Anti-racism. Anti-homophobic. Anti-sexist. Anti-capitalist. Anti-transphobic. Anti-fascist. Anti-nationalist. Anti-war. ANTI-FLAG! Anti-Flag is back in Australia playing their highly controversial For Blood and Empire in full for its tenth anniversary. Tonight sees Melbourne’s Max Watt’s play host to the final show on the tour.
Local trio Wolfpack hit the stage first up. Led by the extremely enthusiastic drummer/singer Drum Wolf Tom (who reminds me a lot of Adam D. of Killswitch Engage) the party band play through a tight set of heavy punk rock. The great thing about this band is they are completely not-for-profit. All money they make goes to animal welfare charities and they have raised more than $26 thousand so far so definitely get behind them!
There’s a complete change of pace when Scott Reynolds takes to the stage. It’s just one man and an acoustic guitar. Reynolds is most well known for fronting punk band All and has played in various other bands as well but tonight it’s a stripped back set. His cover of Ramones classic Blitzkrieg Bop opens his set before he launches into a bunch of his own songs that he’s written over the years including the amusing, Gillian Anderson Please Go On A Date With Me. Reynolds will be sticking around for a few headline shows of his own next week (details below).
Finally, comes the time everyone has been waiting for. Anti-Flag hit the stage and quickly launch into I’d Tell You But . . . before quickly racing through the next few songs, barely pausing for a breath and sending the crowd into a frenzy. The band just don’t stop moving and their energy on stage is to be admired. Guitarist and co-lead vocalist Justin Sane gives a great speech part way through 1 Trillion Dollar$. He says he doesn’t believe the right-wing state of the world will be in power for very long which gets a huge round of applause. The band are known for political statements and don’t hold back tonight.
State Funeral sees our first circle pit of the night and, before you know it, the album is at an end. However, that is not the end of their set. Sane plays Welcome To 1984 on his own before Chris #2 (Chris Barker) starts taking audience requests. Turncoat Killer Liar Thief kicks things off before songs like Broken Bones and the true story of Spaz’s House Destruction Party are played. Towards the end of their set part of the drum kit, drummer Pat Thetic and Barker head down into the mosh pit and the band play through Drink Drank Punk and Power To the Peaceful with the two of them in the crowd. Naturally, phones are a plenty.
Tonight, Anti-Flag show just how great they are live and show exactly how punk rock shows should go down: Loud, fast, fun and sweaty.
Scott Reynolds Upcoming Sideshows
Tuesday, December 13th – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
W/ Laura Mardon, Emmy Hour, Hanny J
Wednesday, December 14th – Valve Bar, Sydney
\W/ Hey Lady, Jamie Hay, Tim Hampshire, Josh Arentz
Thursday, December 15th – Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne
W/ Tim Hampshire, Shadow League, Joe Guiton
Photography by Matt Holiday
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