My parents had this customized 1976
|Me & The Van in 1977|
Memories from the kids in The Van:
Jim: We had a pre-show Polaroid that I lost track of around 10 years ago.
Tom: Ahgh, there was a photo - you're killin me!
|Ticket photo: Eric Cleland|
I remember everyone at the show being GIANT. And the mix of mohawks to bikers seemed like 3:2. ZZ Top's "Cheap Sunglasses" played before one of the band's sets and this huge bearded biker played the smallest air guitar I had ever seen. His face squinted into classic rock ecstasy. Nig Heist was nude except for the singer's studded leather
Tom: I think the jock only lasted half a song at that. The bass player was still wearing his socks.
Andy: I can't remember if they played it at this show, but Nig Heist actually had a really great cover of a Velvet Underground song If She Ever Comes that I heard on Uncle Steven's Garage. To this day, this is one of those "songs that gets stuck in your head" for me.
Tom: This lends a whole new meaning to this song. I didn't recall them playing anything except for awful sludgy metally stuff and provoking the audience with sexual slurs. The audience was either laughing or angry. It wasn't meant to sound good, but tt was a pretty funny act at the time for me as a 15 year old boy. I was shocked and excited to see them go way over the line, and amazing to look back on that and see a group of wig-wearing adults putting on a totally irresponsible show in front of a bunch of teenagers.
Andy: I think the point of Nig Heist was to be over-the-top offensive and vulgar in an almost Andy Kaufman way where half the audience thought they were being serious. About the only thing memorable about their set was them coming onstage naked.
Megan: Perhaps Kaufmanesque but it felt like it was trying too hard. They never really did it for me.
Tom: After the Metron management shut down the lights and sound on them, they put some clothes back on. The bass player had on tightie whities for the rest of the set.
Jim: I remember thinking Meat Puppets sounded like CCR.
Tom: Surprisingly, I don't remember the Meat Puppets musically, except they were so piercingly loud it was physically painful. Now I love their deceptively incompetent-sounding early music.
Magic Toy Missing
Tom: This was my first punk or hardcore show and I remember eagerly jumping into the slam pit and having someone land squarely on top of my head within seconds. I saw stars for about ten minutes. Learned to keep my head down and be ready for incoming.
Megan: I remember you being fearless at that show, and not in a good way. I was certain you were going down early.
Tom: This and football were one of the few places you could go crashing into other people and have it
Andy: I remember Henry Rollins ending the encore by saying something like, "You guys were great, thanks a lot" and then the sound man looped "thanks a lot, thanks a lot" over and over. Then Henry shouted, "that's Mugger mind control!" Mugger was their sound man on that tour and also the lead guy behind Nig Heist.
Tom: When my folks picked us up after the show we were all excitedly talking (probably shouting because we couldn't hear) about everything we saw. It must have seemed like total debauchery to them. Nudity, stage diving, ringing ears; I'm sure they questioned the wisdom of their decision to allow us to go. I don't think Jim was allowed to go to any shows after that. It was a pretty radical event in my 15 year old life.
Jim: Woke up at your house, Tom, my ears ringing 'til lunchtime. That was pretty traumatizing. Definitely my most memorable trip to Harrisburg.
Black Flag - LIVE '84 on SST Records
Essential reading: Rock Town Hall's treatise on wearing shorts on stage - Rock's Unfulfilled Fashion Ideas: Shorts