Henry Rollins — on stage with no shirt or shoes, just tattoos and black shorts — performed with his new bandmates to a nearly sold-out crowd at the Trocadero Theatre last Friday evening.
Nearing 40 years old, Rollins is still one of the most intense performers in hard music today. Not interested in putting on a show for the crowd to see, all Rollins wants is the crowd to enjoy his music.
Most of the songs he played were from his new album Get Some, Go Again. When a fan from the floor asked him to play some old songs, Rollins answered simply, “It’s going to be exactly like it is every time I come by here, I’m going to do whatever the fuck I want to do.” The fan was disappointed, but he didn’t argue with the big man. Rollins looked like a hulking monster poised on top of the stage.
Through the entire show, Rollins was drenched in a mixture of his own sweat, spit and bottled water. A roadie was forced to change the microphone twice to keep him from getting electrocuted. Both times he was thoroughly pissed off about the delay.
He talked very little between songs and got straight to the point whenever he did talk. Apparently, he got out all his talking on the numerous spoken word tours he has been doing in the past couple years. He did take a minute or two to talk about living only for yourself. He also condemned the punk ideal of everyone being one large union, probably a reason that he will never get back with Black Flag. One fan actually requested a song from Black Flag and was laughed at for even thinking about it. Rollins replied, “Little man, you will never hear that song at a Rollins Band show!”
The Rollins Band sound has changed a great deal since their last album. The band is completely new except for Rollins himself. The new sound lends itself better to Rollins’ voice. Rather than just pure screaming, he actually sings. Finally, the world can see that he actually does have some talent behind the intense stare.
No matter what the music may sound like now, the crowd was basically there just to see Rollins perform. With the microphone wire wrapped around his hands like a chain, he looked like he was ready to fight at any moment. His fierce stare burned through the back of the Trocadero and into the street. There was a small, violent pit in the middle of the floor that required some people to be carried out, but for the most part everyone just wanted to watch Rollins. Some people tried to crowd surf, but they were threatened with removal from the premises if they continued to do so. The fans were not allowed to steal the show; it was all about Rollins and his music.
Even though the sound was different from what the crowd was used to, the crowd enjoyed the emotion of Rollins. It really didn’t matter how good the Rollins Band played, the important thing was that Henry Rollins showed up. That made the show a success before the band even started to play.