The New York City hardcore punk group, Cro-mags, brought their following to rock one of Nashville’s coolest dive bars & venues, The Cobra. The iconic snake painted on the south side wall marks the lair of Nashville’s thriving punk scene. Here is where you’ll find the majority of concert goers decked out in padlocks, piercings, and platforms. Cro-mags, with decades under their belt and heavy influencers within the scene, are dutifully aware of their fanbase’s thirst for the punk show experience. The raging fans flooded the venue and rocked out to multiple local metal bands to rev up before the Cro-mags headlining set. For upwards of three hours in anticipation, the crowd killers took turns body-ing themselves and each other, creating a wrestling ring with no referee. 
The audience was physically ramping up the night, escalating with each opening act. Stage dives, cartwheels, mosh pits, anything goes as the venue thrashed its way from set to set. 10:00pm hit hard because all hell broke loose when Cro-mags took center stage. The band kickstarted the night with powerhouse punk anthem “We Gotta Know” that sent the crowd into a mass eruption. Front man and bassist, Harley Flanagan , is a seasoned veteran within the punk scene and tamed a crowd throwing punches in mere minutes. “That’s not my metal.” He called out. “My metal is everyone having a good time & not getting their teeth knocked out.” Instantly the pit dissolved and the crowd banded together in a sea of head banging and fist pumping. Frontman Harley Flanagan’s signature sound is well honed. His gruff and grating vocal poweress is perfectly balanced and well articulated. He is able to perform for hours on end with his extreme level of vocal intensity never faltering. 
What sets this rock slayer apart is his performance. From slapping his bass to creating unforgettable wicked expressions, this frontman fully embodies the rage behind the song in every aspect of his showmanship. This group honors the legacy of punk. Punk is more than a fashion subgenre colorized with spiked jackets and bullet lined belts. Punk is more than a rebel’s calling song, it’s hard hitting music with a hard hitting message. The Cro-Mags, unafraid to use the space to talk about real issues waging in the world from war to senseless gun violence the punk revivalists made their stance perfectly clear by claiming they’re “Anti-Stupid.” This was the perfect segway into one of their newer releases “2020” This haunting metal ballad played like a death march to convey the catastrophic year that was 2020. With shredding guitar solos backed by loud and proud drums the crowd was hanging onto the band’s every movement. Cro-Mags ended the night on a high with their most popular song “Hard Times” Sending the crowd into a heated fever. The night turned into the morning before the Cro-Mags took their final bow.
- Isabella Ellis
Photos courtesy of Ashlee Riggins (For Bell Music Magazine)

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