It was finally closing time. After months of deliberation and setbacks, the inevitable close of the Hang Fire Bar on Whitaker Street finally occurred last Monday, January 4th, 2016. It is truly the end of an era. As many of you know, the venue not only welcomed all of Savannah’s local talent over the years but also hosted nationally acclaimed acts such as King Tuff, Natalie Prass. But more importantly, it was a watering hole where you always had a friend: whether it was your college buddy, the guy behind the bar, or someone you had too much to drink with that one time. Crazy Bag Lady was invited to perform one last time and did the occasion justice. Their blend of raucous punk rock and stoner metal makes beers disappear and gets your heart racing yet watching lead singer Josh Sterno’s enraged commands over those cathartic rhythms agitates you in a way to think why good things never fucking last.
Crazy Bag Lady’s Josh Sterno is an atom bomb. The always-energetic frontman seemed to feel even more inspired this evening. He appeared last to the stage smeared in black paint, dressed in pseudo-military garb, looking deranged like he had just come back from tour (like combat tour, not a stupid band touring).
And Sterno’s behavior was that of an atom bomb, unhinged, and ready to explode at any second. And that was his purpose, he wanted everyone in there to lose their shit with him and leave the place in wreckage. He punched himself in the face, wrapped the mic around his neck, and stared out during songs like, “Out of the Way” and “Mobile Phone” not satisfied with the crowd’s lack of movement. At one point in the set he turned to see a sidewalk crowded with smokers and went outside to tell them what he thought. Punk rock is about living in the moment and focusing on the energy the band gives off and bring more energy in return. After this little incident, Crazy Bag Lady had the crowd in the palm of their gloved hand.
Their set was reminiscent to a more brutish Pure Mania, Nervous Breakdown-era Black Flag, and their pop-ier moments a nod to the New York Dolls. The players in Crazy Bag Lady also give off that same intensity as their singer, except their focuses stay inward ensuring that the music stays tight, slick, and allow for Sterno to do the motivating. The crowd pushed each other around like pinballs and grins were had all around.
When the last song arrived, Sterno found the for lease sign that had condemned Hang Fire and lifted it up to the crowd to a melee of boos, curse words, and even someone pouring beer on it. And with that, they played one last number with a chorus that preached, “We’re the last punks standing!” On this night, in the face of local business owners getting priced out of their space (like so many do), Crazy Bag Lady gave us something to be proud about, and gave us something to be mad about. Cheers, boys, and thanks Hang Fire for all the good times.
Crazy Bag Lady