Friday, February 22, 2013

Get in the van — or on the plane: Black Flag and Flag 2013 tour dates, U.S. and abroad

BLACK FLAG'S Greg Ginn and Ron Reyes have been busy recording songs for a new album in Taylor, Texas.

FLAG has added Dez Cadena on second guitar to go along with its powerhouse lineup of Keith Morris (who has almost fully recovered from a diabetic coma, according to OFF!'s Facebook page), Chuck Dukowski, Bill Stevenson and Stephen Egerton.

There's lots of action on tap for these guys in the coming months and they're sure to keep the punks entertained.

FLAG will be first out of the gate:

April 26, Monster Bash 2013, Munich, Germany

April 27, Monster Bash 2013, Berlin, Germany

April 28, Groezrock, Meerhout, Belgium

May 27, Punk Rock Bowling, Las Vegas, NV

June 8, Orion Festival, Belle Isle, Detroit, MI

June 14, NXNE Music Festival, Toronto, CAN

June 15, Amnesia Rockfest, Montebello, CAN

BLACK FLAG'S got a packed docket:

May 14, Rockhal Club, Luxembourg

May 15, Alcatraz, Milano, Italy

May 16, Dynamo, Zurich, Switzerland

May 17, The Orion, Rome, Italy

May 18, Ruhrpott Rodeo, Hünxe, Germany

May 20,  Arena Wien, Austria

May 23, Infest, Austin, TX

May 24, Trees, Dallas, TX

May 25, The Korova, San Antonio, TX

June 6,  Granada Theater, Lawrence, KS

June 7, Wooly's Des Moines, IA

June 8-9, Reggie's Rock Club, Chicago, IL

June 10, Majestic Theatre, Detroit, MI

June 14-15, Warsaw, Brooklyn, NY

June 17, Union Transfer, Philadelphia, PA

June 18, Growlers, Roanoke, VA

June 19, Buster's, Lexington, NY

June 20, Southgate House, Newport, KY

June 21, Fubar, St. Louis, MO

July 10, Tricky Falls, El Paso, TX

July 11, Club Red/Red Owl, Tempe, AZ

July 12-13, The Observatory, Santa Ana, CA

July 14, Vex Arts Los Angeles, CA

July 16, The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA

July 18, Hawthorne Theater, Portland, OR

July 19, El Corazon, Seattle, WA

July 20, TBA, Vancouver, BC

July 23, Oakland Opera House, Oakland, CA

July 24, Ventura Theater, Ventura, CA

Aug. 3, Resurrection Fest, Viveiro, Spain

Aug. 4, Hevy Fest, Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent, UK

Aug. 9, Ieperfest, Ieper, Belgium

Aug. 10, Melkweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Aug. 31, Muddy Roots Music Festival, Cookeville, TN

Top, Keith Morris with OFF!, bottom Ron Reyes with Piggy. (Andy and Cat photos)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fully accepting a Negative Approach

Intense -- Negative Approach's John Brannon. (All Andy photos)

By Andy

Ah, the wonderful feeling of having a stage diver's boot nail you in the back of the neck.

And there it is again. Another punk arrows toward you, feet first and clips your ear. (The ears were already being pummeled because I was standing near the PA speakers, so no biggie there.)

But that's the price you pay for getting up close to watch Detroit powerhouse Negative Approach, right? Parts of your body and eardrums will be pulsating and ringing in the morning, but who cares? --- it's NA, god dammit.

Oh yeah, your voice, too, will be sore from participating in the gang vocals, but "if that's what it takes, we're ready to fight," as in plowing your way up front to get the job done.

Before gravel-voiced, hard-staring vocalist John Brannon and crew took the stage on Wednesday night at Chop Suey in Seattle, I told my friend, Tim, that I'd probably take it easy off to the side of the stage and get some pics and video in the "safe zone." However, once the band started, there was no hiding from the mayhem -- a massive slam pit erupted and it was every man and woman for themselves. (And like any wild gig, things get unbuckled, literally … What did I just step on? Oh, there's someone's belt. A stray shoe?… yes, there was one of those, too.)

I told Tim that when I was younger, I'd wedge my way through the crowd to be up front and participate in some vocal action with my favorite bands like Minor Threat, the Misfits and more. I would not be denied some microphone time with Ian MacKaye and Glenn Danzig … just try and stop me.

Maybe not tonight, I said to Tim, as we both chuckled.

