Review by Sarah Dee
There are those gigs that you are so excited about, the gigs that make you confused as to how you feel about the imminent experience. It must be a defense mechanism, like if you give in to the excitement you might strangle your dog or something. I usually get myself off intermittently over several hours leading up to a gig that I am really pumped for. It sounds weird but it’s true. It’s not because I’m horny; it’s because I don’t know what else to do with the energy that is just screaming at me to be released, in a kind of unsettling anticipation.
And there’s the feeling you get when you see one of your favourite bands. You’re not exactly how to truly grasp the reality of standing in front of one of those bands that have shaped your life, and seeing them play those songs that have carried you through the fucking awful times, and the fucking amazing times, and all the times in between. It’s hard. It’s really hard. You try your best to comprehend. You blink. You blink a little harder. I envy those among us, if they even exist, who are able to absorb the intensity and gravity of the sheer privilege of being able to see this band squirt their almighty juices all over our face and hair. It’s a heavy responsibility. You know what I mean.
This time was different. The thought of furious masturbation didn’t even cross my mind. Did a part of me know that Black Flag was going to be a waste of an upper body workout? I didn’t want that part of me to be right, but it fucking was.
I would give anything to have been proven wrong. I turned around within the first song to the see if I was the only one not over the moon, and the guy standing behind me—a total stranger— whispered “I wanted so much to like this, but I don’t”.
The fact that the founding member, Greg Ginn, along with the vocalist from years 1978-1981, Ron Reyes, were going to be gracing the stage had me frothing at the mouth. You would think if they were both so up in arms about their successors playing under the name of Black Flag, they would fucking bring it. There’s a reason people were walking out of the Palace in droves. People texting, chatting, throwing bottles at them. That would not have happened if Hank or Keith were in the hot seat. It just wouldn’t have happened.
Depression was depressing. TV Party was ‘revamped’ to take the piss out of Facebook and Twitter (yawn, get with it grandpa). Six Pack was six kinds of lackluster. Rise Above went over all our heads. Gimme Gimme Gimme a break.
I think I would have preferred to see a band I fucking hated than have seen Black Flag in all their pathetic carelessness and complete lack of stage presence. I kept thinking ‘fuck, if there’s only 40 or 50 people left in the room, get the fucking drum kit and gear down on the floor and play these songs the way they’re supposed to be played’. It was like seeing fish flap around on the stage of Rod Laver Arena.
I wanted it to be over. I didn’t want to hate it. I tried my very best to contain my disgust out of respect for one of my idols Greg Ginn. In his defense, he carried the band. He is the band. Black Flag is nothing without him, regardless of the line-up. Greg Ginn is the wizard of my heart (haha what the fuck?). It is with a heavy heart that I admit I could not farting waaaaaaait for them to get the fuck off the stage so I could go and party at Cherry Bar.
The embarrassment was too hard to handle. We were embarrassed for them. We were embarrassed for ourselves for being part of the dwindling crowd—as if we were too stupid to know that we should have just gone home, ate a pack of Mi Goreng, and gone the fuck to sleep. We were embarrassed for the venue. Fuck, the list goes on.
But I (kind of) digress.
If any of you have read Spray Paint the Walls: The Story of Black Flag, you will undoubtedly see that there is a massive discrepancy between the way Ron Reyes is depicted by the author (Stevie Chick) and by other members of Black Flag, and how he represents himself in interviews… and how he represented himself at this fucking show.
Mind blown. I might have to work out this anger, if you know what I mean.
My Facebook status kind of sums up my entire feeling of the show: “I think I’d rather watch two really gross people having sex than watch Black Flag (in that lineup) play live again. What the fuck WAS that. Still shaking my head in utter disbelief. Greg Ginn was the tits, but Ron Reyes is a fucking shit front man. He has the charisma of an overgrown front lawn. So disappointed.”
Let’s stop fooling ourselves. Henry Fucking Rollins brought Greg’s songs to life. Now that’s something worth masturbating over.
Sarah Dee OUT.