I Won't Stick Any Of You Unless And Until I Can Stick All Of You
I Love You
Nothing Left Inside
Although Black Flag's classic period was between 1980 and 1982, with the punkier Jealous Again EP, the almost hardcore Damaged album, and the scattering of singles which surrounded them, the band's period of greatest influ... more »ence was as a roaring sludge-metal outfit--as featured here. Singer Henry Rollins hadn't yet begun to think of himself as a poet, which is good. Guitarist Greg Ginn however, while always tremendous with a three-second lead flourish, had started to get flatulent with the solos, so punk purists beware. But the Kira Roessler/Bill Stevenson rhythm section was at their most thundering, and the track selection here draws from a wide swath of the band's catalogue. For a great career-retrospective, try Wasted Again. --Gavin McNett« less
Although Black Flag's classic period was between 1980 and 1982, with the punkier Jealous Again EP, the almost hardcore Damaged album, and the scattering of singles which surrounded them, the band's period of greatest influence was as a roaring sludge-metal outfit--as featured here. Singer Henry Rollins hadn't yet begun to think of himself as a poet, which is good. Guitarist Greg Ginn however, while always tremendous with a three-second lead flourish, had started to get flatulent with the solos, so punk purists beware. But the Kira Roessler/Bill Stevenson rhythm section was at their most thundering, and the track selection here draws from a wide swath of the band's catalogue. For a great career-retrospective, try Wasted Again. --Gavin McNett
"This is, so far, the best readily available recording of Black Flag live. This needs to be said. If you liked their earlier, punkier stuff, there's enough on this to keep you more or less happy. If, however, you accept that Black Flag transcended hardcore to become simply one of the best rock bands ever, then this recording scores over their later live album "Who's got the 10 1/12?" on three counts: firstly, they just sound louder on this one; secondly, this has better material; and thirdly, this was one of the best Flag lineups ever. Henry Rollins hadn't yet given up singing the songs, as opposed to shouting them; Greg Ginn was discovering what a creative guitarist he could be; Kira Roessler still liked being in the band, and Bill Stevenson was the best drummer Flag ever had. The sound recording is a bit muddy and thick, but then so was the band, so it sounds great that way. Live '84 is a primary document of a fantastic band playing some of its best songs as hard and as fast as possible, and that was the point of Black Flag. Superb."
Inimitable Greg Ginn
Peter Henne | San Pedro, CA | 11/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love it! Nice to see some people here who think along the lines I do, bringing up for comparison "Ascension" from Coltrane's late period, and the guitarist Derek Bailey who collaborated with jazz avant-gardist Anthony Braxton. I was lucky enough to attend numerous Flag concerts, and '84 was the year they attained their technical, musical, and philosophical maturity. Sadly, it was the year the band peaked, as drivel like "Loose Nut" attests. But in their concerts and three 1984 releases, Black Flag forged a devastating meld of punk, metal, and free jazz, and articulated a rage against society, nature, consciousness, you name it. There is a paranoia in the closing three songs of "My War," for instance, that is not only interpersonal but metaphysical; if you don't believe me, listen to the words for yourself. Later I came to believe that what Werner Herzog undertook in his films, Black Flag tried to do in its music, to resist all the pressures and influences surrounding your life, to arrive at whatever genuine existence you have. Even if this project was flawed by circuitous reasoning from the start, there was a nobility in the effort.This live album has the most of Greg Ginn, a supreme guitarist who got buzzes and pierces from his instrument like no one else I've heard. It has enough of Henry Rollins without too much, thank goodness, and the rhythm section of Kira Roessler and Bill Stevenson was the tightest the band ever had and played off Ginn the best. The album has a raw feel, and the songs simply feel less scripted than on their studio versions. It may be an unlikely candidate, but "Live '84" is probably Black Flag's shining moment of darkness. Glad to see it's on CD; it was first released on cassette only, and I've been hanging onto my tape, trying to preserve it for all these years!"
I didn't like it then, but I LOVE it now!
Brian J. Demascio | Novato, CA, USA | 01/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When this stuff....My War, Slip It In, and Live '84....cam out, I was one of those "punk rockers" who thought that Black Flag (and hell, ANY band that really learned how to play) had "sold out". Greg Ginn is the type of musician that could not simply keep on playing minimalistic chords, over-and-over, like the classic Jealous Agaim e.p. He had chops, man, and when My War came out, I listened to the album (um, it was actually on vynil) and I thought side one was decent enough, what with all of the paranoid/insane screaming on the song "My War" and the emotional agony expressed on "Can't Decide"...but then it got real, real SLOW (and slow was a "sin" back in the early 80's M.D.C./Verbal Abuse speed/hardcore/punk time), and well, the songs were all over 1:25 minutes long. Man, this just sucked, or so I thought. So I grabbed ahold of my old Black Flag albums, along with D.R.I. (before they became a metal band), Wasted Youth, Verbal Abuse, M.D.C., Free Beer, etc.
But NOW I realize that the mid-80's era Black Flag was actually brilliant, and Live '84 showcases a band that was way ahead of it's time in a lot of ways. You have it all here; the punk rock of "Nervous Breakdown", the sexual twistedness of "Slip It In", the suffocating atmosphere of "Black Coffee"....man, this cd has it all.
The sound quality is good too.
If you want to experience a band that was highly misunderstood within the confines of the hardcore punk scene in the mid-80's, then by all means, buy this! This is a soundtrack to the emotional state of most of us at the time, and byt the way, for those of you who are young; it "rocks"
If this is punk, gimme gimme gimme more...
Brian J. Demascio | 05/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'll admit it, I'm a jazz fan, but I'm always up for hearing self-expression when done with thought, no matter the genre. I was told to check out this album, and I did, and I'm damn glad I did. I can't believe that there are people out there complaining about the songs being too long or tedious. My word, people who think a song should be nothing but an introduction, words and an ending should just go listen to Britney Spears. Because, let's face it, there's really no difference between Blink 182 and Britney in the long run. But this truly blew my mind, and I'm a better person for having heard this album. Jeez, if these songs are too long, I'd love to see your face after hearing Ascension by John Coltrane, which in its own way, is punk music too..."
A great live album.
Brian J. Demascio | 02/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most people really hate the so-called heavy metal period of Black Flag, but this record, along with "My War," "Familly Man," and "The Process of Weeding Out," is more notable for its jazz aspects than its metal parodies. When I interviewed Ginn in '95 he mentioned that the electric distorted guitar should be played more like a saxophone than an acoustic guitar. Like Sonny Sharrock, who began as a frustrated asthmatic sax player, Ginn's solos are atonal and innovative. Only those who confine themselves to conservative bike messenger punk could possibly hear this as a metal record."