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While watching the “absolutely fabulous” Black Flag tribute band “Black Fag” at the Soda Bar, the major flaw with the current touring version of Black Flag finally dawned on me. There is no joy in Black Flag’s delivery.

Tesco Vee in full regalia

Black Fag is all about twisting even the most morbid of Flag songs (listen to their riotous take on “Depression”) into Gay party anthems. Hammering this point home, Black Fag has taken to performing a suite of songs from Flag’s testosterone-driven 1985 album Loose Nut with their trademark flair. Of course, Black Flag never had the luxury of scantily clad male backup dancers showering one another with a watering can to compliment their live versions.

In the world where comedy and punk rock commingle, Black Fag is a tough act to follow. But the Meatmen may be both the Beatles and the Stones of tasteless hardcore thrash with a chuckle.

Front Meatman Tesco Vee has made a career of mocking the seemingly un-mockable (the Pope, crippled children), and he never shies away from dropping a Danzig joke: “Any Dwarves fans here tonight? I’m talking about the band, not Glenn Danzig.”

The Meatmen even bring in props, most of which happen to be phalluses. So you get the sports-bottle schlong, the inflatable member attached to Tesco Vee’s waist, and the cutout guitar penis for Tesco to “play” during the big guitar solo. The cutout is rigged with a confetti gun that, in a perfect world, shoots confetti all over the audience at the climax of said solo. But, alas, the world is cruel, and on this night the climax of the solo was Tesco Vee ripping the confetti gun from the back of the cutout, in a valiant attempt to get the gun to shoot, which, after numerous tries, still didn't happen. Tesco Vee kept reminding the audience that he was 58 years old, but when even your prop can’t perform anymore…well, that reminder isn’t really necessary.

  • Concert: Black Fag and Meatmen
  • Date: May 29
  • Venue: Soda Bar
  • Seats: Floor
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