No Flag over MacArthur Park

A few weeks ago, FYF announced that NoAge were set to perform a free show at MacArthur Park. I being a fan of the band for some years now, coupled with being attracted by the quite possible interplay of people that might have never been to the park and the regulars was enough to bring me in. The flyer (below) announces that there would be a “Special Guest.” It turned out to be a very very very special guest that performed last night…

We decided to take the Gold Line to the Red Line to get there because we are so eco-friendly and luv the Earth. When we got there there was a soccer match going on and the park was packed by locals and vendors of raspados, duros, and other obligatory L.A. park fare. At the Levitt Pavilion there was already a sizeable crowd.

As evidenced by the photo the crowd was very diverse. I would say there were a couple of classes of people (defined by my self) : (a) people that heard there was going to be a free concert and showed up with their blankets to sit on the ground, (b)the “hip” folks that probably never have been to MacArthur, (c) punks that show up to anything free, (d) and even a fair amount of regular park go-ers.

This young lady was willing to come to the show, by train, on crunches just to watch:

And another shot of the crowd:

The announcer came out some time after 7PM and talked about how this was a part of a concert series, blah-blah-blah, and that Ceremony was to play: a hardcore band from up north. We decided to check out the Food Not Bombs spot that was set up, at the NorthWestern part of the park. They had vegan tacos!

The food was probably the best I’ve had in a while from Food Not Bombs. Buen trabajo! They even had little pamphlets letting you know who they are and whatnot, in case you did not know.

And while enjoying our tacos we spotted this older lady sporting a NoAge shirt!

After Ceremony’s set was up, we walked on down back to the stage and I spotted this guy with this awesome shirt:

I talked to him and his friends for a bit. Turn out this drawing was done by someone’s mom and that she is called “Sepulveda Vaquera” (Man, I couldn’t make this up); and further she is the mascot for their crew/collective/group that puts on basement shows in Whittier (??!?). I was intrigued. I am always down with kids putting on their own shows for themselves, and their friends. Reminds me of myself from years before when I used to work in a shady collective back in the late 90s, early 2000s. They even have a very good looking website at which sports even more fantastic artwork. I think I am going to have to get one of these shirts, for real eh. Now this group of friends told me that they think that the special guest would be in fact BLACK FLAG. Now this sounded like a BIG FUCKING STRETCH. Seriously folks. I have been wanting to see Black Flag since I was 14 (which means for 15yrs) .

\”Nervous Breakdown\” by Black Flag

They said they saw the original bassist Dukowski, and original singer Keith Morris hanging ’round but still I was skeptical. Next came on NoAge and the kids were dancing in full effect as they played a set that picked songs from pretty much all their records. The energy was fantastic on this summer night.

And out of nowhere Keith and Chuck came out to join NoAge to form “No Flag.” They played a 10 minute set of songs from the first two Black Flag EPs, Nervous Breakdown and Jealous Again. This was quite seriously one of my most favorite shows I have ever been to. It was free, it was in L.A., it was at MacArthur Park, and one of the bands that I thought would never see played. It is  kind of hard to explain how moving a performance like this was unless you have a deep connection with punk music (specifically L.A. punk music).

I did not take any photos because I was busy screaming along to every song and did not care about posterity but being lost in that cathartic moment known as the NOW. You can probably find videos & pictures somewhere…but punk music is something that is felt and not just seen. Yes, it is a spectacle. There were stagedivers, and dancing, and even a guy in a wheelchair crowdsurfing…but the moment cannot be replicated and exists there only for that moment.

Thank you FYF, NoAge, Chuck Dukowski, and Keith Morris for such an amazing night. It was unforgettable.

Oh, and I did get an awesome poster. Here it is:

UPDATE — 11:15AM

I found this photo uploaded by FYF, by Lance Bangs. It pretty sums up the show nicely. Wheelchair surfing.


4 thoughts on “No Flag over MacArthur Park

  1. reads like a lot of fun, as punk rock can be. black flag in macarthur park! in 2011! could you ask for more? of course we could, but appreciate what’s there. too bad i was not around to check this out, but great that many were. why not let the old school share the wealth? maybe it is a harbinger of things to come. millions of dead cops at city terrace park? the band, of course.

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