As well as being part of their 20th Anniversary tour, tonight is also Anti-Flags only UK show of 2013. Tonight’s show was very much going to be a celebration for both the band and their fans. It’s clear why Anti-Flag are still going after 20 years as they are one of the best Punk bands around and tonight showed that Anti-Flag aren’t showing any signs of stopping any time soon.
First up though were British Punks Gnarwolves. There is a real buzz surrounding Gnarwolves right now and it’s clear why, even at this early stage the band have loads of great songs already. The band also sound unique in the Pop-Punk scene right now which really helps. Unfortunately the audience just don’t quite get into the band tonight. They still have a few big fans in but generally the rest of the audience just react politely to their set. Still this didn’t stop Gnarwolves from being a good start to the evening. (7)
Next up were Great Cynics, who were a late addition to the line up after Sharks pulled out. Tonight was one of the biggest shows they’ve ever played and the band were clearly nervous at first but they soon settled in. Having both a male and female vocalists who alternated leading the songs helped to give Great Cynics a more unique sound. They did suffer from similar problems to Gnarwolves though, with most of the crowd only really being interested in seeing Anti-Flag but again they reacted politely to Great Cynics. With tonight being such a special show for Anti-Flag it’s understandable why fans were excited for them and no one else. (7)
Finally Anti-Flag came on and immediately began with “Turncoat” which sent the audience into a frenzy. Following this with “Drink Drank Punk” confirmed that tonight was very much going to be a greatest hits set for Anti-Flag. And when Anti-Flag have so many of them it’s understandable why. Tonight wasn’t all about the music though, as the show is supported by charity organisation Amnesty International. Near through their set Anti-Flag stop and ask the audience to help them by sending a text to sign a petition aiming to free the imprisoned members of Russian Punks Pussy Riot. Normally stopping for this long would be a problem but Anti-Flag have always been about more than just the music and it’s great to see they still support Pussy Riot and haven’t given up on trying to help. Elsewhere the set is rammed full of great songs like “Fuck Police Brutality” and “One Trillion Dollars”, and the fans sing along to all of them. During their encore Anti-Flag say that because tonight is American Independence Day they won’t be covering The Clash like they usually do, instead they performed brilliant covers of the Ramones “The KKK Took My Baby Away” and the Dead Kennedy’s “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”. Finally the night ended with “Power To The Peaceful” and the entire band performed from within the crowd. (9)
Tonight really was a special show for Anti-Flag, even after 20 years the band still put everything they have into their shows. The band haven’t lost their political message and they genuinely believe in what they say, they don’t just say it to follow the crowd. Even though tonight is their only UK show this year hopefully it won’t be too long until Anti-Flag are back/ (8)