sun Jul 09 2023
5

10/10 genius proto-punk, absolutely loved this I would love to start listening to their other stuff

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Wed Sep 06 2023
5

ahhh that is where kiss got their sound from

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Thu Sep 21 2023
5

I think the most remarkable thing about this is that it’s late 60s. If it was I’m the late 70s I could get it. But this ran way ahead of its time.

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Mon Nov 27 2023
5

I don't get it. How can your debut album also be a live album. It's like the chicken and the egg. Did the music some first or the tour. In order to tour, you've gotta have music that people have listened to, which, you know, requires an album unless you were playing on the corner or in the subway. Anyway, live album.... but then again... this can't possibly be a compilation because they don't have any other albums in order to compile from. What a quandary I'm found myself in. Well, given that they compiled something out of nothing...

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Mon Jan 01 2024
5

What a fantastic album! I really loved the thrashy, heavy, punk sound from this band. I never heard of them until now and I will definitely keep this album in my records! So good! Favorite Song(s): "Kick Out the Jams", "Rocket Reducer", "Motor City Is Burning"

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Fri Jan 05 2024
5

Undeniable energy wants to get up and turn the stereo louder itself

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Fri Feb 16 2024
5

I expected to hate this based on the reviews but after listening, this is what rock n roll should be. Intense energy, in your face lyrics, and just absolutely melting faces while going nuts. 10/10. I can see the hype.

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Mon Apr 08 2024
5

One of the first punk rock record. You can’t live it enough!

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Thu Apr 25 2024
5

I'll never forget when I stumbled over a YouTube recording of MC5 playing on a 1972 German television broadcast of Beat Club. Rob Tyner's larger-than-life stage presence and afro bobbing around as he glistened and fist-pumped his way through "Kick Out The Jams" instantly made me lose my cool. From the drop they don't miss; the band opens with four titanic blasts of guitar, bass and drums, and throughout the whole set are clearly in tight command of their groove. I wish this record were as well-mixed as that broadcast was! MC5 is clearly an essential document of its time and forerunner to punk - have to give it five stars, but it bums me out to know even Wayne Kramer described this recording as not their best night.

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Fri Apr 26 2024
5

Again, so heavy for the 60's?? Loving it. Absolutely brilliant

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Fri May 17 2024
5

Hail to the Motor City! Awesome energy.

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Mon Oct 19 2020
4

Noisy world changing rock n roll

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Fri Jan 22 2021
4

Without having a background info, I really didn't enjoy this or the band. But after reading about the importance of the band and some of their songs, I can see why it was included in the 1001. MC5 was one of the first punk bands ever, being around in the 60s. They were also extremely influential in counter culture and provided an outlet for some of the things that were happening in the US at the time, especially Detroit. I need to go listen to their later album to see how their sound changed over their short run

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Tue May 25 2021
4

That first track is very RCE. I love it. Honestly this whole thing makes me miss live shows, I can't wait for their return. First 3 songs are very nice. The following songs aren't as good except for Motor City is Burning and Starship is.. I'm not sure, pretty indulgent but of 1969 probably way more novel. I think I like proto-punk. This could come out this year and I'd believe it.

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Tue May 25 2021
4

Punk clearly originated in Detroit with the MC5 & The Stooges. Not usually a huge fan of live albums but I think it works well here to capture their raw energy. Quite soulful to boot which most of the punk that came later lacked (except The Clash). Disappointed Spotify has the edited version of the song "Kick out the Jams" here on this album - go listen to the real deal with the proper intro on one of the many compilations in their discography. It's only a matter of seconds but it makes a huge difference.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
4

Wicked strong vibes. Really raw and powerful. .

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Tue May 25 2021
4

It's easy to understand, listening to this, how they became influential in a short amount of time. Their sound is exciting, electric, captivating. My only previous exposure to this was RATM's cover of Kick Out the Jams, but I think I might be a new fan.

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Thu Apr 29 2021
4

Rockero, enérgico, muy vital

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Tue Apr 27 2021
4

Omdat het MC5 is, maar live-albums vind ik nooit leuk om naar te luisteren

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Mon Jun 21 2021
4

Dit is duidelijk een punk-album. 1 clipje op YT start zelf met de woorden 'the most dangerous band in America' . Muzikaal niet echt een hoogvlieger, maar wel van genoten

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Wed Mar 17 2021
4

My sort of music. Good and rocky.

