The 40 greatest concerts in Boston history: 27

Black Flag + Meat Puppets | the Channel | April 15, 1984
By PHOENIX STAFF  |  October 25, 2006

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Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets circa 1984
In the early ’80s Boston had a chip on its shoulder about West Coast punk and hardcore — a friendly feud typified by the local hardcore comp This Is Boston, Not LA. And Cali hardcore was personified by Black Flag, a band that had evolved from the simple loud, fast, snotty rules of early hardcore to a more complex fusion of hard crunch, speedy pace, shards of distortion, sarcasm, irony, anger, and the in-your-face attitude that’s still Henry Rollins’s trademark. The Channel was one of the few clubs in town you could count on for at least one good hardcore matinee a month. And in April of ’84, it was a shirtless Rollins, sweat-drenched, cutting a mad path from the stage to the men’s room to rinse down, then reversing direction and heading back on stage just as Greg Ginn was finishing one of his wrecked solos. And, yes, he received plenty of friendly backslaps along the way back to the stage. That Black Flag’s SST labelmates from Arizona, Meat Puppets, were on the bill was a tribute to just how diverse punk had become. They’d taken punk in a whole ’nother direction, with brothers Cris and Curt Kirkwood finding trippy bliss in whacked-out psychedelic country riffs. And they were right at home on the same stage as Black Flag.
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