Thursday, Oct. 14
Raw Power is one of Italy's most influential and best-known punk bands. Its seminal album, Screams From the Gutter, is a classic slab of punk vinyl, and the band has been exploring its unique blend of punk rock/thrash metal crossover since 1981. Over the course of numerous American tours, the band has stopped regularly in Tucson, home of the punk record label Toxic Shock, which is responsible for releasing several of the group's records in America. And the band's appeal was apparent when it came through town.
Raw Power played to packed audiences in two venues over the course of a day. There was a late-night show at Vaudeville on Congress Street and an early-evening show at Skrappy's, where the band was supported by three up-and-coming hardcore bands from the area: General Warning, Negative Feedback and Truancy. All three opening bands induced a regular stream of circle pits on the floor of Skrappy's cavernous warehouse space with set lists that combined fast-paced skate rock peppered with covers of hardcore standards. Sharing equipment, each band burned through intense sets, keeping the energy high and the downtime to a minimum. For fans of fast-paced punk, there was little left for wanting by the time Raw Power took the stage.
Closing the show, the Italian punkers blasted through many of their classics with a dose of songs from their recent release, Resuscitate. Raw Power has existed with varying lineups from the beginning, to the end of, and beyond the punk revival that ushered in a plethora of reunion tours. It is clear that Raw Power has not taken a break, as kids that were not yet born when Screams From the Gutter was recorded spent the early evening pushing and shoving one another to the original sounds of the hardcore movement. The band ran through its blistering set as effortlessly as only a seasoned band could and ended with a cover of Black Flag's "White Minority" and the band's magnum opus, "State Oppression." Then it packed up for a short ride to the next show, presumably as efficiently as in the days before the Internet and cell phones made instant communication with bands a reality. Raw Power keeps the flame alive admirably.