Black Flag plays a perfectly chaotic show


Theo shredded on the guitar and moved all around the stage during his performance. Photo credit: Melissa Herrera

Punk fans of all ages gathered at The Senator Theatre in Downtown Chico on Thursday night to see Black Flag perform. As at staple of classic punk rock for four decades, to many this set was much more than just a performance.

Rocking on the Rail
Fans gathered on the railing to head bang. Photo credit: Melissa Herrera

The show kicked off with an opening performance from the London-based band, King Nun. Their set alternative rock set was very well received.

Their performance was wildly engaging, with lead singer Theo Polyzoides even running into the audience and getting people closer to the stage. It was, to say the least, a performance that literally pulled people out of their seats.

King Nun
The band, King Nun, (starting left to right) has musicians James, Caius, Theo, and Nathan opening up for Black Flag. Photo credit: Melissa Herrera

After the opening set, the crowd waited in anticipation for the punk legends. Opening with “Depression” off of their 1981 album Damaged had fans immediately reacting with all kinds of wonderful chaos. This included a mosh pit and the occasional audience member trying to jump on stage before being swiftly escorted out.

Throughout the night, there was some tension between some of the older, hardcore fans. Most of it was directed at the band’s newest lead singer, Mike Vallely. Nevertheless, it was still incredible to see the band play some of their classics, like “TV Party” and “Nervous Breakdown.”

Lead Vocals
Theo, the lead vocalist, wowed the audience with his singing capabilities. Photo credit: Melissa Herrera

The audience also seemed to be impressed by the original guitarist and songwriter of Black Flag, Greg Ginn, playing his own songs; some of which he wrote more than 40 years ago. Ginn is the last original member of the band, and the member with the most influence. It was pretty inspiring to see such a figurehead of the punk industry playing in Chico.

As far as the DIY punk music scene goes, Black Flag is pretty much an essential band that represents a true, do-it-yourself philosophy.

Audience member Muddy Alpers agreed with the supreme influence the band has had.

“Everything people make now is inspired by black flag,” Alpers said. He also added that the band, founded in 1976, is among the ranks of other punk staples like the Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys and Circle Jerks.

Representing an authentic, anti-authoritarian era of music, Black flag has been an example of how music can be a tool for dealing with feelings of isolation and anger towards society. From 1976 until the present, the band has continued to show fans from all generations that punk music is much more than just noise.

Danielle Kessler can be reached at [email protected] or @reserv0irpups on Twitter.