By Bill Chemerka of The Aquarian
Live at The Meadowbrook
Cedar Grove, NJ.
February 20 1982
Long before the popularity of weekend new wavers and trendy fashion / art-rock dance bands, the real rebels of rock 'n' roll, like Iggy Pop, the New York Dolls and the MC-5, were making waves against mainstream pop-shlock.
Despite such survivors as ex-Doll David Johansen, Iggy Pop and MC-5 grad Wayne Kramer, few veteran rock rebels still roam the clubs and concert halls of America.
Still, the aforementioned artists are alive and kicking, and occasionally they still manage to generate the desirable benevolent deviance upon which rock 'n' roll thrives. Such was the case recently when Wayne Kramer's Air Raid invaded the Meadowbrook for a blitzkrieg of a show.
The band - Bobby Dee (ex-Boyfriends), bass and vocals; Gregg Gerson, drums and vocals - and Kramer, guitar and vocals; kicked off their midnight set with "Looking At You," a hard rocker that showcased the trio's collective skills. Dee and Gerson, one of the best rhythm sections around, kept an intense foundation as Kramer cranked out some dexterous riffs during the song.
The frantic pace continued on "Show Off" and "Hotel." "Show Off" allowed the band to display their vocal harmonics and "Hotel" featured Gerson and Dee's rhythmic partnership rather well.
The band was particularly solid on a reworking of Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come." The reggae classic was stripped of its roots-like beat thanks to the galvanized injection of Kramer's heavy metal approach and Gerson's straight ahead kicking.
After an infectious delivery of the danceable "I need Your Love," the group performed "Ramblin' Rose," which featured a lengthy, improvisational solo by Kramer that dazzled the crowd.
The band's set stalled somewhat during a rather ordinary interpretation of the Supremes' "Stop In The Name Of Love."
Following the song, Kramer delivered a nonmusical sermon to the crowd about the significance of "being somebody."
Some audience members got somewhat bored by it all, but their apathy was soon eliminated as the trio launched the legendary "Kick out the Jams," one of rock 'n' roll's all-time great anthems.
A rousing encore of Little Richard's "Tutti Fruitti" was anticlimactic compared to the fireworks that preceded it, but this was a minor flaw to say the least.
Overall, Wayne Kramer's Air Raid put on one of the best rock 'n' roll shows this writer has seen in a long time. If the band can keep up this kind of performance night after night, they might emerge as one of the best new bands (the trio formed back in December) of the year.