Friday, December 13, 2019

Epic. Fucking. Night: Minor Threat thrashes at Dancing Waters in San Pedro, CA, in 1982


Andy on the left in flannel watching Minor Threat at Dancing Waters on July 11, 1982, in San Pedro, CA.
Photo courtesy of John Phaneuf.


By Andy

I couldn't get enough.

I had already experienced the ferocity of Minor Threat's live show for two consecutive nights, but there's always room for more in my book. Plus, you never know whether you'll get another shot to catch your favorite band live again, especially after they broke up once and hailed from across the US in Washington, DC.

This July 11, 1982 gig at Dancing Waters in San Pedro, CA, was just as crucial as the San Fernando Valley and San Diego stunners that preceded this raucous gathering amongst a host of South Bay friends -- including two-night driver Mike Paul -- who were jonesing for some Minor Threat action as well.

In the above photo, with me on the left donning a flannel (that most likely reeked of beer and clove cigarettes), things appear calm, but that respite from the chaos didn't last long. Lyle Preslar looks ready to launch into an opening riff and Ian MacKaye would quickly turn to the crowd and lead us into a punk-rock warzone that we'd never experienced before. While I may look set in my coveted spot, that would change in an instant once the mayhem was unleashed. All systems were go and everyone up front got yanked into the maelstrom.

It was fucking unbelievable and something I haven't felt at a gig since that night.

To prep us for the Minor Threat bomb that would soon explode, Black Flag played a short set along with Circle One and MIA, I believe. Henry Rollins was in full force during Minor Threat's set, as well, piling onto the stage with the rest of us to share vocal duties with MacKaye, who was more than willing to hand off the mic.

It was another killer show, and probably the best of the three in a row (and certainly more intimate than the massive July 3 gig at The Barn at Alpine Village, where you could barely see the band on the stage because of the constant stream of divers and slammers. MacKaye's bald head popped up every once in a while, so you knew he was there).

Bumps, bruises and hoarse voices aside for all involved, the ride home after Dancing Waters was bliss, knowing that we were witness to something special that night.

Here's some recollections of that legendary night from a pair of friends, who are also spotted in the photos:


Doug Carrion:
I remember it being a SUPER fun show. Lyle was bitching about the monitors. There was a live recording floating around the beach area afterwards. Fletcher was the one that introduced me to Minor Threat and I was hooked!! Live, they played just like the recordings, blazing fast and you got a feeling of flying by the seat of your pants. It was also the first show I had gone to that had the kids up front singing (East Coast style ) .. normally it was slamming, and stage dives. I knew this was a special show -- dare I say history in the making. Even seeing SSD or Misfits back then, it wasn't a positive sing-along experience like seeing Minor Threat. In fact, that was the ONLY time I saw them. (When they) played the Barn, I got in trouble and my mom had me on lock down at the house, but that's another story. I also remember they played a reggae song at the end, it might have been a bad brains song and Ian was waiting for the sound guy to turn on the delay for his vocals. (Jah, are you there?) It was an interesting contrast to their other songs. Minor Threat at Dancing Waters, that shit was EPIC!! I guess I was in the right place at the right time!!


Henry Rollins, second from right, gets into the Minor Threat action at Dancing Waters.
Photo courtesy of John Phaneuf


Chris O'Connor:
We rolled down to Dancing Waters...not sure who drove, may have been Fletcher. Before Minor Threat hit the stage, me and Herder ran to his truck and grabbed a cassette then ran over to the sound man and asked if he could tape the set...he said sure...kinda easy! We made our way up to the front and it went off! They closed their set with covers from Bad Brains and Gov Issue -- Asshole dub and Right Brigade. After the set, we ran back and he handed me the cassette...then we all jumped into the car and I surprised everyone when I popped it into the player....it sounded great! The tape got passed around and the rest is history! I sent it to Max RNR years later and Chris Dodge kept it and never did anything with it...just recently it appeared on Oakland Distort. I spoke with the owner and told him the story...he even had the original tape I sent him with the art I did. Full Circle!


*** Here you go... the tape!



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