PUNK BLACK’s final pop-up concert of the summer, held at OUR BAR ATL on
Edgewood, was a staggering success—just as much a menagerie of searingly
intense performances as it was an electrifying celebration of unapologetic
All the vendors on hand couldn’t help but partake in the evening’s pulse-pounding
excitement themselves. There were also any number of photographers and
videographers on hand to cover the event (yours truly being among them).
OUR BAR was absolutely abuzz with feel-good vibes from the get-go, as the eagerly
awaiting audience all got in the mood to rock. The opening act was Atlanta-based
punk band The Rack, and they easily set the manic, raucous, ear-popping tone for
the night. Following The Rack was another local band named HOWLING STAR, and
they melted the stage with a five-song set. Literally everyone in the crowd was
headbanging. Quite a few in the crowd were circle-dancing (myself included) as
HOWLING STAR unleashed a barrage of lightning-fast, near-deafening guitar licks
and thunderous drum work on their subjects. The raucous sounds which the
guitarists unleashed on the crowd were intense enough to rival those of Hendrix and
Larry Graham, and the drummer’s performances were on the order of John Bonham.
The closing act was Conkrete God, another BIPOC punk band based in Atlanta. This
band was even more ferocious than the first, playing a full nine-song set with no
shortage of encores. Conkrete God’s set was an otherworldly stylistic potpourri of
Led Zeppelin, Rollins Band and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. With more than
enough craft, charisma, and skill to equal any of the long-since-deceased titans of
rock music, Conkrete God had woken the dead with the tumultuous fire and fury
they had wrought on the entire audience for the last two-and-a-half hours. The
band’s lead vocalist had a style and a stage presence that was absolutely
mesmerizing. At the end, the band’s message was not at all unlike that of James
Brown—Say it loud (I’m Black and I’m proud!)
Conkrete God’s last number was truly a literal affirmation. They inspired the crowd to
acknowledge and emphasize everything good about themselves; to think positively
about themselves in their daily lives. It was one helluva high note to end on.
Both Conkrete God and HOWLING STAR are about as full-throttle as contemporary
alternative punk can hope to get.
The audience savored every performance to the fullest, and there was no shortage
of reverberant standing ovations after both bands played. Good times were had by
all well after the concert finished, and everyone socialized over food and drinks. It
was a very welcome change from just 12 months before, when there were no such
events going on because public safety couldn’t be guaranteed at all. One can only
hope the trend continues as we slowly but surely put this horrid pandemic behind us.
On a personal note, this was my first legit exposure to Atlanta’s punk rock
subculture, and I was absolutely won over by it. The friendliness, camaraderie, and
genuine selflessness amongst everyone there was truly visceral and a joy to witness.
I can’t say enough about how joyous or how beautiful the whole experience was. The
concert as a whole exemplified everything that punk rock stands for: independence
of thought, freedom of expression, and a sense of community for all, especially for
anyone who feels different or alone.
Conkrete God, The Rack and HOWLING STAR—thank you very much for the mad dope vibes,and please come again soon.