Flipper, Baby

Flipper flaps live, plus a skate-or-die benefit ollies into in town.

MVD Visual has been releasing an excellent slew of music DVDs lately, and the brand spanking new Flipper Live is a true bone(r) for any fan. The quartet’s logo had them forever pegged as a hardcore band, but Flipper was seriously not, at least within the West Coast definition. They loosely existed with the realms of new wave, noise, and punk, all rolled into a sloppy, hot mess. The sound of grunge to come. Plus, they had a sense of humor.

Bassist/vocalist Will Shatter died in 1987, and replacement bassist John Dougherty died in 1995. Singer Bruce Loose once said Flipper was like Spinal Tap, except the bassists kept dying. Krist Novoselic just joined the band, which reunited in '05, so maybe this one will stick and Flipper’s recent sporadic live shows will become less so.

Yes, but the DVD. A 1980 Berkeley concert reveals the early incarnation of Flipper; Bruce Loose still has acne on his face. “Low Rider” (gotta love that sax solo),“Love Canal,” and a drunken performance of “The Wheel,” notable if only to see the crowd, which is even drunker than the band, are all indelible marks of a band on to ... something.

The 1981 concert at Kezar Stadium in SF, where the group opened for Throbbing Gristle, is an even better representation of the group's oft-chaotic shows. Bassist Will Shatter takes over vocals on opener “Shine” and Loose sings with his hand in his pocket, all English-like, on the killer, booming “Nothing.” Guitarist Ted Falconi and drummer Steve DePace provide the rumble that runs throughout Flipper’s glorious scorch. Bonus footage of the band playing a marathon “Sex Bomb” on SF cable access in 1983 is a must. Flipper still rules, K?

This weekend the United States Art Authority, one of Austin's newest venues, hosts a skateboard art show and benefit for the Austin EcoSchool. In addition to several decks on display from local private collector Warren McKinney, there will be two days of accompanying music in the spirit of Flipper. Friday, them rowdy-ass Golden Boys headline, along with Opposite Day, Split Hoof, Blackholicus, and more. Saturday, the Flood, Deathhell Battletank, the Dickins, and Sober Daze bring the noize.

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Flipper, United States Art Authority, Austin EcoSchool

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