"This is the last time you're gonna hear any CRO-MAGS songs at CBGB," says CRO-MAGS founder and bassist/vocalist Harley Flanagan during a set by his band HARLEY'S WAR on the final weekend of hardcore at the legendary Bowery venue. That is indeed a shame, as from 1973 to 2006 CBGB played host to a veritable who's who of punk and hardcore acts before being priced out of the market. Harley and company's barn burning set is not even the main feature of "The Final Quarrel: Live at CBGB 2001", yet serves as the exclamation point to another MVD DVD that captures the magic created at the club.
The DVD centerpiece is of course the 2001 performance by infamous rabble rousers CRO-MAGS. Unsurprisingly, the atmosphere during the performance reeks of vintage punk/hardcore and the band's performance is high energy, chaotic, and sweat drenched, as the group tears through classics like "We Gotta Know", "World Peace", "Hard Times", and the schizoid cover of THE RAMONES' "Blitzkrieg Bop" that was "dedicated to the motherfuckers that invented punk rock." The sound quality is borderline acceptable and the video can be summed up as follows: One camera that remains largely stationary and shot with so-so lighting. Those are the only, albeit relatively important, aspects of an otherwise good DVD. Besides, this one is all about the speed and franticness of the performance, and the blur of shaved heads and tattoos.
Prior to watching the bonus features of the DVD, one would assume that the HARLEY'S WAR set would be little more than, well, bonus material. As it turns out, the performance is on par (at least) with the CRO-MAGS set, while the sound quality is much better. The camera work is about the same though. The segment is peppered with CRO-MAGS tunes, not to mention a fast-blast rendition of S.O.D.'s "Fuck the Middle East". Flanagan gives it everything he's got, clearly determined to make sure that no one forgets his last performance at CBGB.
Flanagan's love of the venue and its history is captured in a brief segment called "The Last Days of CBGB" during which he notes his first appearance there as an eight-year-old fan at a WEREWOLVES show in 1974, and his first performance with THE STIMULATORS in 1979. One particularly touching piece shows Flanagan regaling club founder Hilly Kristal with tales of his lifelong attachment to the club, as Kristal autographs a guitar (one that contains autographs of all the band members that played during that final weekend). It is a fitting wrap-up to a DVD that any fan with a soft spot for the golden age of New York punk and hardcore will want in his or her collection.