Steve Ignorant Presents Crass
Fox Theater Pomona
April 29, 2011
Last Friday night, hundreds of multi-generational fans from all sects of punk-rock came out to pay their final crusty homage to CRASS. Oh yes, the vigor expressed at these nostalgic shows can be quite the modern theatrical masterpiece, the weathered singer as he hawks out the tired songs one last time, the perfect singing along of every single lyric by the entire crowd. And the Pomona supplement to their "Last Supper Tour" was no exception.
The band might not have had any of the original members but then again, the show was called Steve Ignorant presents Crass Songs, not just Crass". But the the lineup chosen for this tour was definitely nothing to take less seriously though, including guitarist Gizz Butt formerly of The English Dogs and even drummer Spike T. Smith, previously of Morrissey and the Damned.
A band's farewell tour can be quite touching sometimes, especially if that band is the founding father of the whole Anarcho tentacle of punk-rock, a scene that has been subtly kept alive over the years in both the U.S. and U.K. through barely legible band signage, patchouli and wino slip-on shoes.
It was a full-ass house at The Fox Theater, at least seven times as packed as it was when The Adicts played there last year. The balcony was just as bad as the pit. And no, it actually did not reek of that infamous crusty-punk B.O.
After much suspense, Ignorant thundered into his set with the conscious punk anthem, "Punk is Dead." And there it was, the simple albeit legendary signature 1-2-3-4 snare centered drumbeat. He wasted no time whatsoever in pleasing his loyal fans, immediately following it up with "Do They Owe Us A Living?", again that glorious drumbeat!
While they played their songs, a slide-show was projected in the background that was different for every other song. Mostly of their past album covers like the plain "Be warned, the nature of your oppression is the aesthetic of our anger." along with occasional snapshots of the long lineage of old Crass members.
As the the eerie samples came on for "Poison in a Pretty Pill", I was curious to see how Beki Straughan--the hired female singer taking the place of Eve Libertine-would do. For the first half of the set, she just quietly stood in the back, lightly dancing through out the songs. But as Ignorant stepped off the mic and she walked up, it was apparent why she was chosen. Her high-pitch controlled squeals were admirable and her affection for the songs as she danced-in-place through them even more so.
They played non-stop for an hour and a half, Beki and ignorant taking turns at the mic. They said they were going to be performing Crass songs from 1977-1984 and they did. The pit was good too, almost as big as a pit as Ozzfest or something. And now, I will be able to tell my grandsons. "Yup...I saw Crass play once, well, I saw a band play Crass songs but it was just as good!"
Critics Bias: It was hard for me to get in, and when I did finally get in, I couldn't take my pen in! So I had to "keister" it, thus, ruined the whole show for me...psych! Haha. But no, actually had to take my usual notes on the blackberry instead.
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The Crowd: Hippies with spikes, some tribal folk, but mostly post-punks who just grew up into probably their identical versions of themselves 20 years ago.
Random Notebook Dump: Heckling a sound guy is not fun, also, some pretty cool fight erupted afterwards right in front of the entrance.
Set List: (only part of it, in no particular order, had to write it down myself manually)
Punk Is Dead
Do They Owe Us a Living?
I Ain't Thick, its Just a Trick
Poison in a Pretty Pill
Reject of Society
You've Got Big Hands
Rival Tribal Revel Rebel
Heard too Much
The Gas Man Cometh
Chairman of The Bored
Big A, Little A
Banned From The Roxy
The Truth of Revolution