The Ramones have become trendy with the last few young generations of punk appreciators.
Call it hindsight on listeners’ parts or shrewd marketing on behalf of the estates of the founding band members – both points can be argued successfully, by the way – images, symbolism and, most importantly, the music of the East Coast punk pioneers has reached the masses in a greater way in the 15-plus years since the band called it a day than they did when they were active. Heck: two years ago, the band was a recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
If you want to spot a true punk aficionado whose fandom can’t be traced to marketing or posthumous mainstream acceptance, look for a shirt featuring four thick jagged bars, which is the logo synonymous with Cali punk architects Black Flag, whose late '70s/early and mid '80s catalog remains the stuff of legend nearly three decades after they called it a day.
Like their East Coast brethren, Black Flag dealt with issues such as alienation, boredom, and struggles with outside forces (the law, society, each other). Yet whereas the Ramones often sped through their songs, Black Flag – especially on later efforts, in darker sonic hues. After going through a pair of singers, the band struck gold with Washington D.C.-based front man Henry Rollins, who can be credited with the lyric sophistication that set them apart from many of their punk brethren.
In 1986, Black Flag called it a day, with Rollins becoming an alt-rock renaissance man with a myriad of novels, big and small screen endeavors, a still-evolving spoken word career as well as the occasional new music offering. Greg Ginn, the founder of the band, immersed himself in many punk/post-punk projects following the split, with Gone, Mojak and Confront James amongst the most notable in the last quarter-century plus.
Earlier this year, Ginn surprised punk fans of all ages when he announced Black Flag’s return to action. Fronted by Ron Rayes, whom Rollins replaced all those years ago, the band is scheduled to record and release new music as well as revive the brand at venues throughout the country in 2013.
Black Flag, 8 p.m. June 8, 6 p.m. June 9 (June 8 show 18 and over). Reggie’s Rock Club, 2105 S. State St., Chicago. $30 (june 8 show sold out). FYI: (312) 949-0120, REGGIESLIVE.COM.
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For more information, contact the venues or ticket sales agencies listed below. Unless otherwise indicated, all shows are all-ages.
Iron & Wine, Sept. 27, Chicago Theatre (THECHICAGOTHEATRE.COM)
"Big Star's Third," June 28, Vic Theatre (18 and older, JAMUSA.COM)
The Cult, Aug. 27, House of Blues (17 and older, HOB.COM)
Marianne Faithfull, Sept. 22-23, City Winery (21 and older, CITYWINERY.COM)
Backstreet Boys, Aug. 2, Charter One Pavilion (JAMUSA.COM)
Rascal Flatts, Aug. 17, First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre (LIVENATION.COM)
Gladys Knight and the Pips, Aug. 16, The Venue at Horseshoe Casino (HORSESHOEHAMMOND.COM)
Michael Buble, Sept. 7, United Center (UNITEDCENTER.COM)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, June 29, First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre (LIVENATION.COM)
John Butler Trio, July 18, Vic Theatre (18 and older, JAMUSA.COM)