The Grand Victory?! Brooklyn?! Tonight?!! I am so fucking there!!!
Saturday, March 23rd was supposed to be just another easy Saturday. I never expected to go to another show after attending one the night before. That’s not how things panned out thanks to Twitter and my unwavering need to rock the fuck out. There I am. I just lit my first cigarette of the morning and like I do while smoking, I check all my social media stuff. Facebook. Nothing of import. Myspace. What’s the point anymore? Twitter. Nothi— Wait a tick. Rough Francis is playing the Grand Victory in Brooklyn tonight! The Grand Victory?! Brooklyn?! Tonight?!! I am so fucking there!!! I promptly set about leaving a tweet on Rough Francis’ Twitter page, but I’m getting way ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning…
Who is Rough Francis, right? A few weeks ago, kilScene wrote a piece about the fantabulous documentary, A Band Called Death. If you have yet to see it for yourselves, a super quick recap:
Death is a band that was founded in the early 1970’s, but they’re not just any band, they are the true founders of Punk rock. Thanks to their unfortunate name, Death’s album, For All The World To See (recorded in 1973), doesn’t go anywhere because the band name was like kryptonite, and no one wanted to know. Fast forward 28 years later, a single of Death’s recorded back in the day is found by a Detroit deejay, he starts playing it on his show. The single, thanks to social media and illegal downloading, makes the rounds. Death gains ground. Record company is interested for more, Death’s unreleased album finally gets released. Death’s bassist/lead singer, Bobby Hackney’s offspring: Bobby Jr., Julian, and Urian, along with Paul Comegno, and Steve Williams form Rough Francis. They start out playing Death’s material before branching out to produce their own crunchy punk rock tunes. There. Now you’re caught up (check out A Band Called Death on Netflix.) Now where was I? …
After squaring things away with the cute Irish barista, we’re all set up for tonight’s show.
I didn’t think I was going to get a response from Rough Francis and I had almost given up all hope of trying to see if I could get a camera into the place so I could at least write a review for the show. The show was still many hours away, but I had already resigned myself to defeat. That is until I mention to my girlfriend’s father that Rough Francis was playing in Brooklyn that night. You see, I had just introduced him to the documentary (and to Punk, in general) just a few days before. He suggested we go down to the venue at that moment to see what we can work out. The Grand Victory was a mere five minutes of driving, so we head on over there. After squaring things away with the cute Irish barista (Cute Irish Barista, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry if I’ve forgotten your name, but thanks for the shot!) we’re all set up for tonight’s show. The cute Irish barista informs me that Rough Francis would be showing up in a few minutes and I ask if it’s cool if I wait around. She’s cool with it, so I’m cool with it. My girl’s dad leaves me at The Grand Victory so he could run back to the house to grab his camera just in case Rough Francis agrees to an interview. I was very unprepared for this. I just wanted to review the show, but everything had been playing in my favor at that point, I figured why the fuck not? What’s the worse they could say? No? So off he goes.
… who do I see walking towards me like the Reservoir Dogs in street clothes but Rough Francis!
While I’m out there having my third consecutive cigarette waiting for his return, who do I see walking towards me like the Reservoir Dogs in street clothes but Rough Francis! I go down the line and let them know who I am. I ask them for an interview and they agree. Instead of writing about the interview experience, you can just hear it for yourselves as we posted the audio link for you to check out at the end of this piece. On with the show!
D’nt left it all out on the stage. Was it rockabilly punk? Was it alternative? How could one classify D’nt? I d’nt fucking know…
First up to perform that night was a local band called D’nt. Let me say it right here and now, D’nt was a revelation. I didn’t know quite what to expect when drummer, Mitchell King and guitarist/vocalist, Aaron Lazar hit the stage, but WOW. They played but a few songs and then they were gone,but goddamn! D’nt left it all out on the stage. Was it rockabilly punk? Was it alternative? How could one classify D’nt? I d’nt fucking know, but let me tell you, they had my girlfriend and I hooked from the first song. We were theirs from that point on, they just didn’t know it (they eventually did. I made sure to hound Mitchell for the band’s info as they were breaking down their equipment. Interview with D’nt soon to come with a review of their April 24th show at Shea Stadium in Brooklyn as a follow up to their live greatness, so look for that.)
… Rough Francis tore it the fuck down that night
Up next, the headliners. The reason why we were there to begin with: Rough Francis. The band came on the stage like old pros. The band’s frontman and leader, Bobby, had full command of the stage. On this night, he was punk rock personified. The sound system was not kind to Bobby and he had to ask the sound guy to raise the volume on his mic a few times during the performance because he just couldn’t hear himself over all that punk rawk-ness that was happening on the stage. Urian, Rough Francis’ drummer was a fucking beast/animal/master behind the skins. Urian played with reckless abandon. He truly was a sight to behold. Julian and Paul were trading off punk riffs like it was nobody’s business and Steve played the role of unassuming bassist, but his role is not to be downplayed, because he was in the pocket with it all.
As a whole, Rough Francis tore it the fuck down that night as they ran through their extensive set list mixed with their originals and covers. Bobby was right in the face of his audience and he was just giving it everything he had that night. The two covers (of what I remember from that night) were on fucking point! The first cover they played was The Damned’s “New Rose”. I was close enough to the stage that I could clearly see the set list set down on the stage, by I couldn’t see everything that was written on it. I remember thinking to myself, “Damn! It’d be nice to hear some Death”, and during one of their song breaks, I yell out the title to the Death song called “Freakin’ Out” and guess what? They played it! It was awesome. Once they went into the song, the whole place erupted! I’m sure that more than just a few people had seen the documentary because we were all singing along with Bobby. The night had ended around midnight. My girlfriend, her parents, and myself went back stage at the end of the show to congratulate the guys on an awesome performance and we went home with a little less hearing ability than when we first arrived. It was worth it because thanks to D’nt and Rough Francis, Brooklyn was alive with the spirit of rock and for myself and everyone else there, it was great to be part of the happening. Now as promised, our rough and raw audio interview with Rough Francis, just click on the link below and get to know the boys from Rough Francis for yourselves.
Photos: LaVell Finerson