Those words were spoken by Henry Rollins right before he launched into "Jealous Again." The show was at the Vic Theatre and it was the most intense show I've ever seen! Here's Rollins singing the songs of Black Flag live and in my face! Black Flag, people! One of my absolute favorite bands ever!
Rollins--A guy I've had a crush on for the past 20 years! Big muscle men don't usually turn my head, but this guy has not only turned my head, he has gotten right into it. No one has helped me get through the trauma of my teenage and early adult years like he has--and still is.
I've been in a real pissy mood for the last few days. Most of it has been work-related, but I was also just getting sick and tired of people talking shit, thinking I'm a freak, making me out to be some kind of huge fuckup when I'm actually just a small fuckup.
That all disappeared as soon as Keith Morris, Black Flag's original singer and leader of another great punk band, the Circle Jerks, hit the stage and started screaming, "I'm about to have a nervous breakdown/My head really hurts/If I don't find some way out of this/I'm gonna go beserk." Yeah! I can so relate!
That's why I loved Black Flag, throughout its rotating lineup. Their songs eloquently and simply spelled out my personal discontent. This show was a total wet dream for me! Keith sounds as awesome as ever, though the guy is looking a bit rough in his old age. Heavy bags under his eyes, lines on his face, small bald spot on the back of his head. I almost didn't recognize him. He's was also sporting long-ass dreads.
I was up front at the barricades, jumping up and down and whipping the people around me with my long hair. As Keith blazed through "I've Had It," Depression," "Fix Me," "Gimme Gimme Gimme," "Wasted" and about half a dozen others, everyone sang along, not missing a beat. It was wild!
There was no moshing, everyone was pogoing, engaging in some fist-banging mania and singing. At certain points, I couldn't hear Keith at all, just the audience singing. After Keith's set and some talk about the West Memphis Three case, which is what the proceeds from the show are going to benefit, Rollins came out, not in his usual half-naked state, but wearing a black T-shirt and black jeans. The band, which featured Chuck Dukowski on a bunch of tunes, were all similarly attired.
Rollins picked up where Keith left off, starting the set with "Rise Above," the first song on the first album that featured Rollins as Black Flag's latest singer. The whole crowd surged toward Henry's animal magnetism.
That's when the moshing broke out, but this was one of the easiest crowds I've ever had to deal with. At one point, I was crushed up against the barricades and this girl behind me said, "I can't move back. It's not my fault I'm crushing you."
I said, "Then you'll understand why I'm about to do this." I planted my feet flat against the metal mesh, like I was going to climb up it, and used them to push my whole body, along with the suffocating crowd, back. That was my only scary moment.
Rollins ran through a lengthy history. Almost every album was touched on, though most of the songs came from "Damaged," which is their best album, in my opinion. Rollins, soaked and spitting, crouched in his widespread stance, dropped bomb after musical bomb. "Clocked In," "Room 13," "TV Party," "Police Story," "Black Coffee," "My War."
He also threw out some lovely pearls. "Last night, we played Detroit and they were so drunk, they were so arrestable, they were so easy to kill. That's why you get a dumb person for president, that's why you get dumb people for cops, cuz you make yourselves so easy to kill. Not me, I'm too fast. I'm too smart. I'm too strong. They're not gonna kill me. Not easily." Me neither, I vowed, me neither.
For an encore, he and the rest of the band went into dynamite cover band territory and did four songs from the Ramones: "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker," "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment," "Time Bomb" and "Rockaway Beach." If you thought the crowd was going crazy before, they totally went apeshit over the Ramones tunes.
It was bizarre to hear Henry sing, (yes, I said sing!) some of America's best modern pop tunes. At the end of the show, Jason, the bassist, held out the set list toward the audience. I immediately jumped up and grabbed it. The girl who was crushing me earlier said, "Hey! He was going to give that to me!" Riiight. Sorry, sugar, I'm too fast, too smart, too strong