FLAG live at the Underworld, London

FLAG
The Underworld, Camden, London
August 1st

flag_london_live_review_the_underworld

Respect. That’s the key word here. Respect to Flag for choosing to spread their London debut over two nights at the Underworld rather than spending one night in a larger venue with half the required atmosphere. And respect to the members of Flag for pretty much inventing this thing we call hardcore punk rock, and so much more.

You’re in the presence of true legends here. No, it’s not Black Flag. That’s Greg Ginn’s band. He pissed all over his legacy a couple of years back with that dreadful new album and appalling live shows. I know, I witnessed it at Ieperfest in Belgium three years back – slow, sluggish, terrible rhythm section. Awful. Flag, however, (that’s Keith, Dez, Stephen, Chuck and Bill) play the music right, with energy, passion and power. You’re watching true legends at work here. All of the people involved, minus Descendents guitarist Stephen Egerton who replaces Ginn, lived, breathed, wrote and performed this legendary material and when the band come out onstage tonight and Keith whispers into the mic…”it’s not my imagination,” before bellowing. “I’VE GOT A GUN IN MY BACK!!” and the whole band lurch into ‘Revenge’, the years melt away and the true power of the music is unleashed, knocking the crowd sideways.

flag_london_live_review_the_underworld

And from that moment on, they fire off bolt after bolt of perfect hardcore punk rock. It’s a total joy to watch these true masters of the art. The way Chuck Dukowski screws up his face and hammers at the strings on this bass like his totally despises all four of them. The way Keith’s unmistakable vocals are both pitch perfect, snotty, sarcastic and drawling. The way he holds his space on the stage, his small frame shielding off endless stage dives and attempts to steal his microphone and scream along with the songs (he does not like this). The way Bill plays with precision and power, lagging on the beat so the songs never run away with themselves. The way both Dez and Stephen’s guitars manage to summon up the undeniable genius of Ginn’s original vision and noise. It’s perfect.

flag_london_live_review_the_underworld

There’s no need to list all of the songs they played. They performed everything that was important, going as far as ‘My War’ (written by Chuck) and although you can feel the band tiring a little towards the end (‘I’ve Heard it Before’ isn’t quite as intense as it should be), the stamina they hold until that point is totally impressive. These are not young guys. These are people that started it all. Show them some fucking respect.

James Sherry

flag_london_live_review_the_underworld

Glen E. Friedman My Rules art show London

glenn_e_friedman_my_rules_book

Skate and music photographer Glen E. Friedman will be heading to London to exhibit some of his finest prints for the first time in almost 20 years.

His mammoth new book My Rules that features classics from his first 2 skate and music publications Fuck You Heroes and Fuck You Too and over 100 unseen images, will be on display alongside audio installations from Ice-T, Ian MacKaye and Alan “Ollie” Gelfand as well as a selection of curated films by Friedman and Q&A sessions throughout the opening weekend. Work will include shots of Beastie Boys, Fugazi, Public Enemy, Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta, Black Flag, Run DMC and many more.

The location for this show is at 14 Henrietta St, Covent Garden WC2H from November 21st 2014 – January 18th 2015.

myrules_glenn_e_friedman_book_skateboard_music_photography

American Hardcore exhibition & book incoming

The 80s hardcore scene in the US has been done to death but still keeps giving in 2013. A new A5 book and exhibition featuring 50 7″ covers from classic releases in that era will be showcased in London at The Vinyl Factory’s gallery in Chelsea from 11 April – 4 May.

Titled American Hardcore, 1978-1990 the book limited to only 300 (signed and numbered) comes with a fold-out A1 print and exclusive 7″ vinyl pressing of a Black Flag interview from 1981 and is printed using a Risograph machine. This is a special print process akin to screen printing, and perfectly reflects the DIY aesthetic of the artwork.

The book that is available to pre-order for £50 also has an extended Q&A with author and UK punk collector Toby Mott and US punk collector and curator Bryan Ray Turcotte discussing the importance of the scene that spread like wildfire and paved the way for many touring bands generations after.

The collection of 50 seven-inch singles will be for sale as a framed artwork from the gallery. Put this in your diary today and we will bring you a gallery feature on this when it opens.

Pissed Jeans

‘Honeys’
Sub Pop
ALBUM OF THE MONTH

pissedjeans_honeysalbumThere’s a reason why Black Flag are so heralded and respected so long after they existed by younger generations. It’s not just the fact that they had a cool logo, it was also their inspiring drive and energy that, against all odds, saw them power their utterly uncompromising and original noise at a time when long hair, tattoos and punk rock was not a career option. They sounded the way they did because that’s how they felt and how they wanted to express their feelings. Pissed Jeans are no Black Flag tribute band, but there’s something about their ridiculously heavy punk rock noise and venomous approach that makes you feel if Black Flag had existed in this frustrating, jittering modern world, this is what they’d sound like.

