HR of the Bad Brains to Play Churchill's August 30

Categories: Concert Preview

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I got a random email last week stating that H.R. of the Bad Brains is going to be in Miami this Saturday at Churchill's. I haven't heard dick for promotion on this and Churchill's doesn't even have the show listed on their website. But random emails and word on the street is that H.R. will be in town.

If you're not familiar with H.R., dude is one of the most enigmatic hardcore punk rockers of all time. His pioneering all black punk group, the Bad Brains, were total music rebels--they broke all of the rules and in the process, became one of the most revered groups in the history of punk. And the fact that they were a bunch of dreadlock Rastas gave them even more of an edge.

When the Bad Brains first came out in '77, the group shook up the status quo within punk. Things weren't always easy for them, racially and socially, but eventually they found a niche (after being banned in D.C. and moving to New York) within that city's punk scene and eventually became underground legends. Combining reggae, ska, dub, and hardcore punk, they were unlike any other group to this day and H.R.'s antics on stage made him look like James Brown gone berserk.

A big reason that H.R. is in town this weekend is because he's about to release a new solo album, Hey Wella, due out next month. Like much of H.R.'s solo material, it's more mellow and centered around roots-reggae instead of punk. But when you delve into what reggae really is historically, there's so many similarities between the rebelliousness of punk and reggae that a bridge between the two makes sense.

I'm sure he's going to be focusing on new material when he gets to town but I can't help but post this insane video from an old Bad Brains show at CBGBs circa 1982. They're in the middle of playing their classic tune, "Banned in DC," and H.R. is screaming like a madman possessed.

This show looks like complete pandemonium (definitely worth watching) and makes me sad I never got to see CBGBs in its hey day.

--Jonathan Cunningham

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