Saturday, October 13, 2007

Anti-Flag - A Benefit For Victims Of Violent Crime Review

Posted by Jes Tones on 10.13.2007

The most memorable and inspiring live show I saw this year was undoubtedly the first stop on Anti-Flag’s “War Sucks, Let’s Party” tour this past March at New York City’s Irving Plaza. It was the kind of show that left the audience angry, energized and roused by a newfound faith that this generation actually gives a fuck and just might not be the generation of apathetic whiners it sometimes looks and sounds like. And that’s easy to forget these days, until you’re reminded by bands like Anti-Flag. Even Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello joined the boys on stage to assist in a half acoustic, half punk cover of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” and to educate the evening’s audience regarding the importance of protest and of bands like A-F (see that performance here).

Anti-Flag’s latest release follows on the heels of this tour and is no exception to the politically charged punk protocol they deliver so well. As a 10 song benefit EP clocking in at a cool 27 and a half minutes (with two tasty interludes titled “Oh, Katrina” and “John Ashcroft Was A Nazi” (presumptively giving a nod to MDC’s “John Wayne Was A Nazi)), this is what punk rock was intended for. The first five songs, “No Paradise,” “No Future,” “Anthem For The New Millennium Generation,” “Corporate Rock Still Sucks” (anyone remember Kurt Cobain’s “Corporate Magazines Still Suck” t-shirt on the cover of Rolling Stone (April, 1992)?) and “Marc Defiant,” are new studio tracks, although “Corporate Rock Still Sucks” was included on the Australian release of A-F’s 2006 album For Blood And Empire and “Marc Defiant” was included on the vinyl release of the same. The last five tracks, “No Borders No Nations,” “1 Trillion Dollars,” “Turncoat,” “The Project For A New American Century” and “911 For Peace” are all live performances recorded at Mr. Smalls in the band’s hometown of Pittsburgh and mixed earlier this year. Each of these was also previously released on a studio album (2002’s BYO Split Series, Vol. 4 (with the Bouncing Souls), 2006’s For Blood And Empire, 2003’s Terror State, For Blood And Empire, and 2002’s Mobilize, respectively).

There’s not a bad tune on the disc but it’s these last five tracks, capturing the energy and urgency of the band’s live performances, that really make it worth the purchase (that, and the fact that all profits from the album are being split between donations to The Center For Victims of Violence and Crime and the purchase of education bonds). From the politically-infused ad libs (“so if George Bush wants to end terrorism he should go ahead and kill himself!” on “No Borders No Nations”), to the acoustic sing-along (and my personal favorite) “1 Trillion Dollars,” to the messages of unity and community (“911 For Peace” – see the live performance of this track here), A-F has a way of making an audience feel like it’s part of something that matters, which, I think, is exactly that they intend to do.

The impetus for the compilation, unfortunately, was the violent death of bassist Chris #2’s sister and her boyfriend, leaving behind a young son and daughter, in February of this year (hence the donation to CVVC) and it is a limited press release. However, the band has promised a new studio album next spring and is currently working with producer Tony Visconti, who has previously worked with David Bowie, U2, Brian Eno, T Rex and Morrissey, to create an album which will “challenge ourselves and anyone who has any preconceived notion of what Anti-Flag means, believes in, stands for and sounds like,” according to Chris #2. The band is also kicking off a second tour this year on November 27, playing three West Coast shows with Dead To Me and Intro5pect, 14 shows in Canada with Alexisonfire, Saosin and The Bled, and three East Coast dates with Bomb The Music Industry and The Code.

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