I’ve been waiting for this show for months. After watching the train wreck Black Flag reunion Greg Ginn is touring with trying to make a buck off of, I really needed to see Keith Morris and crew’s version of FLAG. Watching videos online, I saw that these guys were the real deal, and the only thing Ginn has going for it was the name. I headed to the Trocadero ready to rage, as shit has been crazy here and I needed a fucking outlet. My favorite Black Flag singer and crew did just the trick. Unfortunately I got backed up in traffic so I wasn’t able to catch Philadelphia hardcore legends F.O.D, but made it in time for the rest.
I walked in right as Cerebral Ballzy started playing. It was a bit surreal seeing them on the massive Trocadero stage, with the mandatory barriers The Trocadero has set up, as I’ve only seen these incredibly irreverent punks play houses and shitty bars previously.
Not many in the crowd knew who they were, and at times I think I was the only one singing along. I know these Brooklyn dudes get a lot of shit for being almost of a parody of punk rock, but regardless, they play some pretty catchy aggressive tunes. They played their sloppy brand of punk although they didn’t seem as into it as I’ve seen them previously (where they would be jumping on bars, and just generally causing a ruckus), but I also think it had to do with the constraints of the stage and them generally being out of place. They definitely are a smaller venue type band.
Regardless, it’s always good to see these dudes live and I definitely enjoyed the set.
Don’t Tell Me What To Do
Drug Myself Dumb
True Sounds Of Liberty, or T.S.O.L is one of those bands that are legendary at this point, being one of the earlier hardcore bands forming back in 1978 back in Long Beach, but I never really had the chance to get into them. It wasn’t that I had anything against them, I just was never properly introduced. While I’m late to the game, in this case late is definitely better than never.
T.S.O.L took the stage to a roar of applause, and while the crowd didn’t move much, there were plenty of people both young and old singing along. T.S.O.L reminisced about playing backyard shows with members of FLAG and how they were honored to be touring with them almost 3 decades later (holy shit that’s a long time). Definitely would have loved to go in knowing more of their songs, but I was made a fan after their set, and I’ll definitely be checking it out.
Finally, the moment I was waiting for. In spite of being in a fucked up mood (or maybe for the better), in spite of the fact some punk rock kid just vomited all over the floor and no staff was cleaning it up, I was ready to fucking rage. Keith Morris, Chuck Dukowski, Dez Cadena, Bill Stevenson, and Stephen Egerton took the stage and immediately gave the disclaimer taking a jab at their current legal battle with Greg Ginn “Hello Everybody. Just a disclaimer, we are NOT Black Flag… we are FLAG!” (which is much more of the original Black Flag than the band touring with that name currently), and then immediately shouted the opening lines to Revenge “It’s not my imagination, I got a gun on my back!” to which the next few moments were just a blur as I just lost my complete shit in the pit.
Another fun note, it was also Keith Morris’s 58th birthday. Yes, the man turned 58, and he raged harder than many just 1/3 of his age. From Revenge, they blasted into one of my favorite Black Flag songs of all time Fix Me, and by the end of those two, I was pretty sure I was going to die… but couldn’t let up because Police Story came next. It’s like they were actually trying to kill me.
Keith often handed off vocal duties to Dez for the songs he fronted and the band played a fucking killer setlist. Of course, I may be a bit biased because my favorite Black Flag releases were the early ones, which is what they concentrated on.
One of the most important shows I’ve seen all year, do yourself a favor and go fucking see FLAG. You won’t be disappointed. Hell, I even bought a “FLAG” shirt just to piss Greg Ginn off after wasting my money on that shitty show.
Setlist (might be missing some):
I Don’t Care
I’ve Had It
Gimme Gimme Gimme
Thirsty And Miserable
I’ve Heard It Before
Black Flag – Revenge