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Thread: Saw Grand Funk Railroad Saturday Night

  1. #1
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    Saw Grand Funk Railroad Saturday Night

    I saw Grand Funk Railroad at Ribfest in Kalamazoo Michigan Saturday night. First off, whether or not this is the “real” GFR is up for debate since Mark Farner is not a member of this band, but it is the “official” GFR band that has been together for about 14 years now, so it is what it is I guess. This is not a show that I would have necessarily sought out, but my work crew and I were volunteering at Ribfest this year (it is a community fundraiser), so I was there anyway and decided to stay for the show.

    First up was an AC / DC tribute band that did nothing but Bon Scott era material. To be honest I was not paying much attention as my work shift had gotten over and I was under the tent drinking a beer and eating some pulled pork, but when the band hit the stage the singer sounded just like Bon Scott. I could not actually see him from where I was sitting, so once I got done eating I went out by the stage and here was this older, rather portly gentleman who was at least in his mid-50’s (possibly older) who looked anything but a rocker, belting out these Bon Scott-ish screeching vocals. The rest of the band was just ok. They had a young guitarist dressed up as Angus that strutted all over the stage (and even out in the crowd), but he was not in the same league as Angus on the instrument. The rest of the band members were all serviceable, but that vocalist…………he was uncanny In how much he sounded like Bon.

    Over the course of the night the weather had been absolutely horrible. Heavy rain off and on and temperatures that by show time were down in the upper 50’s. It was more like October than August. The festival attendance had been pretty sparse earlier in the evening, but by the time GFR came on the grounds were pretty full. It continued to rain off and on through the set, and was pretty miserable, but the crowd was enthusiastic. The GFR lineup for the past 14 years or so is:

    Don Brewer (original member)
    Mel Schrader (original member)
    Max Carl (former 38 Special)
    Bruce Kulick (former Kiss)
    Tim Cashion (current Silver Bullet Band keyboardist)

    The band put on a good show, with an emphasis on the hits for the festival crowd. Carl handled the majority of the vocals and really has a flawless voice. Brewer, of course sings some of the songs as well, and pretty much sounded like he always has. Kulick had a lot of nice guitar moments, and Cashion added a lot of tasty keyboards. At one point in the show they did kind of drum circle kind of thing, with everyone on percussion instruments which was pretty cool. Brewer also did a drum solo, which went a little long in the tooth, but was entertaining. They also did one 38 Special song (“Second Chance”) since it was a huge hit for Carl who wrote it when he was in that band, although 38 Special was never mentioned on stage. The set list was pretty good. I would have liked to have heard more from the first two albums, but with the exception of “Inside Looking out” (which was great), they shied away from them. The show was a bit on the short side too IMO. They hit the stage at 9:30PM and were off by 10:45PM (no encore), so it was basically 1 hour and 15 minutes. The festival does have an 11PM curfew, so they could have squeezed in an encore easily enough, but didn’t. All in all it was a fun evening of music. Not something I would necessarily go out of the way for, but they were very professional and tight. I am seeing Mark Farner as an opening act in the fall, so it will be interesting to compare. Here is the set list:

    BOTTLE ROCKETT
    ROCK N ROLL SOUL
    FOOTSTOMPIN MUSIC
    SHIININ ON
    THE LOCO-MOTION
    SECOND CHANCE
    DRUM SOLO
    DEVIL’S DAUGHTER (ALL PERCUSSION AND VOCALS)
    THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER
    INSIDE LOOKING OUT
    SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL
    I’M YOUR CAPTAIN / CLOSER TO HOME
    AMERICAN BAND

  2. #2
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    Sounds like a fun time was had. I blew off a chance to see this group at Gulfstream Park about 15 years ago. Meh, just can't imagine GF without Mark. I'd probably go see them now but there isn't a venue down here for outdoor, fests of this type that I'm aware of anymore.

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    Fun set list!!!
    Prog's Not Dead

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    W.P.O.D. Dan Marsh's Avatar
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    I know you mention this....but in all fairness I wouldn't pay money or even see this band free without Mark Farner.

    And only playing for 75 minutes....this means this band is just old as fuck, they don't care anymore or they are taking the money and running with it.

  5. #5
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    Decent set list. Congrats on being in the presence of what Homer Simpson called "the bong-rattling bass of Mel Schacher and the competent drum work of Don Brewer"
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Marsh View Post
    I know you mention this....but in all fairness I wouldn't pay money or even see this band free without Mark Farner.

