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Friday, December 3, 2010

Crass, the Anarcho-Punk Fountainhead, Is Coming to S.F. in March -- Sort Of

Posted By on Fri, Dec 3, 2010 at 7:56 PM


Depending on your

perspective, legendary British collective Crass was either the truest band of

anarchists to ever strap on guitars -- loudly, proudly advocating radical ultra-left

politics through its atonal avant-punk music, Dadaist collage artwork, and edge-dwelling

DIY lifestyle -- or it was a snotty, pompous, and amateurish bunch of untalented

crypto-hippies who thought its shit didn't stink. One thing most people would

agree on, however, is that the chances of seeing Crass play live in the 21st

Century would be non-existent. The band started in 1978 and broke up in 1984 --

end of story, right? Er, maybe not. Read on.

click to enlarge crass_2.jpg

This week tickets

went on sale for a March 17, 2011, show at Slim's that's being billed as Crass.

In fact, it's technically a band called the Last Supper, which is led by Crass

frontman Steve Ignorant and exists solely to play Crass songs. Penny Rimbaud,

Eve Libertine, Phil Free, and other original clan members aren't part of the

proceedings. For the casual fan, that might be fine. After all, didn't John

Lydon just play in town a few months ago with a band called Public Image

Limited, despite having only Lydon and no other original PiL musicians? Nor is

this the first time Ignorant has taken the stage to play those old Crass

anthems: in 2007, he performed the band's entire 1978 debut album, The Feeding of the 5,000, over the

course of two nights. "Me and the

band are really looking forward to this," Ignorant blogged about the

forthcoming U.S.

tour on his website. "Being able to the play the Crass songs in places

where Crass was never able to go will be an honour, and a huge amount of fun as


Not everyone is so

enthusiastic about Crass v2.0, however. "I acknowledge and respect Steve's

right to do this," Penny Rimbaud was quoted as saying (in the UK Guardian) about Ignorant's Feeding of the

5,000 concerts in 2007. "But I do regard it as a betrayal of

the Crass ethos." A lot of spange-scraping gutterpunks won't be happy

about the Last Supper/Crass show's $21 ticket price, either. It's a far cry

from the days when Crass LPs came with stickers insisting you "Pay No More

Than" a ridiculously low amount of money compared to similar products on

the record store shelf.

Then again, Crass

was also one of the very first to declaim that "Punk Is Dead" -- it's

the title of Track 5 on The Feeding of

the 5,000, in which Ignorant sneers that "it's just another cheap

product for the consumer's head" -- so cynics can easily laugh that this

tour is simply one more vain attempt to revive that fetid old corpse. You'll have

your chance to make up your own mind when the Last Supper is served on

Thursday, March 17.


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John Graham


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