The most embarrassed I ever felt at a live show was April 16, 1993, at the old Bomb Factory in Deep Ellum -- otherwise known as The Night Those Assholes Up Front Wouldn't Leave Fugazi The Fuck Alone. I just relived it again, courtesy the Fugazi Live Series slowly rolling out on the Dischord website. Paid all of five bucks (but of course) for that particular pleasure; commenter Chris Traylor sums up, "Ian jumped into the crowd and gave a douchebag his $5 back and led him to the exit b/c the guy threw a shoe at him."
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The ruckus started before the band had even played a single song: "Is this some bizarre ritual?" Ian MacKaye asked the rowdy schmucks up front who'd been warmed up by Wayward Girl (there's a flashback) and Bedhead. "Has it gotten to the point now where we don't even need music anymore for people to become beach balls? I think that leads us to one ... Wait, man. What have I done? I've done nothing yet. I'm an asshole? Do you want your money back? Get the fuck out of here. You don't come in here and call me an asshole." The crowd cheered -- loudest of all, probably, the dick in front, tickled at the attention he'd continue to receive, on and off, till MacKaye'd had enough.
I asked Bedhead's Bubba Kadane what he recalled of that night. Only that it was loud, as in: "Holy shit," he recalls. "We walked in during Fugazi's soundcheck, and it was loud, which was to be expected. But when we got on stage, I didn't expect it to be that loud on stage." Bubba says that was the biggest crowd Bedhead had played to up to that point -- a few thou, easy, all surging toward the stage as it got progressively ... louder.
Maybe you've heard: The Fugazi Live Series, each show available for as low as a buck, is a real labor of love -- two years and many thousands of dollars in the making as MacKaye and Joey Picuri, who recorded most of the shows during the band's storied career, sorted through the archives in order to make them available. As MacKaye told The New York Times a few days ago, "The idea of Dischord was to document something that already had energy. In the beginning we were interested in documenting the music offerings of our scene, and it just kept going."
At present the '93 show is the only Dallas gig available. Still to come are the Canton Street warehouse concert in '90 ("one of the coolest shows we've ever, ever played," MacKaye says, courtesy the fire marshal), the Deep Ellum Live stopover in '91 punctuated by horrific weather ("I think about 100 were killed"), the Bomb Factory do-over in '95 and the Galaxy Club concert in November '98; sadly, earlier shows from the late '80s weren't recorded. This one's a nice start to the collection. And I must admit: It's nice to hear MacKaye give the shout-out to "Kelly and Direct Hit, Dave and everybody at KNON, Wayward Girl, Bedhead." Just like being there, dickheads and all.