Show in Review: The Black Flag Raises at HOB
Black Flag Show Review August 30th, 2019 House of Blues
“I’m gonna use your shoulder for a sec!” a stranger lady mosher yelled at me over the scrambling crowd as she fixed her boot that has been “flat-tired” in the midst of the pit. I kindly posted up to give her something to lean on while her gay best friend explained to me that his 22-year-old husband would kill him if he tried moshing … he said he was in his 50’s and did not want to break his hip. And that wasn’t even an old person joke! His beloved was at home, waiting for his sweet embrace and apparently broken hips don’t hold up well in the bedroom. I didn’t ask for this information, but he easily chatted me up and quickly became one of my favorite people from the night.
The crowd was surprisingly tame for such an iconic punk band, which could’ve been due to the age of most of the concert goers who were either reliving their rebellious from 25 years ago or were fans of new, mild punk rock who clearly haven’t been around any thrash mosh pits in their ripe, young age. Those are the youngsters who maybe felt the need to see Black Flag just so they could say they have, before the day Black Flag flies half-mast. You could probably find me somewhere in between those two groups, if I’m being honest.
Of course, a fight broke out in the crowd that took a handful of security guards to escort a dude out, though I have no idea what started it. But it was pretty fun watching him try to break free of three security guards’ iron grips, struggling like that last little poop dollop that just can’t compete with its sturdy turdy brethren that plopped just before it. There was also one spitfire of a cunt burrito who wanted to crash into everybody she saw but then got astonishingly pissed if anyone dared to touch her. I’m personally not much of a mosher, but I’m almost positive that’s not how it works. Pretty sure she was one of those, “I’m a cool girl who drinks beer!” but also an “I’m offended!” type of person. Gag me with a spoon.
Guitar player, Greg Ginn, looks like he’s been working for TSA for the past 35 years, but he’s actually the founder and only original member standing on stage. Amongst the slew of band members over the years, the most recognized being Henry Rollins who raised his ‘white flag’ to the punk rock world and now does acting, amongst other things. However, if you recall Tony Hawk Pro Skater back in the early 2000’s, you might recognize current Black Flag’s singer’s name, Mike Vallely. If I remember correctly, he was the skater I always chose to grind out some sick 180’s on the half-pipe back in the day. Sweet. Apparently, he guest sang for Black Flag years ago, thus solidifying his place as the frontman for this particular tour.
The set was just good … not mind-blowing. All the songs, even the hits, kind of blended all together into one big super-punk song. The band members weren’t boring, necessarily, but I would’ve like to see more interaction with the crowd. But being at House of Blues, the stage production and sound was on point, as always. They played songs like Loose Nut, Jealous Again, and ended the show with an extended version of the cover, Louie Louie.
I was super disappointed with the selection of merch for Black Flag. One basic design on a T-shirt and a hoodie and a skateboard deck. My dad actually asked (and by ‘asked’ I mean ‘told’) me to get him a shirt while I was there. And because he oh-so-subtly told me his request and size within the same breath, I was hoping to surprise him with a pink shirt or at least something beyond the typical style. What kind of daughter would I be if I didn’t try to be a failure in his eyes, just a little bit?! Luckily for ol’ dad, he got his basic T-Shirt, size Large. Boooooring.
All in all, it was an okay night. I didn’t recognize any familiar faces from the local music scene so I just kinda wondered around the sea of mohawks and studded denim vests and tried not get poked in the eye from the surplus amount of wardrobe spikes n’ such. I’m happy for Black Flag to still be grasping onto the glory days, regardless of all the changes and the temporary hiatus. It’s just hard for me to swallow that they’re still “Black Flag”. With ¾ of your band members being new, I wish bands like that would keep the passion but change the band – songs, name, the whole kit-n-caboodle.