Hard-core punk might be the most exclusionary rock form ever. The music is uncompromisingly angry, stylistically simple-minded and thoroughly assaultive. This raises a question of whether this music can mean anything to anyone outside of the male clique that threw their bodies and spirits into the furious slam-dancing ritual that inevitably unfolded in front of the 9:30 club's stage last night.
The opening act, a bunch of Black Flag roadies operating under an unmentionable name, were sexist and racist and their humor was more moronic than comic. The band tried a few numbers at hard-core's mandatory breakneck speed, but quickly slowed down revealing a noxious, sludge-like hard rock. Few bodies were sacrificed to their awkward noise.
Then came L.A.'s Black Flag, hard-core's most popular group. The five-piece band directed wave after wave of thick, exhilarating rock riffs at the crowd, lead by the wildly metallic assaults of guitarist Gregg Ginn. The theatrical Henry Rollins paced the stage, injecting each of the group's somewhat anthemic compositions with a strong dose of physical and verbal rage. Nonetheless, there was a little of the clown in Rollins and more than a little of the pal, willing to share stage and vocals with his hard-core brethren in the audience. The truth is there was nothing mindless about this band. They aimed their music and feelings at the world and if only the kids up front slam-danced, everyone had to acknowledge the honesty of their message, whatever it might be.