Awhile back Frank from Windy City Rock asked me what bands I would like to go back and experience live if I had the chance. And one of those bands I’d like to add to the list is the mighty Fugazi.
That said, I was excited to hear the news earlier this week that the band unveiled their new live archives series. Here’s what the band posted on their website introducing and explaining the gradual release of the archived shows:
Between 1987 and 2003, Fugazi played over 1000 concerts in all 50 states and all over the world. Over 800 of these shows were recorded by the band’s sound engineers. The goal of this project is to make each of these recordings available to download for a small fee. We will start with 130 shows and release more monthly until we’re done.
No Chicago Shows (yet)
As you can see by the screen shot above, there aren’t any Chicago shows available in the archives yet. But I hope they are released soon because I’d love to continue our exploration of Chicago punk rock experiences.
And those shows are the ones that I’ve heard many stories about from my close friends as they tell me how their lives were forever changed during shows at those Chicago venues over the years.
Now, we’d like to share a snippet from a Pitchfork interview with front man Ian MacKaye about the release and a concert memory, and then a classic 45 minute stage banter mp3 that a fan made and released back in 2009.
Pitchfork: This is an archive and a history of Fugazi, obviously, but on a larger scale, you’re getting the sounds of these different venues and different qualities of recording over the years, too.
IM: Yeah, you can hear a real shift. You listen to the late 80s recordings, you’ll hear us engaging with the audience, dealing with the issues surrounding punk shows at the time. Back then, people thought you had to be a skinhead and beat the crap out of everybody when you went to a punk show. Come the early 90s, when you had this so-called grunge stuff and when videos became so dominant, you had this totally huge shift in the culture of shows. There was a yahoo factor where everyone had to crowd surf at all times. There were shows we played where there were 50 people crowd surfing at one time! It was insane, and it had nothing to do with the music. It didn’t make a difference if the song was fast or loud or quiet or slow. It was behavior that was almost recreating things people saw in videos.
One of my friends was a stage hand at a Bob Dylan show in the mid-90s and I remember him telling me that somebody crowd surfed during the gig. And this friend of mine was an old punk rock guy– he was totally humiliated by it. But some of Bob’s people were there and they said, “Oh, Bob will be so excited! This is the kind of energy we want at his shows.” That’s where the old school was at.
The Essence of Fugazi Live
Wrapping up this post and continuing our exploration of concert fan chronicles, here’s a link to a legendary 45-minute stage banter mp3 via the Fugazi fans over at Chunklet that captures the essence of how Fugazi would use the in-between song chatter to drive the show, engage with their fans, or call out unruly fans when necessary.
What’s amazing about this recording montage is that pulls together several shows, so you get to hear how the band celebrates the close connection with their fans, which often manifested in them stopping the show to protect their fans who didn’t want to mosh and directly call out fans who opposed their decision to stop to make sure everyone was okay and not getting hurt.
And because of that intimate dynamic, the fact that they never charged above single-digits for concert tickets, and their consistently high-energy and inspiring live show, Fugazi ranks as one of the best bands to see live (ever).
What’s in Your Waiting Room?
Have you seen Fugazi live? Are you excited to dive into their live archive to re-experience or discover a new live moment?
What shows are you looking forward to downloading? Let us know what you think in the comments below and we’ll share your story during a future episode of Live Fix Radio.