Matchbox-like Magnet opened its doors to a few hundred punks on Monday night and Anti-Flag did nothing to disappoint the excited crowd. The kingsize venue was on fire, and not just because of the intense heat coming from sweaty bodies, but because the band, with their music, charisma and political views in tow, put on an awesome show.
Their 2013 tour marks their 20th anniversary, which is barely believable when you consider how much energy, passion and pizzazz these guys still have. That and their great song-writing ability, which hasn’t faltered at all.
Gearing up the fans with a lot of sing-alongs and jokes, bassist Chris Barker was intent on there being multiple circle pits, and the audience willingly obliged while following the rule: “If someone falls, pick ’em up”. Anti-Flag fans are a caring and responsible bunch.
Lead guitarist and singer Justin Sane willed everyone in the crowd to take action by singing an online petition or writing to Pussy Riot (http://www.amnestyusa.org/get-involved/take-action-now) in order to stop the “fascist Russian government”. Watching a band that use their platform and voice to inspire political activism is nothing short of incredible.
Standout moments for me musically were the almighty This Is The End and Die For Your Government, which received very warm reactions from the crowd, as well as the incredible versions of Dead Kennedys’ Nazi Punks Fuck Off as well as Sheena Is A Punk Rocker by The Ramones. Before the covers, Chris Barker told the audience: “These next two songs are for us. If you don’t like it, start your own band and in 20 years’ time you can come and hit [drummer] Pat in the stomach”.
After their encore, the band shook the front rows’ hands and thanked everyone. Such a personal and heart-warming touch. You can catch the band in various other European cities and several festivals this summer, including Messe Open Air in Freiburg and Dour Festival in Belgium. Watch their latest music video for the song ‘Broken Bones’ here: http://vimeo.com/66781235