Wednesday, March 26
New York, NY
The Knitting Factory
Last night’s Anti-Flag concert at the Knitting Factory was my first ever “MySpace Secret Show.” I’m still confused as to what a “MySpace Secret Show” entails? Besides a small banner hanging from the wall and some extra room in the mosh pit, you couldn’t even tell the evening was being presented by MySpace.
Um, I think if you add “Secret Shows” to your MySpace friend-list, you get alerted to the concert a couple days before everyone else?? I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about–let’s just get to the performance.
Anti-Flag opened the show looking and sounding like a well-seasoned punk band. All the members of the band were dressed in black (nice), all of them had cool-looking haircuts (nice), Chris #2 clocked some major hang-time with his flying scissor-kicks (nice), and to add to the spectacle, Anti-Flag had flood-lights on their amplifiers that nearly blinded everyone in the bedroom-sized Knitting Factory (double nice!).
Those expecting to see a punk show got one. I’m a fan of the brand of punk inspired by the artists of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Give me a little Ramones-pop, the stage moves, politics, and haircuts of The Clash, and the angry brow of Ian MacKaye and I’m a happy camper. In my opinion, only a handful of current-day punk bands can (sincerely) bring this to the table.
After watching Anti-Flag rip through a few songs, it’s obvious to see why they’re a cut above their punk contemporaries–they’re able to perfectly blend punk, pop, and spit-fire politics, all while bouncing around on stage sounding amazingly tight on their instruments (a talent many young punk bands have yet to master). Bassist, Chris #2, is the group’s high-energy showman, the “yang” to Justin Sane’s “yin” (it was very fitting that his buzzcut was dyed half black/half white). He also did an impressive job playing traffic cop last night directing the throng of kids being tossed up on stage.
Anti-Flag’s new material, “Good and Ready”, “The Bright Lights of America”, “Vices”, and “If You Wanna Steal” fit nicely into their set-list alongside their catalog favorites. In between songs, Chris #2 did most of the talking. A couple times throughout the performance, the banter seemed a little shticky, especially when the crowd was instructed to do a “circle pit” (I’m a firm believer in crowds starting their own “circle pits”), and Chris #2’s liberal use of the word “fuck.” After a handful of times, the mightiest of expletives, lost its impact. I can overlook this though, because I know Anti-Flag’s punk-rock politics stretch way beyond their stage show.
Midway through the set, Chris #2 mentioned, “Usually I’d say Rupert Murdoch was a mother fucker, but he did bring us all here tonight.” Justin Sane followed with, “Rupert Murdoch IS a mother fucker. If we can use MySpace for our gains, then it’s worth it–fuck Rupert Murdoch!” If you didn’t put two-and-two together, Murdoch is the chairman of News Corp., the global conglomerate that owns the Fox Network and, you guessed it, MySpace.
At the beginning of Anti-Flag’s encore, Justin Sane finally took some time to speak to the crowd in length. Because he kept silent most of the set, he seemed to have the EF Hutton-effect (when he spoke everyone listened). Sane spoke of a Free Tibet rally which he had attended earlier in the day in New York City, and also talked about the upcoming election–he’s not thrilled with Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, but fears that John McCain would just be a further extension of the George Bush presidency. After his mini-speech, Anti-Flag played the quintessential Anti-Flag song, “You’ve Got to Die For The Government”, then wrapped up the evening with “The Press Corpse.”
Ah, a nice hearty meal of some good ‘ol wholesome punk rock music.