All the Ramones are dead, Milo went to college and now has a doctorate in biology, and Black Flag has been through a musical chairs of lineup changes that it’s hard to remember who was or wasn’t an original member. Punk’s not dead, it’s just old as hell and sometimes the best way to experience it is through a night of tributes performed by local musicians who have been keeping its essence alive. Blasting through the discography of Descendents, Ramones and Black Flag to celebrate April Fools Day.
San Antonio has often been seen as a metal city, especially by outsiders. While the notion is not too far off base, it completely ignores the musical diversity that makes up this city. If Friday night at Hi-Tones was any indication, punk is just as relevant in the Alamo City as the double bass and sweeping guitar sounds of metal. It was the most crowded I’ve seen Hi-Tones in a while; I had to drive much farther up the street than usual just to find parking. I managed to get there just in time for the Descendents Tribute. The band sped through several tracks spanning mostly over the records pre-dating Everything Sucks. Keeping in the spirit of Descendents, they played quick and often cramming so many songs into the set. The crowd reciprocated the energy in what was a great way to start off the night.
A video posted by Creative Socialite (@creativesocialite) on Apr 2, 2016 at 1:25am PDT
The Ramones Tribute took over unleashing a fury of pogoing in the crowd. Starting off with “Blitzkrieg Bop” was a nice intro for the set as they took the liberty to play some of the less popular songs including DeeDee’s ode to turning tricks for drug money “53rd and 3rd.” This didn’t stop them from playing some other favorite including “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School,” “Beat on the Brat” and my all-time favorite “Sheena is a Punk Rocker.”
Ramones Tribute #loop A video posted by Creative Socialite (@creativesocialite) on Apr 2, 2016 at 1:29am PDT
The Black Flag Tribute closed out the night. While the punk equivalent to the wall of sound was there backed by two full Marshall stacks behind them, the performance was still pretty intricate. The old punks stayed up front and moshed around, while everybody else kinda just watched. I don’t know if maybe Black Flag is polarizing,1 but I’d be willing to bet that The Ramones and Descendents music is more universal and for lack of better word, fun. Nonetheless, the performance was solid.
A video posted by Creative Socialite (@creativesocialite) on Apr 2, 2016 at 1:32am PDT
It’s always cool to see local musicians pay tribute to musicians that have inspired them, even more so when you see bands that you grew up with interpreted by other people in your age group. So thank you Hi-Tones for putting on this show and thank you to the bands for resurrecting the spirit of these bands. Most importantly, thank you San Antonio for showing me we’re more than just a metal city.
1. I don’t know if there is any kind of divide between fans of Keith Morris’ Black Flag vs fans of Greg Ginn’s Black Flag, but if there is does that make Black Flag the Van Halen of punk rock. Are the reunited bands of “Black Flag” and “Flag” the equivalent of Van Halen and Van Hagar? For the sake of being able to explain it to my dad in terms he can understand, I sure hope so. ↩