I'm still amused by the delicate navigation surrounding Missoula's Fag Rag. Sure, the name “controversy” has blown over, but I still smile over the occasional “homosexual rag” that I hear on the radio – it sounds more like a dance step than a band name. My sensibility finds it more humorous if the play would have focused on ways to adulterate the second half of the band's name, but that's neither here nor there. Perhaps the bleep would be more appealing, but it's all still a bit silly to me.
In spite of the fact that Fag Rag has been playing for a little over a year, I still have trouble disassociating them with Knot Knocked Up. Not in a bad way. I liked Knot Knocked Up – they were brash, noisy, loud, offensive, chaotic, dreamy – and, what better band to open for AIDS Wolf? Chains on metal tubs and punctuated screams? Come on. More than anything, I was happy that Missoula had it. But such chaos can only last as a happening. Fag Rag brings together the anti-melodic and frantic vocals of Mikki with the pseudo-rhythmic stylings of drummer Mat, keyboardist Isaiah and guitarist Jerrod. Underlying all the reactive temperament is a residual calm. Something reminds me of PRE or Divorce, but maybe that's because I've been overdosing on those two bands recently, and I could find similarities with the Black Eyed Peas at this point. Regardless, the similarities stick. Fag Rag is ballsy and fierce, undeniably talented and creative. They border on the brink of chaos but are able to, if only momentarily, ground it and send it spinning all over again. They're challenging to what may or may not be music – if we need to stick to such a dichotomy, and we're lucky to call 'em “Missoula's Own.”