No Rollins, No Flag? Black Flag in Hollywood

Black Flag

May 31, 2014

House of Blues- Los Angeles, CA

              When I was a wee girl growing up in the mean streets of the San Gabriel Valley I fell in love with punk rock. For the life of me I cannot tell you whether I fell in love with the music or the personality, but I was pretty stoked when I was asked last minute to cover Black Flag playing at the Hollywood House of Blues this past Saturday.

Cinema Cinema     sc-030The show opened with The Dolly Rots and Cinema Cinema. If I didn’t know any better, (which I totally don’t), I would describe Cinema Cinema’s performance comparable to that of Clutch, with a drip of metal, an almost folky hint of Volbeat, and definitely awesome hardcore performance. This two-piece had a beautifully clear set up on stage, quickly lured in the attention of the crowd, and even the mosh pit had a fun energy to it.

Following Cinema Cinema was Black Flag. For you old school fans, I know your insta-answer is “No Rollins, No Flag.” But I gotta ask, if you’re such an old school fan, then why not hold on to the fact that Henry Rollins is not the original lead singer to begin with? Let me give you a mini history lesson – Libby Danger style. Black Flag has been around since the late 70’s. Greg Ginn formed the band with Chuck Dukowski (which by the way The Chuck Dukowski Sextet is a pretty rad, underrated group I suggest checking out). Since Black Flag originally formed, there have been many changes to the lineup. Did I mention many? It might have seemed like over the years Ginn did whatever he wanted with the lineup of Black Flag and finally after all that lawsuit jazz, I have to say: hell yeah! Greg Ginn has always done his own thing. He does his experimental work, keeps his label SST Records going, and through it all – is still quite possibly one of the nicest dudes around. Do you know how I like to label this personality type? Punk rock.Black Flag       Cinema Cinema      10sc-296

His performance on stage with the newest vocalist Mike Vallely, bassist Tyler Smith and Brandon Perzborn on drums could not have been more perfect. The turnout was amazing. Fans young and old were present, mohawks blocking the view, crisp clear sound, sweat dripping. It was a thrilling experience. I don’t doubt for a minute that the pressure of being the newest vocalist in Black Flag doesn’t exist. And Mike Vallely owned it and not in a competitive way. Vallely is just as much a Black Flag fan as the rest of us. It’s also not his first merry-go-round. The new Black Flag killed it. I can’t imagine this group having worked out any better had even one member of these four been any different. The mere essence of love for the music and scene shown through these dudes faces and I felt punk was alive again for at least one set. If you missed this tour, I’m sad for you. If you missed this show because of your ego, then I sincerely believe you suck. This new album is something truly worth adding to your collection.

Review by: Libby Danger

Black Flag

Cinema Cinema