Punk Rock Bowling, Day Three FLAG, D.R.I., The Subhumans, and The Casualties Monday, May 27, 2013
Last night featured what was perhaps the most highly anticipated show of the entire festival -- FLAG. Two reunited versions of Black Flag currently exist, and the lineup with original members Keith Morris, Dez Cadena, Chuck Dukowski, and Bill Stevenson, with the addition of Stephen Egerton on guitar, performed at Punk Rock Bowling.
FLAG performed most of the Black Flag songs fans would expect -- "Nervous Breakdown," "Rise Above," "Wasted," "My War," "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme" and so on, but one song was noticeably absent -- "TV Party." Fans voiced their opinions loud and clear by screaming the lyrics while walking down Las Vegas Boulevard after the show. Some also complained about it on Facebook, but vocalist Keith Morris was quick to respond.
"No Ron Reyes can sing TV Party........I won't!" said Morris on a post by Punks in Vegas. "TV Party" may have been missing, but the rest of FLAG's set was solid. Some songs sounded a little off, but they were bound to, given Black Flag's long roster of previous band members.
Dez Cadena sang most of the Damaged songs, which were played in sequence: "Thirsty and Miserable," "Padded Cell," "Spray Paint," and "Six Pack." Morris took back over on vocals for "Rise Above," which I can best describe as what it would sound like if Circle Jerks covered Black Flag. Musically, it sounded like the recording, but Morris' vocals are pretty distinct.
I'm curious to see how Greg Ginn's Black Flag handles its set, and if the band will play as many classic songs, and if that group has its equivalent of "TV Party" that's absolutely off limits.
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The rest of Monday's lineup was dominated by street punk bands. The Casualties still have brightly colored liberty spiked hair that seems immune to damage, and Meggers still has rapid-fire vocals that are difficult to understand. The band encouraged fans to essentially play chicken in the pit, offering the last people standing beer and merch. I'm not sure if prizes were actually given out, though there were plenty of injured punks nursing bloody wounds on the sidelines.
The Subhumans set up their own gear in plain clothes, which likely baffled a few fans after seeing The Casualties' decked out look. Frontman Dick Lucas seemed more like a tech than a singer until he started performing, then he instantly showed that he is a force to be reckoned with. The band jammed a bunch of songs into its short set, including "Mickey Mouse is Dead," and never lost stamina. What's even more impressive is that Subhumans have had kept the same lineup since 1982.
The audience once again got pretty carried away during D.R.I.'s set, with dedicated fans screaming the words. Some devoted FLAG fans were camped out up front, though both bands seem to share a fanbase, because most people watching D.R.I. from the front managed to keep up with Kurt Brecht's rapid fire thrash vocals.
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The Casualties Setlist: My Blood, My Life Tomorrow Belongs to us Constant Struggle Unknown Soldier Life on the Line Criminal Class Modern Day Slaves Punk Rock Love Brickwall Justice Fight for Your Life Resistance Behind Barbed Wire Get off my Back Warriors on the Road Ugly Bastards Made in NYC Riot We are all we Have
FLAG Setlist: Revenge Fix Me Police Story I Don't Care Depression I've Had It No Values My War No More Gimme Gimme Gimme White Minority Jealous Wasted Clocked In Nervous Breakdown American Waste Thirsty and Miserable Padded Cell Spray Paint Six Pack Rise Above Louie Louie
Encore: I Love You Damaged II
Critic's Notebook: Last Night: FLAG, D.R.I., Subhumans, and The Casualties at Punk Rock Bowling. Personal Bias: I could never get into D.R.I. or The Casualties, though hearing Subhumans live may have changed my opinion about them. They were fun to watch. The Crowd: Colorful hair and studded belts. Overheard in the Crowd: "It's over? The party should just be getting started," as FLAG wrapped up its set a little after 10 p.m. One More Thing: Even though I'm exhausted, I agree with the comment I heard as I left the festival. The Lawrence Arms and 7 Seconds shows were amazing, Punk Rock Bowling should have had one last big after show to end things with a bang. The only event I knew of was Punk Rock Karaoke. For those who went, was it fun?