Following the Black Friday Murder show at P.A.N. I tweeted that the Flaks are a great band, and that they're dirty little bastards because of it. I stand by these statements, because in exactly two shows, these guys have tapped deeper into my fandom by the age of 18 (at their peak, if I'm not mistaken...I think they trend down from there) than I've been able to inspire in anyone at twice their age. This leaves me equally impressed and annoyed. So I say it again, keep up the good work, fuckers.
First let me say, I wasn't around for the first generation of punk, which I define as that sort of amalgamation of the post Stooges/MC5 thing that was taking place in spurts all over the place, but was most notably punctuated in the CBGB's to London experience that's most recognizably documented. I am, however, a huge fan of the history of this era, and for whatever reason, seeing these guys draws into my personal fantasy of what this time must have been like. Young, fast, earnest. Varying degrees of cockiness and studiousness. Art students and malcontents joining forces to scream resistance against the status quo. And a flood of mimics seizing the opportunity to draw from this inspiration so quickly that the real and the counterfeit were almost immediately indistinguishable.
So in not knowing them nearly well enough, I'll admit, I've conjured the Flaks into being something between what most people thought the Sex Pistols were, and what I always wish they had been. Thirty five years out, it's hard to say what's authentic anymore, but suffice to say I've found no evidence of some foreign Svengali leading the Flaks about by the nose, but their energy, passion, and bigness of personality is something I've rarely seen. Unadulterated but precise on stage already, I can only hope they're capable of continuing in the direction I see them moving in, and that the greatness I'm superimposing over them isn't just my own personal illusion.
At this early stage of critically analyzing shows (what fresh Hell have I landed myself in?) I'm finding that a problem I'm running into is one of expectation. If I know some of the bands playing, I'm keyed in for that sound. When the path diverges, it kind of blows my mind all crooked. This was my experience with Inflatable Best Friend, in from the West side of the state with a more dirgy noise approach that leans more to the post punk than I was ready to process. A brief visit from the local finest (which the P.A.N. gents must have handled masterfully, because the rest of us never saw as much as the light reflecting off of a badge in the distance), followed by an uncontrolled outburst from IBF's smoke machine rendered my focus and my camera all but useless. By the time I regrouped myself for their last few songs, I realized I had probably missed out on a pretty great set, existentially speaking. By all accounts, they were on their game, but I wasn't. I'd like another crack at seeing what they do. Although admittedly without the smoke.
And as I missed the first band Troksky (sorry guys, love the name for what it's worth), I had only Fires in Japan keep me going into the night. Not a bad consolation prize, as if you know me at all, I'm an unabashed honk for these guys. They got off a recent tour, which sounds like it was good more for the experience of what can go wrong than for what went right, but those experiences are incredibly useful. I have no doubt FIJ has what it takes to get to wherever they want to go, assuming Andrew is able to keep track of his capo. We're on to you dude.