Ron Sakowski, Harold Richardson and Brannon.

But once NA started, there I was, instinctively barreling my way toward the front, pushing a few people out of the way, dodging stage divers (most of the time) and yelling out lyrics with the rest of the crowd.

It was like old times, just the way it should be.

(Beth and Nickle were also part of our formidable NA crew.... Unfortunately, Cat couldn't make the gig, because she was "sick with flu, sick with flu, don't cough on me at all." Yeah, I had to stick an NA reference in there, taking liberties with the lyrics, of course.)


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stag pops and crackles on new album / Review

By Andy

Magical moments never fade away.

About a year and a half ago, Stag frontman Steve Mack's eyes lit up when he told me about calling his mom on the phone after he got the gig as singer for That Petrol Emotion in the '80s.

"I can't believe I'm playing with the guys from the Undertones!" he said as if the call were placed this morning.

After Cat and I have watched Mack play with Stag many times in the Seattle area, there's no doubt that the vibrant singer feels equally as enthusiastic about sharing the stage with Ben London (guitar/vocals), Rob Dent (drums), Pete Everett (bass) and Lincoln Barr (guitar/vocals).

Mack and Everett in action . (Cat Rose photo)

The quintet can power-pop it up with the best of them -- and they can also out-rock most harder bands in the guitar-riff and -solo department.

Upon first hearing the band at Darrell's Tavern in Shoreline, I was time-machined back to my youth when my dad presented me with Cheap Trick's "Heaven Tonight" LP one Christmas morning. Cat and I were on board instantly.

Stag recently released its first full-length album on Fin Records to go along with a pair of EPs and a single. We know these songs well from the live setting and Jack Endino teamed up with the Stag men on the production front to capture the band's tunes just right. An easy-going flow on the pop end -- and then a bang to the ears in the rock realm.

"These Times" kicks off the 12-song set with aplomb and everything rolls from there with standouts "Love Her Records," "Don't Lead With Your Heart," "Mountains of Steel," "Tiffany Rose" and others. London crafts the songs well and also made a wise choice by including a cover of "Get the Message" by Eric Carmen, a Cyrus Erie tune.

On "These Times," Mack leads with, "Why are you just going through the motions? Standing by the tracks, waiting as the trains pass you by?" ...and soon comes the big chorus, "These times are for all of us." The song is usually perfectly set in the closer position during live sets, but also thrives in the lead-off spot here -- hit listeners hard right away and then continue on down the line with one gem after another.

Stag's time is now.

From left, Mack, London, Everett, Dent and Barr. (Cat Rose photo)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Rock blow out! Sonics and Mudhoney / Live Review

Singin', dancin', stompin' and wine drinkin' make for a killer evening with the Sonics and Mudhoney at the helm, but they also call for an early bedtime for some of the older rockers in the crowd.

On Saturday night, the two groundbreaking bands paired up for a sold-out gig at the Showbox near their home environs in Seattle. The Sonics started cranking out their tunes in Tacoma in the '60s, while Mudhoney cut its teeth at dingy clubs down the street from the Showbox in the '80s.

In 2013, a Sonics/Mudhoney gig finally comes to fruition and everyone involved is stoked beyond belief.

Here's a rundown:

• People eager to get their evening going — and work off their early-bird dinner special — start lining up at the club a while before the doors open at 7.

• Mudhoney hits the stage exactly at 8. They start out slow, leading us to wonder if they're watering down their set so they won't raise the attendees' blood pressure too high.

• Mark Arm and crew hit their mark about five songs in with "In 'N' Out of Grace" and roll from there. At one point, Arm falls over backward and knocks over a mic stand near the drum kit. Later, he asks drummer Dan Peters to extend "Tales of Terror" so he can bolt backstage to refill his wine glass.

• The Sonics rip into their opener, "Cinderella," at about 9:30 and original members Gerry Roslie (vox/keys), Rob Lind (sax/harp/vox) and Larry Parypa (guitar/backing vox) are grinning ear to ear at the wild crowd reaction.

• Up in front of the stage, one lady — presumably related to one of the band members since she's allowed in front of the barrier — dances up a storm while holding her wine glass. There's no spillage the entire time as she balances her grooving with her drinking.

• Bassist Freddie Dennis (a cross between William Shatner and Patton Oswalt) doesn't do anything fancy with his playing, but he keeps the band rolling with a steady, thumping sound.

• Closing out the hour long set is …. you got it — "The Witch." Stellar!