Chicago’s famous Double Door venue hosts an evening of punk to a sold out audience of all ages and generations.
08-June-2016: Black Flag founding member Keith Morris with band alumni, Chuck Dukowski, Dez Cadena, Bill Stevenson, and Stephen Egerton are still playing the classic punk music to packed audiences across the nation. The latter two are members of veteran punk artist, The Descendants.
The band has dropped the word “black” from the moniker and have simplified the legal drama by touring as Flag. It’s amazing to think that these guys are all still alive, let alone selling out venues and performing with the energy and enthusiasm of men half their age, but they are, and they are astounding.
The most interesting thing about these kinds of tours are the people who attend. You can tell the old timers by the gray in their hair and their reluctance to be near the mosh pit. They stand in a horseshoe formation in the back of the main crowd, usually with their arms folded across their chests. Each has that thousand-yard stare and seems genuinely amused when the newbies join in the pit in an unsaid initiation ceremony, and they are genuinely proud. This is punk.
Trends come and go, and generations overlap when the younger folk adopt an era they never lived in but wished they had. The respect toward each other in this particular audience was something special, almost like a passing of the torch in a way. Quite bittersweet.
The “old timers” will always have their punk. They were the generation to see it happen when they were angsty teens tired of disco and Leave It To Beaver parents but something poetic happened at the Double Door on this night, and everyone in the room could feel it. Flag was exceptional in every sense of the word. From warming up off stage to the first angry riff of “Revenge.” They played fast and loud, one song bleeding into the next and it seemed like it was over in a flash.
The Double Door is a Chicago legend all its own. Countless bands have started out there. Some have gone on to be famous, and others have failed. But even though the city and venue have been quarreling with each other for years, one can only hope that the music gods prevail and the Wicker Park venue stays open. It is a cornerstone of culture, memories, and history and is part of what makes Chicago the quintessential city it is, and it must be preserved and protected at all costs.
It may not even be possible for Flag to have chosen a better band to support them other than Minneapolis punks, Off With Their Heads. Younger, full of angst and directed depression, OWTH are masters when it comes to the emotionally wrecked riff paired with intelligent lyrics.
No strangers to the local punk scene since 2003, plenty of fans showed up early to make sure they heard every song and proudly sang along at the top of their lungs.
The band invited everyone at the venue to follow them to an after-party at the Liar’s Club, one of the best local neighborhood bars in the city. If you haven’t been there, make a point to go at some point.
The band took over the DJ booth and continued the adrenaline for a post-punk show extravaganza and eased everyone into the end of the night in true Midwest style, with beer and good music. Buy some of their music and get wrecked for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
Flag Set List: Revenge, Fix Me, Police Story, I Don’t Care, I’ve Had It, No Values, My War, Jealous Again, Wasted, Clocked In, American Waste, Spray Paint, Thirsty & Miserable, Padded Cell, Six Pack, Nervous Breakdown, Louie Louie.