Well, the hills were definitely alive with the sound of music this weekend as Cardiff was rock city central with quality on offer at every turn across the city and tonight, Saturday, You have MC50 and the Coop over at the enormadome but me I’m in the sweaty packed confines of the Tramshed to witness the first performance of Black Flag in this town along with Californian punks total Chaos.

I was pleased to see the venue was pretty much sold out considering what else was on in town and a really mixed audience packed out the place. Total Chaos takes the stage and immediately get down to business and use every year of their 30 plus in this business to knock out a set of dirty filthy metal meets street punk that ticked all the boxes.  Spikey har, shouty choruses, swearing, studded belts, black and white t-shirts, and songs that rally against the government, cops, teachers, parents, society etc bla, bla, bla but- big but.  They do it well and in a really convincing manner. In fairness, unlike many of their contempories, the temptation to take it in a full metal direction is resisted and to be nothing more than a “go through the motions” punk by numbers band is also averted but only just. 

As nice as it was to see the likes of Total Chaos play Cardiff Tramshed tonight is all about the headliner for me having never seen Ginn play and having been familiar with the various line ups throughout my adult life it was one to tick off the list even if it was Black Flag twice removed.  to say it is a band that had many line up changes and different vocalists that managed to remain credible throughout its existence so why should now be an exception? if you’ve got a ticket for Black flag 2019 then you know what you’re getting so all that history and he said she said should be tucked away under the mattress for tonight.  Ginn and Valley work well and to be fair as a frontman Black Flag are the perfect vehicle and his delivery is spot on at times you could close your eyes and be forgiven for thinking Rollins was on the stage. It was a best of set and I’d imagine by the laminated set lists the same set on every night of the tour ‘Black Coffee’ sounded brutal as did the likes of ‘Fix Me’, ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’ and ‘Loose Nut’ and this four piece were nailing the Black Flag sound with the aid of the incredibly tight rhythm section  who to be fair were the perfect players to enable Ginn to do his thing as he gave his head a wobble and let his fingers fly across the fretboard. There were times when the extended intros went on a little longer than they possibly should as it kinda stopped any momentum building but it did provide some respite and showcase how good the players were riffing off each other ‘Six Pack’ was definitely the exception to the rule with the rhythm section hammering home how tight they were and how bloody good the song is.

Valley must have gobbed out twice his body weight but worked up a hell of a sweat as he brought the house down with a brutal ‘Six Pack’, ‘Clocked In’ and crowd pleasers ‘Jealous Again’ but it was the finale of ‘Nervous Breakdown’ followed by an exceptional ‘Rise Above’ complete with gang vocals from Total Chaos before the final number the progbustin ‘Louis Louis’ that seemed like a strange song to end the set, Well under normal circumstances it would have been nice to hear a couple of other Black Flag tunes but I guess a cover is alright but to make it last over ten minutes might have been a cool down post-workout for the band and those in the pit but it was the opportunity for me to snake my way out of the venue and get a head start getting out of dodge.

I’m glad I got the chance to see such a legendary name and player like Ginn play his songs but I can’t help think how much I’d love to have seen the original or the Rollins version but I guess that was then and this is now and the now is a pretty cool place to be. It might not be the ’70s anymore but I’m sure Ginn is pleased there isn’t a line of cops outside with billy clubs drawn. The club is clean and the stage pristine and raised unlike the good/bad old days and security that are really excellent and look out for the audience who might have had a little too much to drink, are rowdy, take no notice of the no crowdsurfing signs and run the club well. Whilst the trade-off might be a little of the danger that’s associated with Black Flag or the edge of seeing them in a tight room with an air of rebellion and danger might have dissipated but these are different times for sure but one thing remains and thats the back catalogue of songs. They are still as good as they ever were and as long as Ginn has six strings on his guitar the singers may come and go but they will always be one of the most influential bands from American punk rock and that will never be diminished.

Who Knows, Maybe, just maybe before these guys retire it would be nice to know that the old members would shake on it and for one night only turn back the clock but until then this version is more than capable of delivering the goods.

Author: Dom Daley

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First up on this windswept and wet Monday we have The Badrocks take on Portisheads ‘Glory Box’.

 

In Direct contrast and seeing as they’re over here in the UK this week how about some Black Flag.

Finally, in tribute to Kim Shattuck we pay our respects by adding ‘Sad Tomorrow’ from The Muffs turn it up kids and listen to the Muffs.

 

With 2019 quickly rolling downhill towards 2020 and with Halloween just around the corner and Shit Island still under Tory rule heres a playlist to take you away from the humdrum of real-life and to take a peek at whats on the RPM turntables and MP3 players this month.

Alice Cooper is in the house with Go Man Go taken from his excellent EP ‘The Breadcrumbs EP’ and how could we not include Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind so get down and get with it as ‘Shazam’ is in the house on the virtual player.

