FLAG - Punk Rock Bowling - 5/27/13

Melissa Fossum
Punk Rock Bowling, Day Three
FLAG, D.R.I., The Subhumans, and The Casualties
Monday, May 27, 2013

Last night featured what was perhaps the most highly anticipated show of the entire festival -- FLAG. Two reunited versions of Black Flag currently exist, and the lineup with original members Keith Morris, Dez Cadena, Chuck Dukowski, and Bill Stevenson, with the addition of Stephen Egerton on guitar, performed at Punk Rock Bowling.

Melissa Fossum
FLAG performed most of the Black Flag songs fans would expect -- "Nervous Breakdown," "Rise Above," "Wasted," "My War," "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme" and so on, but one song was noticeably absent -- "TV Party." Fans voiced their opinions loud and clear by screaming the lyrics while walking down Las Vegas Boulevard after the show. Some also complained about it on Facebook, but vocalist Keith Morris was quick to respond.

"No Ron Reyes can sing TV Party........I won't!" said Morris on a post by Punks in Vegas. "TV Party" may have been missing, but the rest of FLAG's set was solid. Some songs sounded a little off, but they were bound to, given Black Flag's long roster of previous band members.

Dez Cadena sang most of the Damaged songs, which were played in sequence: "Thirsty and Miserable," "Padded Cell," "Spray Paint," and "Six Pack." Morris took back over on vocals for "Rise Above," which I can best describe as what it would sound like if Circle Jerks covered Black Flag. Musically, it sounded like the recording, but Morris' vocals are pretty distinct.

I'm curious to see how Greg Ginn's Black Flag handles its set, and if the band will play as many classic songs, and if that group has its equivalent of "TV Party" that's absolutely off limits.

The rest of Monday's lineup was dominated by street punk bands. The Casualties still have brightly colored liberty spiked hair that seems immune to damage, and Meggers still has rapid-fire vocals that are difficult to understand. The band encouraged fans to essentially play chicken in the pit, offering the last people standing beer and merch. I'm not sure if prizes were actually given out, though there were plenty of injured punks nursing bloody wounds on the sidelines.

Melissa Fossum
The Subhumans set up their own gear in plain clothes, which likely baffled a few fans after seeing The Casualties' decked out look. Frontman Dick Lucas seemed more like a tech than a singer until he started performing, then he instantly showed that he is a force to be reckoned with. The band jammed a bunch of songs into its short set, including "Mickey Mouse is Dead," and never lost stamina. What's even more impressive is that Subhumans have had kept the same lineup since 1982.

The audience once again got pretty carried away during D.R.I.'s set, with dedicated fans screaming the words. Some devoted FLAG fans were camped out up front, though both bands seem to share a fanbase, because most people watching D.R.I. from the front managed to keep up with Kurt Brecht's rapid fire thrash vocals.

Melissa Fossum

The Casualties Setlist:
My Blood, My Life
Tomorrow Belongs to us
Constant Struggle
Unknown Soldier
Life on the Line
Criminal Class
Modern Day Slaves
Punk Rock Love
Brickwall Justice
Fight for Your Life
Behind Barbed Wire
Get off my Back
Warriors on the Road
Ugly Bastards
Made in NYC
We are all we Have

FLAG Setlist:
Fix Me
Police Story
I Don't Care
I've Had It
No Values
My War
No More
Gimme Gimme Gimme
White Minority
Clocked In
Nervous Breakdown
American Waste
Thirsty and Miserable
Padded Cell
Spray Paint
Six Pack
Rise Above
Louie Louie

I Love You
Damaged II

Critic's Notebook:
Last Night: FLAG, D.R.I., Subhumans, and The Casualties at Punk Rock Bowling.
Personal Bias: I could never get into D.R.I. or The Casualties, though hearing Subhumans live may have changed my opinion about them. They were fun to watch.
The Crowd: Colorful hair and studded belts.
Overheard in the Crowd: "It's over? The party should just be getting started," as FLAG wrapped up its set a little after 10 p.m.
One More Thing: Even though I'm exhausted, I agree with the comment I heard as I left the festival. The Lawrence Arms and 7 Seconds shows were amazing, Punk Rock Bowling should have had one last big after show to end things with a bang. The only event I knew of was Punk Rock Karaoke. For those who went, was it fun?

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