It’s not often that you get to see a sunken ship, but on Tuesday night the nostalgic crowd at Union Transfer saw Black Flag. As many of the fans present hung on to the yester years of one of the greatest punk bands to ever exist, as they peeled one finger at a time off the ledge of legitimacy. As hard as Mike Vallely and Greg Ginn, the only original member left, tried to keep it together, the Black Flag that took the stage at Union Transfer just wasn’t the same.
Many die hard fans let go of Black Flag with their 2013 release, What The….There were those who, smartly, jumped ship then, others, like those present at Black Flag’s show Tuesday night, aren’t going down so easy. The crowd was small but dedicated, thrashing like it was 1984 Slip It In all over again.
It felt like the good ol’ times as the foursome ripped into “Six Pack”. Vallely’s voice was in main stride which seemed to have violent side effects from the crowd. Similarly so, “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme”, “best hits of” compilation material, induced a frenzy from the crowd, which could have easily qualified as a full-fledged riot.
The most redeeming and captivating aspect of Black Flag’s set was the noteworthy efforts of fledglings, Tyler Smith, bassist, and Brandon Pertzborn, drummer. Both have been enlisted in the past year and, by far, go the hardest. Smith and Pertzborn are masterful musicians, they didn’t miss a single beat. Despite the fact that something felt stale about Black Flag, Smith and Pertzborn were there to get the job done.
The air smelled of blissful denial of the band’s waning status but no one seemed to even notice, or care for that matter. “Damaged” off their first album validated the meager crowd’s presence. To the band’s defense, Black Flag put it all into their performance Tuesday night at Union Transfer, doing their best to make it feel as raw as the band’s origin’s in 1976.