Show reviewed by Jason Epstein
This did not feel like an everyday punk rock show. It started off with a whiny, somewhat entertaining one-man folk-act, was followed by a punk band, was scaled way back into a conversation between Anti-Flag and two members of Amnesty International, and then turned into a special album plus discography-favorites set. Like I said, it wasn’t your average evening at the punk rock show.
The Homeless Gospel Choir’s name is a bit of a misnomer; it’s not a gospel choir, it’s actually just one bearded trucker-hat-wearing dude in a plaid shirt (aka Derek Zanetti) on an acoustic guitar singing angry, young and poor anthems that speak to the as-far-left-as-you-can-go liberal crowd so directly that it has no hopes of changing any conservatives’ minds (it’d only serve to make them dig in more on their beliefs which I believe there’s a nifty psychological term for that I don’t feel like looking up). The songs were kind of funny, and kind of sad, very impassioned, and pretty bland. But I’m not one for folksy, acoustic-only stuff much, anyway.
Such Gold – an affable group of 20-something dudes who play energetic post-90’s skate punk in the vein of The Loved Ones or older Swellers – followed. They just couldn’t seem to rev up the audience who seemed stunned by the preceding oddity of such a casual act which made it seem more like an open-mic night than a punk rock gathering.
After, Anti-Flag sat down with two multicultural hipsters from Amnesty International and had a fairly interesting discussion about this past year’s, what I’ll lightly call, “race-relation issues.” It was cool to hear that young people have the power to do something about what they feel is wrong in the world, and we were treated to a particularly blistering story of injustice that had a relatively happy ending – because of that very power. It was a rousing call-to-action for those who were already halfway there, but for most it was just a strange segue into the main event of the evening.
The guys came back on a few minutes later and launched into the energetic 13-song punch which is The Terror State, which is as good an album as it was back in 2003. Some of the songs they’ve played a ton, while other they’d never played before this tour. Pretty special stuff, indeed. They went full force, talking mercifully little between songs, and instead choosing to speak through the aggressive mouthpiece of great punk rock. Following the full performance of The Terror State, they let another plaid-wearing beard-having individual address the audience, this time about helping marine life, certainly a noble cause. Anti-Flag soldiered on through almost a dozen more songs, including a brand new jam called “To Hell With Boredom” (totally likable upon first listen) which will be on their upcoming album. One thing’s for sure: It’s great to see a band like Anti-Flag still playing fast and loud nearly 20 years after their first album with a new one on the horizon and no signs of slowing down.
Anti-Flag’s full setlist was as follows:
3. Post-War Breakout
4. Sold as Freedom
5. Power to the Peaceful
6. Mind the G.A.T.T.
7. You Can Kill the Protester, But You Can’t Kill the Protest
8. When You Don’t Control Your Government, People Want to Kill You
9. Wake Up!
10. Tearing Down the Borders
11. Death of a Nation
12. Operation Iraqi Liberation (O.I.L.)
13. One People, One Struggle
14. Fuck the Flag
15. To Hell With Boredom
16. Fuck Police Brutality
17. The Press Corpse
18. Broken Bones
19. This Is the End (For You My Friend)
20. This Machine Kills Fascists
21. 1 Trillion Dollar$
22. Cities Burn
23. Die for the Government
24. Drink Drank Punk