Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Flag/TSOL at the Paradise in Boston (not LA)

Flag's Chuck Dukowski in Boston. (All Al Quint photos)

By Ed Nystrom

“Good evening - we are not Black Flag..........we are Flag..........”

A familiar, distinctive voice and presence said with a combination of sarcasm and disgust sprinkled with the undertone of ridiculousness – what else would you expect from Keith Morris?

The difference between the Flag show on Sept. 20 and the Black Flag show on June 13 was these guys were ready to have fun and bring it – and they did. Not that Black Flag disappointed – Ron was amazing – it was just that Ginn has a certain anti-aura that I cannot explain.

But this is a review of the Paradise show – obstructed view and all -  which had TSOL! Jack and Ron Emory – are you kidding? The unique guitar sound which cannot be duplicated – listen to “Dance With Me”.  Also – listen to the first EP – that is SoCal Punk Rock. And opening with "World War III" set the tone. They played all my favorites and Jack’s banter cannot be matched. I went with a buddy from work who lived the good old days in NY and needed to see Keith. But he kept commenting that Jack looked happy. I think he and Ron are happy to just be alive and they mentioned that – half joking…I relate…

TSOL's Jack Grisham.

“It’s not my imagination…” opened the Flag set and it was full throttle from there - Keith, Bill, Chuck, Dez with Stephen Egerton in Ginn’s spot.

Random notes: Keith rules on his and Ron’s songs – the underappreciated Dez was amazing on his and Henry’s tunes when he filled in. I have come to appreciate Dez as a frontman – "Six Pack," "American Waste," "Thirsty and Miserable," "Spray Paint" have his name all over it.

Chuck came out in his now trademark turquoise pants, yellow/black/white checkered shirt and red bucket hat. Don’t let that fool you – once the bass was strapped on, he didn’t want to stop, showing his trademark restlessness between songs.

Dez was off to the side (unfortunately without his hat) as he likes it, but stepped up as the frontman, while Keith took a break or 2, and delivered.

Dez Cadena, top, and Stephen Egerton.

Egerton mimicked the sound and brought his own style to lead guitar. Granted – Ginn’s sound is hard to match – but given the circumstances, he provided what all Black Flag songs need – and there was nothing missing!

Then there was Bill. The consensus within my small group was that Bill is legendary and you need to watch. My buddy Daniel, who has been around, raves about Bill, yet can be too cool to get excited. I knew he needed to see this and when I gave up my perch on the balcony, which had a beeline view to Bill, Daniel didn’t move – staying glued on the legend. Billy’s style has mellowed a little with age, but there were glimpses of the past where his hands got a little higher and the facial expressions matched the roar.

I needed to see this to complete the Black Flag singer experience. I had the good fortune to see Keith as the Circle Jerks frontman a few times (like at the Starwood with TSOL opening – are you kidding!), but never saw him perform "Nervous Breakdown," "Fix Me," "I’ve Had It" and "Wasted" (I was so heavy man, I lived on the strand). The journey has come full circle.

Oh yeah – let’s not forget the encore – ending with Dez singing "Damaged." It was not the "Damaged" that went on, and on, and on…for an eternity. It was a quick 3-4 minutes – but we are a little older, aren’t we?

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