Keith Morris is legendary; Black Flag and Circle Jerks transformed the face and ethos of youth culture – forever. It’s been nearly two decades since Oddities, Abnormalities and Curiosities capped the output of the latter, burning out in the throes of nineties grunge takeover while Black Flag had long ago died in the hellfire of the eighties.
It’s been a lull, for Morris – guest appearances have been found on Trash Talk, Rollins Band, and My Chemical Romance records (yeah, I know), but 2010 brought the EPs of OFF!, with Morris screaming in drug-induced terror alongside Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides), Steve Shane McDonald (Redd Kross), and Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket From the Crypt).
And here’s the crux: it’s total throwback hardcore, as though Morris never left the scene with which he nearly died. The tracks from First Four EPs could easily be degraded 7 inches that had long been forgotten under a mattress in a warehouse, but they’re not – it’s 2011 and OFF! is as spastic, predictable, and genuine as anything that wills to be political and equally volatile in the mire of contemporary America should be.
The show at State Theatre wasn’t only a nostalgia trip for burn outs and aging derelicts longing for youth (though, certainly, it was this) – it was a reminder that hardcore and the barbed message it can bear remains ultra-relevant in a new age of old strife.