Anti-Flag - Punks not dead!!
When walking to the mainstage at Groezrock last year, I could never imagine that Anti-Flag’s performance would be one of my highlights of the festival. And as punk's not dead yet at all, just a little over a year after the performance at Groezrock, the band is back with a new album and a European tour. With the release of their 8th full length album The People or the Gun just around the corner I decided to check out Anti-Flag’s only club show at Tivoli de Helling, Utrecht.
The first thing I noticed outside the venue was the amount of real punks! I haven’t seen a Sex Pistols look-a-like in ages (not even at the Sex Pistols gig at Lowlands!). But they were all attending the gig, showing there is still a good punk scene and that punk is not dead at all like The Exploited was screaming 30 years ago already. The band toured without any support so the venue had to look into the local punk rock scene, finding Splitside and Tenement Kids a suitable addition to Anti-Flag’s performance.
Because the show started very early and I had a longer journey than expected, I missed Splitside and the first band of the night was Tenement Kids for me. Last time I’ve seen the band live was in January together with Alkaline Trio and it really convinced me. The performance didn’t stand out but musically the catchy punk rock songs sounded tight and the crowd was paying good attention to this promising band. Not much movement in the room, but people were apparently saving energy for what came next!
Sadly I can’t just leave it to a “you’ll have to witness an Anti-Flag performance yourself”. But boy, this band is a machine! In an hour time the band played an almost everlasting chain of hits with such enthusiasm which made it hard to just stand still. The crowd went nuts from the beginning to the end, with a big moshpit in front of the band including constant sing-alongs and circlepits. Even the tracks from the newest album The People Or The Gun like “Sodom, Gemorrah, Washington DC” and “You Are Fired” were sung along all the way along with hits like “Fuck Police Brutality”, “This Is The End For You My Friend”, “If You Wanna Steal” and of course “Die For Your Gouverment” from the past 7 albums from this hit-machine. After about 45 minutes the band left the stage, returning after a minute for a scheduled encore as always. “Should I Stay or Should I Go” from The Clash was played along with a few more hits, leaving the packed Tivoli with a satisfied feeling.
Of course the clapping and singing along parts at certain points showed sign of yet another routine show for them, but the enthusiasm, crowd and good sound proved the band will be far away from a retirement any time soon. This is one of the better punkrock shows I’ve seen lately!