Thursday, February 5, 2015

Anti-Flag at the Gramercy Theatre

Justin Sane and Chris Barker
Vocalist/guitarist Justin Sane and drummer Pat Thetic started Anti-Flag as an anarchistic punk rock band in 1988 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but disbanded after just one performance in 1989. A second try in 1993 proved more successful. Since then, the band has recorded nine studio albums and participated in countless political actions and causes. A 10th studio album, American Spring, is proposed for May 2015 release. Anti-Flag presently consists of Sane, Thetic, guitarist Chris Head and vocalist/bassist Chris "Chris #2" Barker.

Prior to the band's performance at the Gramercy Theatre tonight, Anti-Flag introduced and interviewed a panel of representatives from Amnesty International. Together, the band and speakers encouraged the audience to engage in human rights awareness and activism. When Anti-Flag moved to music, the band protested war, fascism and American foreign policy, and touted class struggle and rebellion. The band started by performing all 14 songs of  its fourth album, 2003's The Terror State. This string of politically charged songs featured titles including "You Can Kill the Protester, But You Can't Kill the Protest", "When You Don’t Control Your Government, People Want to Kill You", "Wake Up!", "Tearing Down the Borders", "Death of a Nation", "Operation Iraqi Liberation (O.I.L.)", and "One People, One Struggle," where band and audience in unison chanted "The people united will never be defeated." After The Terror State, Anti-Flag performed 10 more songs.  It was Occupy Wall Street with banging, slamming punk rock momentum and a whole lot of F-bombs. The sociopolitical message was not what generated the very active mosh pit, however; fans responded to the fast, loud and explosive blare of energetic power-pop melodies and the thrust of the anguished vocals shared by Sane and Barker. The concert ended with Thetic bringing his drum kit into the audience and Barker standing on his bass drum singing in the midst of a moshing crowd. If live music had the power to fuel a revolution, it would have begun with tonight's Anti-Flag concert.

Visit Anti-Flag at