As part of the Don’t Panic festival, the Chicago punk legends laid waste to Denver’s 3 Kings Tavern
BY TIM HINELY
Wait….Pegboy is still around?? I had no idea. I had posted one of their songs on my Facebook page last month when a pal asks me if I’m going to see them next month. I’m like “Where? In Denver??! Uh…hell yes I’m going!.” Sure enough I checked the schedule and they’re playing this thing called the Don’t Panic fest. For me just seeing Pegboy was good enough thought I did catch a few other bands (Black Dots were real good).
Pegboy crawled out of Chicago in the late ‘80s loaded with talent, including ex-Bhopal Stiffs guy Larry Damore on vocals and guitarist John Haggerty, ex of Chicago legends Naked Raygun. Haggerty has always been one of my favorite guitarists, the sound he’s able to get out of that instrument still slays. On drums is Haggerty’s brother Joe (formerly of Bloodsport) and on bass is Mike Thompson (for a long stretch it was N.R. bassist Pierre Kezdy but he has been suffering some health issues the past few years).
Oddly enough, in all of my years of gig going, I don’t think I had ever seen Pegboy before so that made me doubly jazzed. It was going to be a late night, they were gonna hit the stage at 11:45 PM, but hey, if the guys in the band can do it (all over 50 years old ‘cept for the bassist) then this 50-plus year old can do it.
Damore was great, smiling throughout the set, cracking jokes, throwing his arms up in the air and then letting the crowd know “It’s been 17 years since we were last in Denver, if you can believe that.” The kind of guy you wanna throw your arm around him after the gig and buy him a beer. The rest of the band kept their heads down and went to work, Haggerty grinding and slashing on his axe while the rhythm section were powerful yet precise and they all really made these great songs come to life.
As far as the song selection? Pretty damn great, we heard “Strong Reaction,” “My Youth” and the unbelievably great “Dangermare.” They didn’t let us down on the covers either handling Mission of Burma’s “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver” (which they’d recorded for their 2nd album Earwig) and Naked Raygun’s “Soldier’s Requim.”
Toward the end of the set we heard “Field of Darkness” and the instrumental “Locomotivelung” to which the packed house was going ballastic. Damore stated that “We usually don’t played any encores but we will tonight” when the band launched into “Slipped Through My Fingers’ (off the band’s debut EP, Three Chord Monte) and then, at the end, Damore stated “Thanks everyone , that was great, we’re gonna be hanging around if anyone wants to chat and get a beer with us.” And with that Pegboy were off into the night. Let’s hope it’s not another 17 years before they make it out this way again. The band is too damn good to keep these songs under wraps for so long.