Black Flag Reunion at Grand Central Miami: Even More Disappointing Than Expected

Photo by Scott Ouellette

Black Flag
With Good for You
Grand Central, Miami
Saturday, September 7, 2013

Better Than: Seeing Keith Morris sing Rollins-era Black Flag songs.

To expect a performance by the 2013 incarnation of Black Flag to provide the same animalistic, confrontational assault of yore would be to live in a state of blissful ignorance.

Allow us to put a few things on the table: Greg Ginn is going to be 60 years old next year, Ron Reyes is believed to be a born again Christian and is no longer literally living in a glorified closet, and the band's rhythm section first earned their bars only this year.

So while Black Flag's had damn near 20 people involved since the Panic days of Hermosa Beach, to call this a reunion is ridiculous. Also, for those of you just tuning in: Greg Ginn is currently suing his former bandmates for having their own "reunion" tour under the name Flag, and decided to include Henry Rollins in the filing seemingly just for fun. Most punk rock, no?

See also: Black Flag: Why Greg Ginn and His Reunited Hardcore Crew Is Still Worth Seeing

Photo by Scott Ouellette

Despite the aforementioned, the union of Reyes and Ginn yielded 1980's Jealous Again EP, an undeniably important part of the Black Flag canon, and the opportunity to see Greg Ginn -- the undisputed driving creative force behind everything Black Flag has ever done -- perform the band's songs is a rare one that will most likely not present itself again.

As such, a crowd of optimistic fans showed up to Miami's Grand Central on Saturday night to bask in the inimitable feedback of Ginn's guitar and scream along to the songs that, for many, shifted the very concept of what punk rock could be.

Photo by Scott Ouellette

The opening set of the evening was provided by Good For You -- also known as Black Flag with Mike Vallely singing. Things kicked off with Ginn slicing through the pre-show soundtrack of Frank Sinatra standards (seriously) with a blast of space fuzz, courtesy of a theremin stationed stage left.

Mike V appeared on stage sporting a mop of blonde hair and a lengthy beard, looking not unlike an extra from Sons of Anarchy -- fitting considering his performance was a pretty direct homage to SOA-featured actor and everyone's favorite former Black Flag frontman, Henry Rollins.

Photo by Scott Ouellette

Vallely pointed an accusing finger toward the sky, stared blankly into the bright lights above the stage, and hung about his microphone stand while shouting and talk-singing over a set of songs that sounded like an infinite loop of the middle section of "The Process of Weeding Out." The tracks plodded along at a mid-tempo, lasted for way too long, and were punctuated by Ginn's longwinded guitar and theremin explorations.

Photo by Scott Ouellette

Though Mike V -- former bane of security guards everywhere -- may be a formidable force on a skateboard and in a street fight, he left much to be desired as the frontman of a hardcore band. I suppose having Black Flag with a different singer is a really good way around paying for an opening act to come on the tour, though. Good for you indeed, Mr. Ginn.

Location Info


Grand Central

697 N. Miami Ave., Miami, FL

Category: Music

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Tony Kapel
Tony Kapel

cant wait to see what everyone says about the Breeders


Here is what I have to say.

Who in the hell is David Von Bader?

His best criticism was that Reyes was too old to be Punk Rock!!!

He didn't have enough energy like he did in 1980?

Let's see Von Beder get up a work a crowd like Reyes did, when Bader gets that old.

Everybody had a good time. There was a lot energy in that club and it was a good size crowd, at least 600 people. It's been over 30 years since Black Flag erupted into the scene. Who is somebody like Bader gonna judge a format of music that has standards that change from one performance to another and from one band to another.

I think that the only thing that Bader is reflecting on is Ginn's lawsuits, and that has affected how he viewed the show.

Dan Marino
Dan Marino

It's Black Flag. They are supposed to be bad. It's in their contract ryder.

Matthew McClure
Matthew McClure

Whoa, Jack Black is fronting BF?! How did I miss this?!

Orlando Rodriguez
Orlando Rodriguez

Obviously, you cant go in expecting the same energy that they use to have. I still had a blast though


I find it funny that you wrote a "Black Flag: Why Greg Ginn and His Reunited Hardcore Crew Is Still Worth Seeing" article earlier this year. Everyone told you it was going to suck, then you go to the show, and of course it sucks.

Are you an intern or something? Do they give you free tix so you can spew some crap onto a Word document and call it journalism? 

Roger Speedfreek Forbes
Roger Speedfreek Forbes

"Overheard: "It should say Black Flag with quotes and an asterisk on the screen." - That was me :)

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