Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Goodbye Robert Hunter

It stands to reason that had Disaster Amnesiac been blogging back in 1995, there would have been a "Goodbye Jerry Garcia" post from me. Seeing as that Robert Hunter was in many ways Jerry's creative twin brother, it seems fitting to give him a quick goodbye post.
Robert Hunter's words very much defined the lives, times, and world views of millions of people. One would be hard pressed to find a poet whose writing reached and effected as many people. Walt Whitman? Jack Kerouac? Disaster Amnesiac can't think of too many more. If you can, please do comment. Sometimes these words strike me as deeply sublime, at others times some of them seem kind of dopey. They always do leave an impression, though.
Robert Hunter strove for, and really did achieve, a uniquely American literary vision, one that reflected the striving, heartbreak, and foibles of the people that have walked the North American gauntlet. The Grateful Dead's lyrics, courtesy of Hunter, for better or worse broke down the somewhat naive visions of the scene from which they achieved notoriety and gave a much more honest view the human condition, particularly in regards to humans in the U.S.A.
Disaster Amnesiac always appreciated this, along with Hunter's non-blinders wearing views towards his brother Jerry, especially in the wake of his final demise. Robert Hunter kept it real, always.
Goodbye, Robert Hunter. Surely there are a lot of people that are grateful for your taking up Jerry Garcia on his proposition to help out his band with lyrics so many years ago. You truly helped more than you hurt. 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Black Flag-Ace of Spades, Sacramento CA; 9/6/19

Honestly the last thing on Disaster Amnesiac's mind while at Black Flag's performance at Ace of Spades in Sacramento was doing a blog post about it. I was just there to enjoy the feeling of being in the same room with Greg Ginn's guitar tones. That being said, on the 60-something mile drive home, it became increasingly clear that it just HAD to be done.
Why, you ask? To put in bluntly, Black Flag DESTROYED! The band were whip smart and tight as a drum; clearly, all of their recent touring has got them seriously gelled.
The new rhythm section were heavy when they needed to be, propulsive when the tunes required that. Disaster Amnesiac did not catch the bass player's name, but I feel strongly that he's Black Flag's secret weapon. How he anchored everything! Just great.
Mike Vallely does an awesome job of singing songs from all eras (save the 2012-13 version, for obvious reasons). I felt as though his understated presence during Ginn's solos was in really good taste, too. Mike delivers the lyrics and gets out of the way for his man Greg.
Speaking of Ginn: he was ON FIRE at Ace of Spades. Holy crap it was great to hear him take those mind bending solos. Disaster Amnesiac still remembers first hearing his guitar sounds, and how they changed how I heard music, permanently. It was THAT Ginn that was on display in Sacramento, with all of the wild, expressive bordering on chaos control that so endears his music to me.
Especially cool was the extended version of Slip It In, where I swear he threw in some Taylor Texas Corrugators licks, the delightful treat of I Can See You (had the 1980's Black Flag ever played that one live?), a nice, choppy version of Bastard In Love, and a throttling, emotional Rise Above. Hell, there was not one dud in the set. The early stuff was driving, the later stuff was oozing.
Black Flag's current iteration remains a divisive topic among a certain set of music fans. I for one find it to be an incredibly ass kicking band.
Greg and Mike, can you please cook up some new songs with your new bass and drums pals? Lord knows y'all have got plenty of talent to do so.

Below: Black Flag laying waste to Ace of Spades