75 Post-Punk and Hardcore Concerts from the 1980s Have Been Digitized & Put Online: Fugazi, GWAR, Lemonheads, Dain Bramage (with Dave Grohl) & More

Between 1985 and 1988, a teenag­er by the name of Sohrab Habibion was attend­ing punk and post-punk shows around the Wash­ing­ton, DC area. What set him apart was the bulky video cam­era he’d bring to the show and let roll, doc­u­ment­ing entire gigs in all their low-rez, lo-fi glo­ry. Just a kid try­ing to doc­u­ment a great night out. Habibion might not have known at the time what an impor­tant time cap­sule he was cre­at­ing, but these 60 or so tapes have now been dig­i­tized and uploaded to YouTube, thanks to Roswell Films and the DC Pub­lic Library’s Punk Archive.

“Please keep in mind that I was a teenag­er when I shot these shows,” Habibion writes, “and had zero pro­fi­cien­cy with the equip­ment. And, as you might imag­ine, nobody was doing any­thing with the lights or the sound to make things any bet­ter. What you get here is what was record­ed on my Beta­max and prob­a­bly best appre­ci­at­ed with a bit of gen­eros­i­ty as a view­er.”

High­lights include the above full con­cert by Fugazi on Decem­ber 28, 1987, a year before their first e.p. and play­ing songs that would turn up on their 1990’s clas­sic debut Repeater; Descen­dents in 1987 at the height of their career; The Lemon­heads when they were a punk band and not a pow­er pop group; the insane and hilar­i­ous GWAR from 1988, the year of their debut; and anoth­er home­town punk band, Dain Bra­m­age, which fea­tured Dave Grohl on drums, long before he played with Nir­vana and the Foo Fight­ers (see below).

Habibion went on to his own musi­cal career: first as the front­man for post-hard­core band Edsel, and cur­rent­ly as part of the band SAVAK.

Habibion’s tape archive makes one won­der: who else is out there sit­ting on a trove of his­toric record­ings? And where is that person’s equiv­a­lent of the DC Library? Who would help fund such a project? And who would see the worth of such record­ings? Not only are Habibion’s tapes about the bands them­selves, but they tell a sep­a­rate his­to­ry of music venues come and gone, of a time and place that will nev­er come again. Watch the shows here.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

When John Belushi Booked the Punk Band Fear on SNL, And They Got Banned from the Show: A Short Doc­u­men­tary

Down­load 834 Rad­i­cal Zines From a Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Online Archive: Glob­al­iza­tion, Punk Music, the Indus­tri­al Prison Com­plex & More

Down­load 50+ Issues of Leg­endary West Coast Punk Music Zines from the 1970–80s: Dam­age, Slash & No Mag

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the Notes from the Shed pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.

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