Black Flag at Brick and Mortar
Photo by Erin Dage

A large half circle encompassed the majority of the floor of Brick and Mortar as Violence Creeps’ Amber Feigel stood in the center of the room, yowling fiercely into her microphone. The audience, less than under-attended, had somehow taken haven as far away from the stage as Feigel crept across the room making use of the space and the apprehensive crowd around her.

The unquestionably influential Black Flag would later grace the stage, alongside Brooklyn’s Cinema Cinema. However, it felt very “unpunk” watching Feigel perform to a half empty room as a teenager bought a $15 t-shirts at the Black Flag merch table across the way.

Despite the distance, Violence Creep’s Max Nordile, some kind of weirdo D. Boone resurrected, slammed his bass against his amp creating a sludge of sound; the drums picked up, and Violence Creeps entered their most caustic track “On My Turf.” Everything about their set was equal parts satisfying and inspiring, and despite a crowd that consisted of some sitting on the ground, Feigel and the boys took the opportunity to give a performance that made this reviewer proud to know that they hailed from the Bay Area.

Black Flag at Brick and Mortar
Photo by Ruby Perez

Brooklyn’s Cinema Cinema, who has been the consistent opener for Black Flag through the majority of this tour, took the stage. Consisting of cousins Ev Gold and Paul Claro, the band produces atmospheric punk music with sludgy tracks that ride gracefully into the next. Despite a prolonged technical difficulty, and some bickering about the counting of songs, the group delivered a set that was fast, loud, and telling of their genre.

Black Flag at Brick and Mortar
Photo by Erin Dage

Finally, Black Flag took the stage, or rather, the current weird variation of Black Flag took the stage. Composing of Greg Ginn, Mike Vallely, Tyler Smith, and Brandon Pertzborn, there is something misleading about attending a reunion when the lineup consists of only one original member.

However, moving past the nostalgia and longing for the original lineup, Black Flag’s performance gave the people what they wanted. Performing a diverse collection of songs from a variety of albums, the group made sure to include hard hitters into the set such as “Gimme Gimme Gimme,” “Can’t Decide,” and “Black Coffee.” Vallely, whose mannerism and vocals are quite on par with ex-vocalist Henry Rollins, orchestrated the crowd into a flurry of fists and fits as a pit formed and carried throughout the entirety of the set. Composed of people young and old, friends and lovers, the scene was full of drunk kisses and ecstatic embraces as Black Flag performed from their lengthy and diverse discography.

Black Flag at Brick and Mortar
Photo by Erin Dage

Black Flag, like all great influential bands, is the kind of group whose music clearly has carried and played pivotal roles in the lives of people. Regardless of the conflict that seems to follow them, it was apparent by the crowd’s reaction that this is the kind of band that at some point has had a major impact on a person's life.

After nearly two hours of performance, the group ended with “Louie Louie” with members of Cinema Cinema joining the band on stage as the grand finale.

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