What with the Amnesia Rockfest in Quebec this weekend, there was a metric fuckton of punk rock icons hitting Toronto in the middle of the week. Between Wednesday and Thursday, this city played host to Against Me, Dead Kennedys, At the Drive-In, Flag, DOA, Agnostic Front, Art Bergmann and Turbonegro–without mentioning all of their supporting acts. Evidently I can’t be in seven places at once, so for me, Lee’s was the place to be last night for a pair of hardcore pioneers from both sides of the border. (Incidentally, Agnostic Front was also playing upstairs…but that was a separate ticket.)
The touring support for this gig was a Baltimore outfit called War on Women. You can probably guess which ideology they espouse on stage. But politics aside, this group displayed all the rage and vitriol of the Dischord 80’s, along with the grit and grime of My War Side A. I’d give ’em equal pay!
I’m somewhat ashamed to say I hadn’t seen DOA in a dog’s age. The Canadian punk mainstays did a farewell tour a few years back, but ever since Joey Shithead failed to win his B.C. riding for the NDP, they’ve been back in the saddle, and pulling no punches politically. (Check out their new Donald Trump t-shirt!) From “Class War” to “World War III,” “Marijuana Motherfucker” to “Disco Sucks” through to “Fuck You,” they rained down a golden shower of hits–with apologies to Keith Morris–and really got things moving in the pit!
Who needs Black Flag when you’ve got Flag? Assuming that Rollins and Greg Ginn will never kiss and make up, this is the closest we’ll come to a true Black Flag concert. I thought the band sounded best on some of the early stuff–“Fix Me,” “Wasted,” “Nervous Breakdown”–but Morris put forth a spirited rendition of “My War,” while Dez grabbed the mic for a mean “Thirsty and Miserable” quenched by “Six Pack.” That guy from OFF! does a great Greg Ginn impression, but I gotta say, Chuck Dukowski kinda stole the show. The dude has twice the energy of many bassists half his age–I’d love to see him start a side project with Orodruin axeman John Gallo, just for the pure entertainment value…
Bottom line, this band is 10 times better than Greg Ginn’s Nobodies, who I actually paid to see a couple years back. And while there couldn’t have been more than 50 people at that “Black Flag” gig, the place was packed last night!