It used to be that concerts were dangerous.
Believe it or not, we read those articles where the cops were called to Black Flag shows. It wasn’t punk on punk fights, either. It was those hired to “serve and protect” the audience of a Black Flag show doing most of the violence.
With full impunity from the law.
And then there was side four of Everything Went Black, where we heard the completely amateurish radio spots including ones that poked sticks at the cops, teasing them with ads that noted their thuggish “protection” while giving the coordinates for the next Flag show.
“Let’s go down and beat up some of them damn punk rockers!”
There are a number of reasons why I didn’t go see Black Flag when they played Cedar Falls, Iowa in what would end up being their final tour. One of the reasons is that all of this notoriety got me scared of the possibilities.
Of course, when I moved to Cedar Falls, all of that sounded completely ridiculous. What I missed wasn’t a show filled with violence and cops. Firsthand accounts note that it was 1.) Very hot and sweaty and 2.) Very good.
I love hearing the antidotes of that show and I totally wished that I had made more of an effort in seeing it.
The video below is a perfect image to what I thought that show would be like.
Of course, Black Flag circa ’86 was nothing like that band.
They were road dogs, always on the road playing shows with complete disregard for how their audience perceived them. By then, they had moved beyond the punk straightjackets and found themselves in some weird jazz/metal world. It worked wonderfully live and not so much in the studio.
But I’ve got to confess that I totally dig Black Flag circa ’86 a whole lot better. The reason is because that band, this line-up, that album changed. My. Life.