Bad Brains-Slim's
by Dave Negative



Black PresidentBLACK PRESIDENT, a fledgling group of SoCal scene vets, were obviously picked to be the supporting act for this event on the merits of their previous endeavors: Guttermouth, Goldfinger, Unwritten Law, the Dee Dee Ramone Band and Bad Religion. I admit my disdain for the first three aforementioned bands, so to my surprise they were much better than I expected - albeit in a way likely destined for the Warped Tour. Pompadoured "human air-raid siren" Christian Martucci's heated anti-establishment screeds (Black Prez's name is a metaphor for "[nothing more indicative of] change in this racist, soulless system") befitted the guitar-driven oldschool-punk R.O.C.K. of dual axe-slingers Greg Hetson and Charlie Paulson. Greg's razor-wire licks tossed out between his gravity-and age-defying leaps as Charlie wrenched "Fast" Eddie Clarke-inspired chords from a white Schecter Ultra defaced with the slang term "dilligaf".


Bad BrainsApparently unwilling to sing in his signature multi-octave wail, H.R., BAD BRAINS' original frontman, recited, "All thanks and praises to Jah Rastafari, Haile Selassie" before placidly reinterpreting selections from Rock for Light, I Against I and Quickness in the same pseudo-toasting scat-croon as newer Build a Nation material while standing virtually motionless behind the micstand. The man bore no resemblance to the backflipping James Brown-meets-Johnny Rotten dynamo he once was, not that it mattered to the sold-out crowd who seemed enthralled by his gracing a stage in any capacity judging from their overly enthusiastic response. Gary "Dr. Know" Miller, on the other hand, was awesome. True to a time-honored reputation of being one of punk's greatest guitarists, he masterfully executed faster-than-lightspeed solos amid a flurry of graying dreads. The only somewhat less-esteemed rhythm section, bassist Darryl Jenifer and drummer Earl Hudson, followed suit but distinguished themselves on the top-notch reggae that punctuated the band's hardcore-heavy set. Audience members not indisposed to "chant down Babylon" either waved arms or nodded heads in sync with the loping roots rock beats and tremorous rub-a-dubbed grooves of "I and I Survive", "Jah Love" and "Until Kingdom Comes".

All words ęDave Negative
Editing by Julie Cohen
Photo Credits: Black President,; Bad Brains, AJ Willhelm