Flag dominates in Hasselts Muziekodroom

Unfortunately I post reviews on here to rarely, but yesterday I went to a show which I hardly could not write about. I’ve been a Black Flag fan for a long time and apart from the recent abominations (sorry Mr. Ginn) I’ve got it all on vinyl proudly presented on my shelves.

So when this band comes around, minus the black, I need to cover this.  Together with T.S.O.L. the band is playing in Hasselt tonight. Flag is Dez Cadena, Keith Morris, Bill Stevenson, Stephen Egerton and the almighty Chuck Dukowski. Of the five only Egerton was not an orignal Black Flag member. Flag is not allowed to call itself ‘Black Flag’ due to Gregg Ginn claiming all the rights, plus the guys claim that they’re just not that good anymore.

All that’s missing is Henry Rollins, but Milo Auckerman is hanging out with the band today. But regardless, there’s more on the bill.

For example, opener Cheap Drugs. The group hails from Antwerp/Ghent and plays old fashioned hardcore punk with a notable rattling, driven energy of a band barely containing the fury in itself. It’s early days, so the group seems to realize pretty clearly that the crowd is not going to go down with their music yet, but they to their credit keep the pace high and energetic. The group has an album out for a while now, titled ‘Angst’ and it demonstrates their sound, which is sitting somewhere in between the classic hardore like Black Flag and Minor Threat and the slightly later European wave, it’s a good show and like any good hardcore show not too long.

Cheap Drugs (source facebook band)
Cheap Drugs (source facebook band)

A lot stranger is the high pitched screaming that greets you when you enter to see Cocaïne Piss. Their sound is much more lose, wild even and putting to the front their lady vocalist who seems to have little boundaries. Dashing over the stage in a mad dance, she finally decides to go see the fans and scream in their faces, dance with them and roll on the floor. All the while madly screaming the lyrics of ‘Cosmic Bullshit’ or ‘Sex Weirdos’, the last two singles by the group. It’s a swirling storm of, as the band says, glittershitstorm, but so cool and entertaining. Love this band!

Cocaïne Piss (photo from band Facebook)
Cocaïne Piss (photo from band Facebook)

Since T.S.O.L. is running late, the old boys from Flag are warming up tonight, as they say it. The band launches into a long set full of classics and truth be told they sound as energetic and frantic as ever. Keith Morris spits words out with venom, while the rest of the band works hard to keep the pace high. The crowd bursts into action and sings along to classics like ‘Fix Me’, ‘Wasted’ and ‘Police Story’. Notable is Dez Cadena, who has just has recovered from a battle with cancer. He’s here and clearly loving it.

Central on the stage is the ever energetic Chuck Dukowski, stomping his feet and slapping his bass with the same energy he always had. It’s a pleasure to see these guys at work and loving it. Towards the end, Dez takes over on vocals for a while, so Keith can take a break. Surely, the band launches into the all time favorites like ‘Rise Above’ and ‘Nervous Breakdown’ to close of with ‘Louie Louie’. It’s by then a sweaty mess in front of the stage. Due to the late arrival of the other headliner, the band comes back to jam some more. It’s just icing on the cake.

Flag IIII (photo from every press release)
Flag IIII (photo from every press release)

I’ve not been aware of T.S.O.L. for long, but I did know their frontman Jack Grisham, who strikes an imposing figure on stage at first. It’s soon though, that you notice that he’s a warm hearted frontman with a lot of wit and fun. The band puts out some great jams, which are largely carried by the rhythm section. Grisham sounds like a mixture of Jello Biafra and Bruce Dickinson. He sounds like  a strong and convincing figure.  The music is infused with a certain rock’n’roll swagger, distinguishing the band from later acts in the punk/hardcore scene and cementing their unique sound. It’s music to dance to!

We checked out a bunch of their songs, but due to the late hour we had to turn back home early. It’s great to see bands like this touring as hard as they do. Respect for those guys and specially for Jack Grisham and his boys, since theyir trip here must not have been a nice one. It proves that making hardcore for a life time is not for the money, but for the love of the music.

Photo’s all by the bands themselves, I just borrowed them from Facebook. Sadly I am unable to make decent photo’s with my phone. 

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