Grand Funk Railroad - I have never quite known how to fit this monster band of my youth into the grand scheme of my take on rock history. I recall them as arena behemoths (selling out Shea Stadium faster than the Beatles) with some radio friendly hits and some gnarlier, gritty midwestern styled brutal rockers. Having never seen them in their day, would tonight be a night of seeing some creaky, out of shape old folks hobbling in with canes trying to rock out? No, that was just the crowd. The five piece version of 2015 (which has been together unchanged since 2000) looked great, looked mean and lean and probably could have cleared out the whole sold-out room by themselves if need be. But that was hardly needed as the fans were totally into this set, as well they should have been as Grand Funk Railroad still has a surprisingly high energy set to present tonight.
The set was constructed well with the five songs I could remember off the top of my head all there (well four, but I recognized a fifth quickly enough in my 'oh yeah' moment). To answer my original question, this band fits perfectly well into the strong tradition of Michigan rock music. The original band members hailed from Flint and worked with Terry Knight and Question Mark, but took that to a much heavier place, cooking up sounds that fit well in with Mitch Ryder, early Bob Seger, and even a bit of the MC5. Michigan rock might be one of the best scenes from top to bottom and Grand Funk not only is a big part of that history, but still has the fire and the ability to show you why in 2015.