Up is one of those “should’ve been” bands. Similar in sound to Blue Cheer and political philosophy to MC5, Killer Up represents the complete recordings of the Detroit band from the ’60s. Save for two singles, none of this material was released by the band while it was still together between 1967-1973.
Up was closely aligned with MC5, living with them in the White Panther Party commune in Ann Arbor and often sharing the bill with them at area concerts. But while the Five and fellow Michiganders the Stooges got record deals and fame, Up remained a regional act.
The disc features both of Up’s singles, plus several songs from a recording session at Head Sound Studios in Ypsilanti, MI, and some live cuts recorded at the Agora Ballroom in Columbus, OH, in 1972.
The sound quality is decent, albeit slightly lo-fi. What the recordings lack in polish, they make up with pure energy. High volume cuts like “Just Like an Aborigine” and “Free John Now” are further examples to back up the argument that punk rock was invented in ’60s Detroit.
It’s hard to imagine Up gaining a mass audience, but the music on this disc makes one wonder why the band never broke on a large scale outside of the Midwest.