TV PARTY TONITE!
Slacker Reviews Henry Rollins' Tribute to Black Flag

I did it. I finally did it. Another chapter in my life is complete, the book one step closer to being finished. I finally saw Black Flag. Okay, so I didn't see THE Black Flag, but I did see Henry Rollins, with his band, playing nothing but Black Flag songs. And that is as close as this roach will ever get to seeing the real Black Flag (I was barely old enough to drink anything when they came to power, and broke-up long before I was able to get into a club). It still seems quite unreal. So, I'd like to take this time to dump this pile of unreality upon you. Assuming you're still here (As a side note, there are rumors that the actual Black Flag is getting back together in the fall, but I don't reckon they'll float to Texas). Onward!

At $25 dollars a ticket, I was skeptical. I'll barely pay two bucks to buy myself a biscuit, let alone a whole bunch of two dollar bills (and a one) for a show. But, it was for a good cause, as all proceeds went to support the West Memphis Three. So, I paid. I brought my camera in, ready to take pictures of all the excitement and exuberant punk-ness, but, midway during the evening, a security guard tackled me, punched me, sodomized me, and then, only then, did he take my camera. Something about a contract with the Rollins band and only "contracted press". I thought it was an ego thing, but now I think it was more along of the lines of Ol Henry not wanting to have anybody make a profit off of pictures of the tour (as it was a benefit show). Kudos Henry...even though I was "technically" press (I told the security guard that I was writing an article for retroCrush.com. He laughed, said something about Robert never having ever seen an actual vagina. I had no clue what me meant, so I acquiesced). All I got was a shot of the marquee (and that was at the risk of severe pain to my person) so readers, you'll have to use your imagination.

The opening bands were all playing for free, the jolly souls. I came in on the tail end of Zug's set. They played a sweet cover of that song from that movie "The Lost Boys". You know the one. The next band was the Killcreeps from Dallas. The lead singer looked like Spinal Tap's Derek Smalls, save that he wasn't English. Their last song was the most memorable. It's title, "Sheeps and Midgets". After them, the Hellions went on, playing their songs at a pace that makes a hummingbird feel inadequate. Their singer reminded me of a skinny Yaniv Sharon. After the bands had adequately warmed the peeps up....it was on.

When the band first went on, they had the original singer Keith Morris with the Rollins band. I thought that maybe, it had been a promotional scam with The Rollins Band playing, and Keith singing. I didn't feel too gypped, as it was still the only chance I'd ever get this close to seeing Black Flag. The music began, the crowd began to thrash about, and I got my bodice knocked about. I was getting pumped, the old punk in me coming to the surface of my jarred brain. Then, Ol Henry comes about 5 songs later for "Rise Above" (the title of the benefit for the West Memphis Three). and the crowd flips out. I know I did. There were at least 17 casualties by my hand at that moment. Simultaneously. Not kidding. They blasted through song after song of classic punk rock brutality. Henry would do his famous squat-thrust screaming point thing, while spouting out some of the finest lyrics ever written. The band even had all the sweet chaos of the guitars solos, copying the sound that Greg Ginn so violently crafted, and playing with unheard of speeds. But these twernt Van Halen solo's. This was punk rock baby.

The crowd itself was a saucy blend of punkers and hardcore folks, with the old skoolers evenly dispersed throughout. I did see some Emo-kids earlier in the evening, but I have a feeling they were trampled later on. They played songs for everyone. The hardcore punkers got songs like "Black Coffee", and "Gimme Gimme Gimme", while the emo kids got "Damaged", and the ladies got the greatest love song ever written (as proclaimed by Henry), "Slip it in". The only song they didn't play that I wanted to hear was "White Minority", but, that's the way the punk rock crumbles. But, they did play TV party, and in the first verse, Henry changed the words to reflect today's shows, namely, "American Idol" and "Oprah". Considering he's been shredding his throat for 23 some odd years, Henry's voice was well attuned and golden. The only speaking he did was to thank us (the crowd) for supporting the cause of the West Memphis Three and that we were helping out people who deserved help. He also gave props to all the songs that Chuck wrote back in the day, taking very little credit. Very humble of ya Henry!

All in all though, the show was a raucous good time, with slamming, jumping and a wayback trip to hardcore punk-land. And even though there are probably some purists out there who would say, "I was there in '82, I touched Henry's long hair!!", and that this is a "sham", I simply nod, and give you props for having been born under the proper cosmic alignment. Me, I take what I can get, and even though I was older than most of the demographic, the show made me feel young. Again. For the first time. Thanks Henry, for giving me one more reason to die happy. And to all the emo kids, I'm sorry you had to die, but I can guarantee it wasn't my fault. Honest.

-Slacker


 


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