Black Flag - Pub Rock Live - 5/17/2014
Melissa Fossum Black Flag's show at Pub Rock Live had some ups and downs. Full slideshow here.
There are reviews you wish would just write themselves. Peek behind the curtain, if you will, and see my struggle.
I really wanted to write an über-positive review of the Black Flag show at Pub Rock on Saturday, May 17. I wanted to write that the punk rock fury I was enamored with when I first heard the band back in the early '80s was back and as good as ever. I wanted to write all of that, but I can't.
Truth be told, the night was a series of peaks and valleys. I missed much of Playboy Manbaby's opening set, but I was pleasantly surprised at the level of enthusiasm the Manbabies and their crowd seem to share with each other. I can understand why folks dig these guys, even if they aren't exactly my personal cup of tea. They are dynamic, and from the five or so songs I got to experience, they are learning their craft well. I'm excited to see what they become as they explore adding texture to their music. Genuine kudos to their drummer, Chad Dennis, who really stood out for me, and this was a night that was ruled by drummers.
Melissa Fossum Cinema Cinema
After an almost interminable set change (odd because Brooklyn group Cinema Cinema is a freaking two-piece), we were treated to a musical collage of proportions I have not witnessed in quite some time. Cinema Cinema is on SST Records, which is owned by Black Flag's Greg Ginn, and that should have been warning enough that we were not in for any kind of standard fare. They were equally entertaining and confounding. The youngsters, who will apparently form a pit to almost anything when it's $29 to buy a ticket, kept up a steady stream of action in front of the stage, which seemed to really please guitar player and singer EV Gold. Again, though, drums stole the show. Cinema Cinema's Paul Claro is, as my new friend Chris put it, "a beast behind the kit." The man pounds the drums like he's either possessed by the ghost of John Bonham or has been geeking out way too much on Vinnie Signorelli (Unsane, Swans, A Storm of Light) videos.
After Cinema Cinema finished its way-too-long set, there was another long set change, which was compounded by Pub Rock's shit storm of what I'm guessing was a Pandora playlist that seemed to repeat itself. I sincerely hope I was not the only one who noticed. The kids appeared to like it, though, and I caught one early-20s Mohican who was hanging close to us all night singing along with nearly all the boring songs, so maybe I'm the stupid one.