BLACK FLAG at the Hollywood Palladium by Bleib Alien

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 4:44 pm    Post subject: BLACK FLAG at the Hollywood Palladium by Bleib Alien Reply with quote
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Billy Redcloud

Joined: 01 Oct 2003
Posts: 130
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gawd that sounds like it was horrible, how embarresing. :cry:
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bleib alien

Joined: 22 Sep 2003
Posts: 175
Location: Under the Pier

PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2003 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At least I only had a relatively short drive to see it. I overheard some people at the show talking about how they had driven 400 miles to see the show. Later, I read some stuff about people actually flying in to see the show.
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Joined: 21 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2003 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found this account of the show from photgrapher Glen Friedman. It's pretty sad.

(other than rick rubin saying ginn was incredible - no one else said anything positive about any of it)

I'll start with the purchase of the tickets. They were set at $27.50, but with Ticket Master "service charges" the total came to $41.10. This is by far the most I've ever paid for a concert ticket, but hey, it's Black Flag we're talking about, right? Well . . .

September 12, 2003, Judgment Day. At this point I've heard all kinds of rumors about who will be up on stage. A month earlier I was told by Chuck Dukowski that he wasn't even asked to perform. A few weeks ago, Keith Morris sent out an e-mail to let everyone know that he was told his "services aren't needed." So I'm expecting to be let down.

I arrive at 6 pm and there is already a massive line outside. I see people I know from as far as Detroit and New Jersey waiting to get in. Most of these people have Black Flag tattoos, some of them have never been to California before. I am informed that Robo will be playing. I am also told that HR will be a guest vocalist. I don't know what to believe.

The audience has its share of sketchiness, a few LADS shirts, a swastika tattoo here and there, but nothing to the degree that I expected. The lobbies are full of booths set up by animal rescue organizations. Most people are indifferent. The first band goes on at 7:30. They are called Mike V. & the Rats, and they are okay at best. The guitarist walks out waving a Johnny Cash poster. Cash had died the day before. Some people cheer. The Rats are basically imitating the Damaged/My War era Black Flag sound, and Mike V. is doing his best Rollins impression. Mike V. says something like, "Years from now when they talk about Dylan, Springsteen, Cobain, Neil Young, and Cash, I'll feel honored to have shared the stage with one of these legends. And that is Greg Ginn. His tireless attitude and perseverance have paved the way for so many, and he will go down as one of the greatest songwriters and guitarists ever."

They get some clapping in between songs. Most people are indifferent.

The second band is called 1208. They are a pop-punk band on Epitaph who have only two things in common with Flag: Raymond Pettibon did the art for their album cover, and they are from the South Bay. 1208 try to have as little silence in between songs as possible, but when the band does stop to tune, they are met by a sea of booing. No one wants to hear them.

Finally Ginn is on stage setting up. On the opposite side of the stage is Dez Cadena, whose hair is half way down his back. Ginn's drummer, named Drummer, is setting up his kit which looks and sounds like it was salvaged from a junk yard. There is no bass player, but instead an SVT cabinet crowned with a head and some kind of sampler. On top of the sampler is a cardboard face with a huge mustache wearing a real sombrero. This is "Dale Nixon," a computer that will play bass lines laid down by Ginn earlier. Dez grabs the mike and says something to the extent of, "There have been a lot of rumors flying around about this show. I want everyone to know that anyone who is not on this stage tonight has been given the opportunity to perform. Now we're going to do the entire My War album, and Mike V. is going to come out and sing." Mike V. comes out again, and this time he is literally getting a chance to do his best Rollins impersonation, which isn't that great, but not terrible. The whole band is keeping up with "Dale Nixon," which only allots 2-3 seconds before automatically going into the next song. There is no time to tune. A few songs into it, there is a group of men towards the front who are shooing away and flipping off what they see on stage. One of them crowd surfs and gives two middle fingers to the band while yelling obscenities. Someone holds up a sign that reads "Bait Flag." A large plastic garbage can is tossed towards the stage, but only makes it to the front of the audience. When the entire My War album is played, there is a 10 second pause. 1/3 of the audience is clapping, 2/3 is booing. I'm just standing there scratching my head. Then Dale kicks back in and they're playing "Black Coffee." The second that song ends, Drummer's set is broken down.

For the next 15 minutes stage hands are setting up Robo's kit. Robo is helping. A bassist who I am told is C'el, the last bassist for Flag, is on stage with an actual bass. Dez has his guitar in hand, and says, "This song is called Life of Pain." The band plays and Dez is singing now. I still don't know what to think, nor do most people. Half way through the song, Robo totally forgets his part, and it crumbles. Dez just starts the next song, "Thirsty and Miserable." After this, Dez takes off his guitar and grabs the mike. Alright, this is it. They play "Wasted," and the place goes nuts. Bodies are jumping and swirling around. There is a huge, scary slam pit. Robo sounds like he's rushing the songs, and screws another one up. Dez says, "This next song is called You Bet That I Don't Care, which is a hybrid song containing the verses of "I Don't Care" and the choruses of "You've Bet I've Got Something Personal Against You." The song feels like a real attack on it's original vocalist, Dukowski, and its original target, Morris. They play "Louie Louie" and Robo goes into an extended drum break. The rest of the band leaves the stage. People are getting uptight. Is this it? The band comes back and finishes the song. They were doing a John Bonham "Moby Dick" thing I guess. Somewhere around this time, Dez says, "After all these years, it's good to know who your real enemies are." My friend and I look at each other and shake our heads. What the fuck is Dez talking about? After about 10 songs from the first four years era, Dez says, "We'll be back in 10 minutes. Don't go anywhere." What now?

Robo's kit is torn down, and Drummer's kit is set back up. Great. Sal leaves the stage, and the building. Now the line up is Drummer, Ginn, Dale Nixon, and Dez on vocals only. They blast through another 15 or so first four years songs, with the computer pausing only 3 seconds in between songs. Another plastic garbage can is thrown towards the stage, and misses again. The band butchers "T.V. Party," and "Revenge." Dez comes in late on most of the songs because he doesn't know when the robot/computer/Dale thing is going to hit it's first note. Everyone's timing is off. The machine begins the legendary opening for "Six Pack," but does it twice as fast as it's supposed to be. Ginn can't keep up on the opening guitar part. He has trouble playing along to his own recording. The band does some new Ginn jam song, and Dez has everyone singing along "FUCKED . . . UP!" Fucked up is right. After a few more early numbers, I look at my watch, and it is 10:59 pm. The lights in the whole building turn on. The band is still playing. They are doing "Depression" I think. A stagehand informs Dez that they have to stop. Dez tells the other guys to stop. Dale goes into the next song, and drummer turns him/it off. We all file out.

I saw the Rollins Band do all Black Flag songs just a year previous, and it was incredible. Every song was played slower than on the records, but the energy and the spirit were there. What I saw on Sept 12 was not cool. It wasn't bad enough to incite a riot, but I couldn't get into it. I just kept wondering when the band was going to screw up next. Plus, there was this aura of backstabbing and negativity surrounding the whole event. It didn't feel right. What I saw on that stage was not Black Flag."
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