    And only playing for 75 minutes....this means this band is just old as fuck, they don't care anymore or they are taking the money and running with it.
    For what it is worth, they all appeared to be in good physical shape. Mel definitely looks his age, but was still energetic as were all of the other guys. As I mentioned originally I did not pay for it as I was working earlier in the day, but admission was only $10 and I would say it was a good show for the money.

  7. #7
    W.P.O.D. Dan Marsh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    For what it is worth, they all appeared to be in good physical shape. Mel definitely looks his age, but was still energetic as were all of the other guys. As I mentioned originally I did not pay for it as I was working earlier in the day, but admission was only $10 and I would say it was a good show for the money.
    Fair enough!

  8. #8
    saw them a few years back at the state fair and had a similar feeling fine nothing amazing but couldn't really complain.

    and yeah during the drum solo I had to laugh thinking of that homer simpson quote and told my girlfriend it was a competent drum solo .

  9. #9
    Don't know much about Grand Funk Railroad. I'm not sure they were ever particularly popular in Britain, and whilst I like a lot of obscure (on this side of the pond, at least) American music, GFR have always passed me by.

    I do like what Max Carl & Bruce Kulick usually bring to the table though so I imagine this version of the band, at least, would be an enjoyable listen for me.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    Saw Grand Funk Railroad Saturday night.
    No you didn't....not really

    Almost a Total shit set list...I'm impressed that Shinin' On was in there though.
    G.A.S -aholic

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    Member dgtlman's Avatar
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    Basically the same setlist they did when I saw them a few years back at the state fair. No encore there either. Shinin' On was the best song of the night

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by the ferret View Post
    Don't know much about Grand Funk Railroad. I'm not sure they were ever particularly popular in Britain
    I first heard them when I bought a single from my local record store, "Inside Looking Out" / "Paranoid".

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    Quote Originally Posted by the ferret View Post
    Don't know much about Grand Funk Railroad. I'm not sure they were ever particularly popular in Britain, and whilst I like a lot of obscure (on this side of the pond, at least) American music, GFR have always passed me by.
    e.
    They were actually a bit before my time, but they were huge in the U.S. for about 5 years in the early 70's. I have just gone back and discovered some of their early stuff recently and dig most of what they did on those albums.

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    Never a fan, although people I knew were. They seemed to me like Cream For Dummies, leading purveyors of the kind of Cheeseburger Rock 'n Roll that Kiss later became an even bigger success with. I remember some friend telling me that their secret weapon was Mel's bass sound - he played through multiple Ampeg SVTs or something similar, got THE loudest and heaviest tone of any bassist at the time, and that factor was behind a lot of their appeal.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    They were actually a bit before my time, but they were huge in the U.S. for about 5 years in the early 70's. I have just gone back and discovered some of their early stuff recently and dig most of what they did on those albums.
    Any particular recommendations?

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    Quote Originally Posted by the ferret View Post
    Any particular recommendations?
    the first 5 or 6 albums

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by the ferret View Post
    Any particular recommendations?
    Being a huge fan back in the day, I would suggest:

    Red
    Closer to Home
    GFRR - LIVE
    Phoenix
    Survival
    E Pluribus Funk
    We're An American Band
    Shinin' On
    Caught in the Act
    ....Plus, there is a 1971 tour LIVE Cd who's exact name escapes me at the moment.
    G.A.S -aholic

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    Quote Originally Posted by the ferret View Post
    Any particular recommendations?
    I really like the first two "On Time" and "Grand Funk".

  19. #19
    Phew! Thanks everyone. Looks like I've got a lot of good music to catch up on.

  20. #20
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    I'm listening to Grand Funk (red album) now. Eesh Mel's bass can shatter glass. What an album. It's loud, fuzzy, and heavy af. What a shame they couldn't continue as a heavy, power trio.

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    ^^ The Red eponymousone is my favorite with Closer to Home being my second fave. Some great songs that sometimes went on a bit to long. Farner was a great singer.

  22. #22
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    I didn't know Inside Looking Out was a cover version. A great example of early, American, heavy metal. Killer.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarplyrjvb View Post
    ^^ The Red eponymousone is my favorite with Closer to Home being my second fave. .
    Yeah same here. CTH is damn good.

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    Their covers of Feelin' Alright and Gimme Shelter on Survival were not very good. Live was pretty powerful, though IMO. I had always thought that Footstompin' Music (from E Pluribus Funk) was the start of the Craig Frost era, but Wikipedia says Frost did not play on that album. He made his appearance as a guest on the next album, Phoenix.
    The more you know you know you don't know what you know

  25. #25
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    I actually heard their cover of Gimme Shelter before the Stones original back in the early 70s. I had the 45rpm of GF's cover. I liked it, and still do. At that point GF was still a heavy power trio.

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