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After disbanding eight years ago, the creatively chaotic punk band pg. 99 developed a cult following of the variety that inspires tattoos, bootleg T-shirts and a string of musical imitators. The group's individual members have gone on to other projects, but pg. 99's impact on post-hardcore is massive, if sometimes unsung. So on August 27, a night that could not have been more miserable — no thanks to the howling winds and sideways rain of Hurricane Irene — there was little stopping a sold-out crowd from lining up around the Black Cat in Washington, D.C., to witness the second of two scheduled reunion shows, which also featured Thou and the newly re-formed Circle Takes the Square.
When I interviewed pg. 99 earlier this month, guitarist Mike Taylor told me, "It's the crowd that gave pg. 99 its delivery." I never saw the band when they terrorized basements and clubs around the turn of the millennium, but after surviving the mass chaos that was Best Friends Day in Richmond — and watching kids repeatedly break Black Cat's "No Stage Diving/Crowd Surfing" rule — Taylor's assessment was spot-on. We were the sweaty limbs of an eight-member band, pounding our fists in the air to a furious swarm of claustrophobic chords, a relentless dynamic tide, and two screaming vocalists who prowled the stage like caged panthers.
"More Complicated Than a Sci-Fi Flick"
"In Love With an Apparition"
"Your Face Is a Rape Scene"
"Life in a Box"
"Ruiner of Life"
"We Left As Skeletons"
"Punk Rock in the Wrong Hands"
"Ballad of Circling Vultures"
"The Hollowed Out Chest of a Dead Horse"