Not only can you go home again, Scream proved Sunday night at the Black Cat. You can also prompt an outbreak of crowd surfing when you get there.
One of the most accessible of D.C.'s hardcore punk bands, Scream was active for most of the 1980s, and has played a few reunion shows since its split. (A 1996 Black Cat gig was even memorialized on CD.) This time around, the band demonstrated its seriousness with freshly written material and a new guitarist, Clint Walsh. He supplemented the original lineup: Singer Pete Stahl, guitarist Franz Stahl, bassist Skeeter Thompson and drummer Kent Stax.
The band opened with "Bet You Never Thought,'' one of its more Clash-like stompers, and prompted the mosh pit's first eruption a few songs later with "Fight/American Justice.'' The set ran 65 minutes -- long for '80s hardcore -- in part because the musicians dallied between numbers. When the band got going, though, it mixed punk, reggae and blues-rock with as much swagger as it did in 1985.
Not present was Scream's most famous alumnus, Foo Fighter/Crooked Vulture Dave Grohl, who replaced Stax in the group's final years. But the show did feature Doc Night, who added sax to two loping tunes, and guitarist Brian Baker. The latter, who was playing with the now-iconic Minor Threat at the time Scream emerged, joined for a raucous encore set that included Eddie Cochran's "Somethin' Else.'' To judge by the grin on his face, Baker was also glad to be home.
--Mark Jenkins, Dec. 21, 2009