The lineup of Black Flag has varied dramatically across the last 40 years but the band is still fronted by original member Greg Ginn who is currently 68 years old. The vocals for the band were assured by pro-skateboarder Mike Vallely who is the second longest-serving member of the band despite not having appeared on any of the albums.
This will be primarily a positive review of the show. I had a whole lot of fun during the evening, but my one gripe was that the show started much later than advertised. The show was supposed to start at 8 PM. I headed towards the venue towards 7 PM, figuring I would have time to relax, have a beer and see the show. The show only started at around 9 PM. You could see the crowd getting impatient as people were just standing around wondering what was going on. Since there was no opening band, it felt quite long…
However, once Black Flag hit the stage, the crowd was enthused and ready to rock. The band jumped right into performing their classic My War album. The crowd started jumping around and singing along as soon as the first classic guitar notes hit our ears. The band played this legendary album from start to finish. Henry Rollins shoes may be quite tricky to fill, but Mike gave a fantastic performance throughout the evening. Fans of the album enjoyed the set but nearing the end of it, I think the crowd was ready for the greatest hits set.
After a short interlude of about 20 minutes, the band climbed back on the stage and delivered some of their classic material, including such songs as Nervous Breakdown, Fix Me, Gimmie Gimme Gimme and many others. The crowd sang along to these classics (with many in the crowd not even being born when these were initially released). Everyone got to hear their favourite Black Flag song during this part of the set. My personal highlights were Six Pack, Black Coffee and an updated version of TV Party, switching up the lyrics to be a bit less dated. They ended their set with their iconic song Rise Above and an extra-long version of the rock and roll classic Louie Louie.
Greg Ginn was in fantastic form, and Mike and the band gave a solid performance of all these classic tracks. The songs of Black Flag don’t seem to have aged much and are still as good today as they were 40 years ago. Despite only having one original member, everyone enjoyed hearing all these iconic songs live. It was a great evening of classic hardcore punk in Montreal.
Review – Jason Maher
Photos – Kieron Yates