Also on the live front we’ve caught up with the awesome Cyanide Pills who are ‘Still Bored’. this month we’ve got an exclusive interview we recently did with Spunk Volcano so it seems right we should include ‘Shit Excuse’ from ‘Double Bastard’.  It seems that every man and his dog is attending one of The Cult winter tour dates so why not play ‘New York City’ from the 30th Anniversary ‘Sonic Temple’.

Hands up if you’re heading to one of the Black Flag dates around the UK this month?  We are so ‘My War’ is on the list. Pulled Apart By Horses rode into Newport and left a mark so ‘The Big What If’ is on the list.

As for new albums we’ve reviewed how about a few new ones starting off with Pardon Us with the opening track on their debut album ‘Wait’ ‘check out ‘Beyond The Valley Of The Wolves’. The Hangmen are back with ‘Cactusville’ as are Starcrawler who we’ve included with the excellent rock and rolla ‘No More Pennies’, Bitch Queens bring ‘Superboy’ and their brothers from different mother are back with a new single.  The Hip Priests ‘I Hate The City’ from their recent split but fear not pop pickers they have another single on the way this month we’ve heard it and its a no brainer kids all killer and no filler was written for them.

As we say goodbye to Barrie Masters we’ve included Eddie And The Hot Rods cover of ‘Once Bitten Twice Shy’.  Since they’re having a movie made about them we think it’s apt that we include the awesome Redd Kross with ‘Motorboat’ on this months playlist.  turn it up baby because Charger make the paylist with ‘Victim’ from their self titled record. Cockroach Clan released their new/old record so why not sample some Norweigan punk rock whilst youre here.

It wouldn’t seem right not to have a Wildhearts tune in our playlist seeing as they have a new mini-album out this month and are playing the UK again so heres ‘A Song About Drinking’.  Supporting them on this round of dates are Janus Stark who also have a headliner at the hope & Anchor so with news of their new album released last week heres one from them for good measure – We can’t play you anything new but trust us when we say it’s going to be worth the wait so to keep you going heres ‘Every Little Thing Counts’.  It only seems fair we offer up some Shitbaby Mammals with the opener from their record ‘Heart On My Sleeve’.  To wrap up this months playlist heres some Black Star Riders with the second track from their new album and title track ‘Another State Of Grace’. So until next month…

David Bowie took ‘Diamond Dogs’ out on tour around shit Island on this day back in 1974. The cover art features Bowie as a striking half-man, half-dog grotesque painted by Belgian artist Guy Peellaert. It was controversial as the full painting clearly showed the hybrid’s genitalia. A few copies of this original cover made their way into circulation at the time of release but hey anything goes in 2019 so if you want to see the originally intended artwork then here it is!

 

That was the ’70s and any excuse to show a bit of Bowie is good enough for us. Moving into the Naughties and on this day Velvet Revolver released a fine debut album ‘Contraband’ which spawned the hits ‘Fall To Pieces’ and ‘Slither’.  the band made up of Slash, Matt Sorum and Duff McKagan, along with Scott Weiland and Dave Kushner.

Formed in 2002 when Slash and Duff played a benefit concert for Randy Castillo,  who died of cancer. Stone Temple Pilots had split up, so the Guns N Roses pair pulled in Scott Weiland as lead singer although it was rumoured that Marc from Peckham Cowboys was also auditioned the line up was completed by Sorum (also in GnR) and second guitarist Dave Kushner.

During the recording of the album, Weiland was ordered by the court to attend rehab and as part of the deal, he was able to record at several hours at a time in order to complete the album.

Whilst on the subject of high maintenance band members on this day in ’69 the Stones officially parted company with Brian Jones who said he was leaving the band to play his “kind of music” his departure was barely a month old before he was found dead in his pool.

Finally Happy Birthdays to Greg Ginn – Born today in 1954 in Arizona.   Ginn also owns the independent record label, SST, originally begun as an electronics company called Solid State Tuners when he was only 12 years old.  Don’t know if its a well-known fact but Ginn is the older brother of artist Raymond Ginn, who is better known using by the name Raymond Pettibon (He of the OFF! album covers and the iconic Black Flag four-bar logo)

Another iconic musician who pioneered the new romantic scene Happy Birthday Nick Rhodes (born today in 1962) who came to prominence out of the post-punk scene that morphed into new romantics  playing keyboards or synths in Duran Duran.

Born Nicholas James Bates who helped start the band in the late ’70s in Birmingham whilst DJing at the Rum Runner club in the city center. It was there he met the other members of the band who were also employed at the club. Rhodes went on to international superstardom with Duran.  He also had a successful career with Arcadia which he formed with LeBon and Roger Taylor whilst the other two went off to Rock out with Power Station and the duranies went on hietus.

Rhodes always the artier one went on to become an accomplished photographer as well as several successful side projects but he always came back to Duran Duran.  Happy Birthdays Greg and Nick.