Planting the Flag

Dead Kennedys and Black Flag bring on reunion blues, PLUS the rock ‘n’ roll, punk and metal shows and DJ gigs you need to see this week, from Ty Segall to Yo la Tengo, Scorpions (pre-lameness-era) to Macheen.

For many of you, the big gig of the week is the return of hardcore pioneers the Dead Kennedys on Saturday night. As a younger man, I worshipped the Dead Kennedys as much as anyone (at least up to and including Plastic Surgery Disasters), but unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be darkening the door of the Corona Theatre this weekend. For those who haven’t been paying attention, you’ll want to note that the current line-up of the Dead Kennedys does not feature their main mouthpiece, Jello Biafra, and yep, there is an ocean of bad blood between the two parties. Despite the fact that their upcoming show features the lethal In God We Trust, Inc. line-up, the fact remains that if there’s no Jello, it just ain’t the DKs.

In related news, my favourite punk rock band of all time, Black Flag, announced last week that they’re reuniting, with festival dates this summer and a new record being recorded as we speak. Flying the Black Flag is, of course, founding member guitarist Greg Ginn and second Black Flag singer Ron “Chavo” Reyes. Despite Ginn having lost the plot in a plume of marijuana smoke around ’84 or so, I’ll definitely be throwing caution to the wind and praying he can still deliver another Nervous Breakdown, Damaged or My War. Reyes is guaranteed to be in solid form, judging from recent YouTube footage, but Ginn is a bit of a coin toss. The Black Flag reunion in L.A. five years ago was a complete fiasco and Ginn’s self-indulgent wanking over the years since Black Flag hung it up remains utterly unlistenable.

Coincidentally, another announcement made last week was the formation of a band called Flag. Members of Flag include BF members Keith Morris (Circle Jerks, Off!), Black Flag founding member and bassist Chuck Dukowski, longtime BF drummer Bill Stevenson (Descendents) and guitarist Stephen Egerton (also Descendents). This line-up is concentrating on Black Flag’s early material and is probably the better bet, despite the absence of Ginn. Morris has proven with Off! that he’s still brimming with piss and vinegar, while Stephen Egerton is easily the only man who could step up to Ginn’s riffs. Flag have also announced shows that will happen this spring and early summer.

If you want to dig into the history of one of rock ’n’ roll’s most important and ferocious bands ever, try and track down these three books: 2009’s Spray Paint the Walls: The Story of Black Flag by Stevie Chick (Omnibus Press), 1994’s Get in the Van by Henry Rollins (2.13.61) and the BF chapter in Michael Azerrad’s stunning 2001 tome, Our Band Could Be Your Life (Black Bay Books).

Alrighty, here’s the gigs! My big picks of the week are perfectly bookended at the beginning and end of the Hammer of the Mods calendar:

Tuesday – The first is garage rocker Ty Segall, who lays waste to Cabaret du Mile End with K-Holes and Ex Cult. Last year was a big one for Segall, and frankly it was nice to see the blogging tastemakers finally swooning over a real tried and true rocker. As good as Segall is on record, he definitely needs to be witnessed live to get the real picture.

Also happening tonight is the 12th edition of Buckfest, which is spreading itself out over the next couple of months and will feature over 100 bands. Head down to Café Chaos to catch the best power pop trio in the city, Dany Laj and the Looks, who uproot themselves from their regular digs at Barfly to play alongside Reverb Raiders and Adam Strangler.

Wednesday – At Notre-Dame-des-Quilles, you can catch the aptly titled Sexy Jams with DJ Jay Money. Expect smooth-as-butter grinds as the ladies swoon over Money’s turntables.

DJ Satannick’s metal night Friends of Hell returns for its regular hold on Katacombes, but this time the denim and leather warrior will be hosting a special homage to the Scorpions on their 40th anniversary. Fans of Scorpions, pre-lameness-era, might also want cast yer peepers on Friday’s listings below — tickets for that show will be available at a discount at this edition of Friends of Hell.

If you dig glam, psych, garage and the early days of good ‘ol punk rock, don’t miss DJ Chris Barry (the 222’s, 39 Steps) at this second night at le Bleury Bar à Vinyle.

Thursday – See Alexander MacSween — local experimental composer and ex-member of Bionic, Pest 5000, the Nils, Jerry Jerry and the Sons of Rhythm Orchestra and more — perform under his tidy moniker Macheen at la Elastica. MacSween will let antique drum machines careen through a host of processing pedals with the results running the gamut from minimalist to a flurry of polyrhythmic beats. Opening is Noir (aka Jesse Osborne-Lanthier) who extracts instructional dance videos from YouTube and processes them through his computer and analogue synth. This is a perfect night for dancers and chin-strokers alike.

Friday – If DJ Satannick’s night dedicated to the Scorps is getting you hot under the collar, don’t miss the extended jams of ex-Scorps shredder Uli Jon Roth. If you’re hip to Roth’s psyched-out work with Electric Sun, you know this ain’t gonna be any “Rock Me Like a Hurricane”-type shit. This shred-fest all goes down at the Corona Theatre.

If you dig your punk rock with a heaping amounts of psych and dementia, don’t miss the stacked local bill of Panopticon Eyelids with young bucks the American Devices, Hand and Knees and Leamers at Divan Orange.

Saturday – As mentioned above, the biggest ticket this week would easily be the return of hardcore legends the Dead Kennedys with the rejuvenated, reheated the Nils at the Corona Theatre. If you’re seeking the glory days of this early ’80s icons, you probably won’t find it here, but getting a chance to see one of punk rock’s tightest and most creative rhythm sections and guitarists may be worth the ticket price. Approach with caution.

If you dig your Sun Ra as much as your Hasil Adkins, you better check out the flipped-out and primal fuckery of the costumed duo known as Corona Ferox with Grupo Skip Jensen, les Hazelles and Porn Peoples at Casa. If you’re craving  some seriously fugged-up caveman stomp, this be the place.

Monday – If you believe in honky tonk angels and have spilled a fair amount of tears in your beer to the strains of George Jones and Waylon Jennings, you’ll definitely want to slip into your shit-kickers for the weekly residency Marshall Mondays, hosted by the Marshalls.

DJ Taylor Hoodlum (Jour de Sabbat) keeps them all guessing on his Come As You Are night at the newly relaunched and refurbished Juke Box. Although Hoodlum is best known for spinning punk rock and metal, he manages to surprise with a night that covers hip hop, dark wave and other danceable delights.

As promised, my second big pick of the week goes out to the return of college rock darlings Yo la Tengo at the Corona Theatre. Do not miss!!! ■

Current obsession: My Bloody Valentine, mbv

Leave a Reply