The current incarnation of FLAG (not to be confused with Black Flag) obviously created a bit of controversy, although perhaps more so with ex-band members than with the fans themselves. Nevertheless, when I found out they were playing The Trocadero in Philadelphia, I had to check it out to see if they lived up to their name.
You can check out my review here.
To start things off, The Trocadero is an awesome venue, and probably one of the best gems in Philadelphia. The balcony offers a reprieve for those who wish to avoid rough crowds, but the large floor caters to those who are a fan of moshing.
I arrived right as T.S.O.L. was taking the stage to a round of applause. Before the band even finished the first song, it was easy to tell who the honorary jerk of the night was. And luckily enough for everyone there, he brought an equally drunk and disorderly friend, but I disgress. Vocalist Jack Grisham kept the political banter to a minimum, while still engaging in witty conversation, and enlightening the audience of current happenings in Brazil. Fans were treated to a lengthy kick ass drum solo by drummer Anthony Biuso (There are drum solos in punk rock?!?) before thanking the captive crowd and introducing FLAG.
Keith Morris gave a quick warning before jumping into the hour long set. His shout “Hello everyone, just a disclaimer we are not Black Flag, we are Flag,” was met with a chorus of “Fuck that guy!” from the audience. (If you don’t know what this is referring to click here.) With that said, the band did not hesitate further, and ripped into a set containing the essentials like “White Majority,” “Nervous Breakdown”, and “Rise Above”.
Halfway through the 23-song set, Dez Cadena took over vocal duty, and Grisham was invited back on stage with a platter of cupcakes in honor of Morris’ 58th birthday. The venue erupted into a drunken rendition of “Happy Birthday.” The band warned that the encore would only contain two songs, and ended with “I’ve Heard It Before” and the much slower tune “Damaged”.
It is true that FLAG may not be the original Black Flag, but they are far from being as what Greg Ginn referred to as “impostors”. The show was high energy, and did not let up for even a second. For a bunch of “old geezers,” they rocked hard and put on a kick ass performance. If you are able to catch a date of their tour, this writer would definitely recommend it.
I Don’t Care
I’ve Had It
Gimme Gimme Gimme
Thirsty And Miserable
I’ve Heard It Before