Anti Flag - The Mill Preston - 27.6.05
This is the only North West date for the political punks from Pennsylvania. Since forming in 1983 (they went professional in 1993) these guys have gone from strength to strength with their last album "Terror State" being released in 2003. Now they've gone totally independent having formed their own label. On what seems like one of the hottest days of the year so far the Mill is packed to the rafters for a sweaty Summer gig which will put Anti Flag in good shape for the Carling Festival in Leeds and Reading in August.
After two great support bands, Preston's very own Failsafe and No Comply it's time for the main attraction, Anti Flag. The four piece sure know how to whip up the crowd into a frenzy, right from the start, Full of attitude, decorated with tattoos, wearing black and displaying a hint of quiff / mohican hybrid Anti Flag go hell for leather during the self explanatory rant of "F**K Police Brutality" with the peroxide stocky drummer looking a little unhinged with a glint of madness in his eyes and a permanent expression of Jack Nicholson type menace. Blair and Bush come in for a verbal hashing and the right for personal choice and freedom is universally appreciated. Guitarist Justin Sane (oh my aching sides) high kicks his way to victory while guitarist Chris Head weaves his magical riffs to punk perfection. There are nods to the heavy melodies of Rancid and the three part harmonies are wonderfully executed.
Anti Flag involve the crowd at every opportunity whether asking them to chant "people united will never be defeated" or suggesting they make the most of the punk atmosphere by joining the party, but making sure everyone is safe. "New Kind Of Party" and "911 For Peace" educate, illuminate and deliver power chords, guitar solos and lyrics which make you think as you flail around the venue. The guys even tell us that this is the best date of the tour so far.
"Drink Drank", a celebration of inebriation becomes a singalong while "Die For The Government" the last song of the night is a sober thought to end a non stop barrage of noise, fun, political lyrics and mosh pit antics. With my ears still ringing and the memory of the gig still clear in my mind this is certainly a band that once seen are never forgotten.
Words: Nicholas Paul Godkin
Live Photos: Drew Harrison (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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