Four albums in, Pennsylvanian quartet Pissed Jeans have mellowed NONE. ‘Honeys’ is a raging barrage of noise that goes nose-to-nose with all of the essential BLACKS (Big/Sabbath/Flag) with a stomping Jesus Lizard strut and a boot boy Negative Approach stomp. This is nasty music with a production so viciously heavy It’ll bite your fucking nose off, send warm jets of piss running down your thighs and render pretty much all of what passes for punk rock these days obsolete.

So, for young and old gazing into the past with rose-tinted glasses wishing there was bands as intense and FOR REAL as Black Flag still playing, fuck the nostalgia, there is and they’re called Pissed Jeans. Now hear them roar.

Download the amazing riff heavy ‘Cathouse’ track for free here.

James Sherry

The Battle of Black Flag has started!

It’s OFFicial. The Battle of the Black Flag’s has started. It seems that there was a reason behind Greg Ginn reforming Black Flag for a show at the UK’s Hevy Festival last week. Ex members not involved in Ginn’s reformed project of Black Flag have formed another project called ‘FLAG’. You can imagine Greg Ginn’s reaction to hearing this news. Steam most likely pumped from his ears and the reaction was to counter act and do his own thing.

‘FLAG’ is made up of Keith Morris on vocals, Chuck Dukowski on bass, Bill Stevenson on drums and Stephen Egerton on guitar. We wonder if Rollins will have the cheek to start a third project with the remaining members not in these two projects as don’t forget, Black Flag had many people playing alongside Ginn over the years. Probably not, but what a palava.

Greg Ginn and Mike Vallely form ‘Good For you’

goodforyou_sleeveBlack Flag’s guitar henchman Greg Ginn has joined forces with non-other than skateboard legend Mike Vallely and recorded some tracks. This new project, under the name of ‘Good for You’ sees Ginn screeching back to Loose Nut territory on the 11 track album we have here in the office recorded at at Ginn’s Casa Destroy Studios in Taylor, TX.

The long player titled ‘Life is Too Short to Not Hold a Grudge‘ will be released on February 26th, naturally on SST Records. Get a taste of one of the tracks ‘Hanging Around’ (Like a Fucking Piñata) that isn’t the strongest track on the album but a good introduction of this new project.

Converge cover Black Flag, Negative Approach & The Cure

Hardcore legends Converge are back with a new album on epitaph records this October 12th titled ‘All We Love We Leave Behind‘ and have rolled out cover versions of classic predecessors Black Flag, Negative Approach and The Cure.

The new album landed at crossfire HQ last week and we can tell you that even though it’s their 8th album, it will annihilate your ears.

Vocalist Jacob Bannon added, “I think we really stepped up our game on this record. The most important thing to this band is that with every album we want to create something that excites us and moves us in some way. There are a lot of subtle nuances on this record are really special to us and we definitely hit those individually on this record.”

Watch the video for first track Aimless Arrow here and stream these covers. You will be surprised by The Cure!

Watch Black Flag show from San Francisco 1981

BlackFlag_LogoIf you are looking for some crucial viewing online this weekend and like hardcore, watch this full set of songs from Black Flag playing Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco in 1981. The video features Dez Cadena on vocals making this a rare opportunity to see some footage of the band when they were on form at the beginning of their journey.

If you want Dead Kennedy’s shows from 1978 you can find them on the same site from the links on this page or watch .

Black Face

Hydrahead Records 7″

Former Black Flag member Chuck Dukowski and Oxbow’s Eugene Robinson are kicking off 2012 with a Black Flag inspired musical journey that should excite the most hardened hardcore fan.

Dukowski played a big part in the history of Black Flag from day one. He joined forces with Greg Ginn back in 1976 and kicked off their first shows in Redondo Beach, California, bringing with him him the ability to write classic songs such as ‘Spray Paint’ from Damaged, the anti-authority filled ‘I’ve Heard It Before’ and the epic ‘My War’ tune, although he had left the band before ‘My War’ made it onto vinyl at SST.

This new project titled Black Face is fueled by four songs that Dukowski wrote for Black Flag all those years ago but never actually recorded. These tracks have all been released on one 7″ available from Hydrahead Records and bring those menacing, meandering guitar licks and traumatic vocals associated with Black Flag that we have all learned to love. Eugene Robinson does well in delivering a punching vocal that even back in the day could have warranted a slot in the original line up, so overall, Black Face gets the big thumbs up from here. Look out for touring plans and a more releases this year.

Pick a 7″ up from here.