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Black Flag - tiina liimu photo

Chinese Cultural Centre - July 20, 2013

Black Flag's reunion of the Jealous Again era beckoned diversity. It was a who’s who of Vancouver's older punk scene, metal heads and, surprisingly, a healthy crew of ener-getic minors. First up: an excellent female three-piece Vancouver band called Lié. Splendid angular punk riffs and captivating call and answer vocal trade-offs.

Vacant state busted out '80s-inspired hardcore in a blinding set with barked vocals and shredding guitar. If Ginn and Reyes conspired together and threw this Black Flag reunion as a platform to showcase their new bands then that was an excellent idea, because it was at this point the venue really began to fill and gave both bands a near full house.

A solid set by Piggy and they looked like they were having fun with lots of smiles and band interaction. Reyes is a pretty slick guitarist and has managed to construct some catchy '70s inspired rock songs. Complemented by Izzy Gibson’s snarly vocals han-dling the packed house with ease while bass player Lisafurr Lloyd held it down magnif-icently.

Good For You was Ginn’s blues inspired jam band featuring pro skateboarder Mike Vallely on vocals with a style that is unique to say the least. He stood there like a dollar store Jesus and sang a lot with animated hand movements. Questionable at the start but by mid set they grew on me leaving me curious to hear their recording.

Finally, the moment twenty-six years in the making and it was great to see Reyes and Ginn to-gether again. You could sense the fan scepticism of the current line-up. Regardless, they came out roaring and never let up. Covering all the “hits” that Reyes never sang on and the few that he did. Reyes is an amazing frontman. A few songs seemed unfamiliar and most likely the new material that was well received by the front-row faithful. Only the haters hated and everybody else was there to have a good time a listen to some classic punk songs performed by very professional musicians. The highlight was mid set as they banged out a substantial portion of the classic Damaged record. They finished with cover song “Louie, Louie”, which rolled through my head on my way home, instead of Black Flag. I’m still not sure why people would even attend if they weren’t happy with the line-up. Many were left outside searching fruitlessly for extra tickets.

- Heath Fenton