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Mon Apr 26 2021
4

Füllt echt eine musikhistorische Lücke!

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Mon Apr 26 2021
4

Mir vollends neu, aber schönes Album!

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Tue Apr 20 2021
4

The sound of Detroit setting fire to the 60's and kicking the door open for punk to eventually rip up what became of the 70s. Takes balls for your debut album to be a live recording but it captures the incendiary nature of MC5 more than any studio would. And right now...Right now.....Right now its time to...

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Mon Apr 19 2021
4

Live albums are fun. I like rock like this. I'm not good at reviews but I'm thankful for the project.

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Sun Jun 06 2021
4

Powerful and raw live performance. I enjoyed it.

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Tue May 18 2021
4

Wow is this ahead of it's time. No wonder it's such a big influence

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Fri Sep 03 2021
4

Kick out the jams is all you need to know about this record. Incendiary sloppiness that was a building block for punk rock that came a few years later. Messy greatness

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Fri Sep 17 2021
4

Kick out the jams mother fu———

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Fri Sep 24 2021
4

Would never have guessed this was from the 60's. I liked it

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Thu Oct 14 2021
4

Honestly, this is just a fun album. It's innovative in certain ways, of its time in others, but it seems like this would have been a fucking awesome concert to go to. Just constant wailing guitars and rock 'n roll yelling 4/5

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Thu Jan 13 2022
4

Cool album. Wasn't familiar with this band but will probably listen to them again.

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Fri Feb 11 2022
4

This live album is indeed a grotesque riot of musical cruelty and primitivism, but also an impressive example of destructive power and music of the heart. After that you will understand why modern punk rock is nothing more than a fashion statement. (8/10) FT: Kick Out The Jams , Come Together

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Wed Mar 16 2022
4

Bit more my speed. Decent album, nothing really stands out though, kinda jammy. My favorites were Dreamer and Asylum, and tge sax man going HAM on Crime of the Century. Probably won’t be in my regular rotation though.

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Wed Mar 23 2022
4

Helen Mirren in a thong gyrating up against Usain Bolt. The waiter cries "that's not how you tie a bow tie". Paul McCartney eats a large cream cake with his hands and laughs.

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Mon Mar 28 2022
4

Had tried years ago to get into this one when this was cited as one of the main influences on punk into grunge era bands. Liked the vibes and energy more than I liked most of the songs. Do appreciate what it did for popular rock over the next 50 years tho.

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Mon Apr 04 2022
4

Raw and powerful. Really getting the excitement pumping from minute one. Roots of punk, roots of metal. Just excellent stuff. And Detroit natives to boot!

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Mon Apr 04 2022
4

MC5, very important yadda yadda

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Wed May 04 2022
4

This record is very very good. But A 5? Ehhh. I absolutely love The Stooges and the MC5 is right up their alley, but for this album it just seems too loose to be the “masterpiece” that it’s been considered by music snobs and slobs everywhere. It’s good I’d say, but not great. Heavily influential as all hell, but I’m gonna have to side with the 1968 Democratic National Convention on this one and label the MC5 as not exactly my thing

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Thu May 05 2022
4

Makes me want to quite my job and start a garage band

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Thu May 19 2022
4

Fun listen. Didn't know of MC5 before. I'm seeing that this is considered a precursor to punk and I can totally see that. Loved the anger and passion (and, of course, the jams) that are so apparent here.

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Thu May 19 2022
4

It's time to kick out the jams motherfuckers!!

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Thu Jun 09 2022
4

1969 was a great year for Elektra Records and the rumblings of punk rock in a state largely known at that point for Motown. With one record, MC5 grabbed the collars of every and any prude that stood in front of them and shook their foundations with only five words: words that everyone knows by heart but is unfortunately edited out here. It's not all woeful here, though, as the rest of the music contained here is flat out incendiary in its approach to rock and roll and bits of jazz; one could see and hear where they would end up in a year's time. MC5 were a rock and roll band at heart, they just so happened to provide the blueprint for one of the more consequential genres of music to come. Kick out the jams, motherfuckers! Favorites: Ramblin' Rose, Kick Out the Jams, Come Together, Rocket Reducer No. 62, Motor City is Burning.

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