Anti-Flag by Mihaela Petrescu

Live Review: Anti-Flag bring message of peace and resistance to Bangkok

[usr 3.5]

With fists in the air, flying bodies across the crowds, the old school melodic hardcore punk band Anti-Flag put on a show on December 14 at The Rock Pub, Bangkok, the city’s home of punk rock, metal and straight out rock ’n roll.

Anti-Flag aren’t against any certain symbols just underline what they might represent which is corruption and greed. Their lyrics contain a message for people to find a better way to deal with injustice and daily struggle, to find the strength to go on in a world where they might feel hopeless or downtrodden. In the simplest terms, their music contains strength through unity.

A photo posted by AMPBKK (@ampbkk) on

The set featured their 2006 album For Blood and Empire, which focuses on the mishandling of the war on terrorism by the US government. The band tore through “Trillion Dollars”, “War Sucks, Let’s Party!”, “Depleted Uranium is a War Crime” and “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.” The band write songs that go into complex political themes but it’s expressed through catchy lyrics and fun quick beats. The way to explain the lyrical content is a combination of Jello Biafra, Dave Dictator and political punk of the past mixed with the intellectual insight of Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky.

The next portion of the show really bridged the gap between the band and the fans as the former took audience requests and ripped into their eager supporters’ favourite tunes of the decade past such as “Tearing Down the Border”, “Turncoat”, “Underground Network” and “911 for Peace”, with lead singer Justin Sane screaming out the titles before each song and Chris Barker playing around with the crowd. He also got us all chanting, “1,2,3,4!” before the songs and joked with a member of the crowd, “you don’t F-this up!” It’s all in good fun.

A photo posted by Krit Promjairux (@aomsinstory) on

Sane kept the crowd singing along while keeping the mad frolicking punk energy in the room positive by bellowing out playful banter and an uplifting message of strength and unity to the crowd. In between songs he shouted out, “It’s great to see a room full of completely different types of people all ripping together as a punk rock family!” and “Look out for each other out there!” to make sure that the crowd was watching over each other so no one was getting hurt.

Punk rock shows are known for crowd surfing across the pit, fans jumping around in the audience and a mass group of people bumping and slamming into each other. At one point, Barker hollered “Circle pit!” then the crowd burst into a circular spiral of running bodies. It sounds like a mad riot from an outsider’s perspective but really it’s controlled mayhem.

#antiflag #bangkok #punk

A photo posted by Katharina Ehrler (@bootsexploreworld) on

Anti-Flag kicked off the final part of the gig with “Die for the Government” and “Power to the Peaceful” before they moved drummer Pat Thetic and his drum set down to the middle of the pit for “One People, One Struggle”.

But the show didn’t conclude without one final request. An audience’s wish was fulfilled as the band decided to played “Drink, Drank, Punk”, which Barker might have agreed was a perfect way to end the night, with clinking bottles, cheers and laughs from the punk-loving crowd.

Punk rock may sound aggressive for some but the genre with its attitude and quick beats has always been there to help with the struggles of many. At its heart, punk represents the desire to change the world for the better, the expression of the spirit of unity through music and the live performance delivered.

After the show, the band showed that very spirit, giving back to the fans by staying for pictures and signing autographs. And it’s not just about the abstract. You know that they really care when a band takes time to do something like this while on the road.

A photo posted by Daniels Jack (@sqjack) on

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