Government Issue, Flatfoot 56 | Double Door | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Government Issue, Flatfoot 56 Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Fri., Sept. 11, 10 p.m. 2015

There are few better lenses through which to view the trajectory of the influential 80s-era D.C. hardcore scene than the sprawling discography of Government Issue. The band formed in 1980 right as the city’s restless, teen-centric community emerged, and by the time they called it quits nine years later many of the bands had traded split-second assaults of thrash for melodic anthems. During the prosperous era in between, charismatic front man John Stabb kept Government Issue humming by enlisting a rotating cast of players that included some of the scene’s brightest: guitarist Brian Baker (while Minor Threat was on a break), bassist Mike Fellows (prior to his cofounding emo originators Rites of Spring), and bassist J. Robbins (prior to his launch of posthardcore heavy hitters Jawbox). Under Stabb’s care Government Issue exemplified the forward-thinking punk musicality of its environment while transcending the sometimes muscle-head mentality of hardcore. The front man’s flamboyant performances echoed the band’s cheeky lyricism during their hard-line hardcore beginnings, but his on-the-line energy came out just as well in the group’s introverted later material. Dr. Strange Records put together a couple compilations of Government Issue recordings in the early aughts, and if those mammoth Complete History CD sets aren’t enough, Stabb’s recently been uploading “bootleg” live recordings to Bandcamp. Still, Government Issue haven’t played many reunion shows since a one-off in 2007, meant to help Stabb cover some staggering surgery bills for facial reconstruction after he was the victim of an assault. Part of the ticket sales from that year’s Riot Fest actually went to Stabb, so seeing Government Issue play a Riot Fest aftershow this year feels quite natural.

Leor Galil

Price: $25, $20 in advance

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