Anti-Flag / Rise Against / Against Me! - live in Phoenix (Cover Artwork)

Anti-Flag / Rise Against / Against Me!

live in Phoenix (2003)

live show

Regardless of your feelings on Anti-Flag, they've put together one hell of a lineup for their fall/winter tour. For the stop in Phoenix, they chose to play a 1500 person or so capacity venue in Tempe known as The Marquee.

Opening the night was The Vacancy from Pittsburgh, PA. I'm fairly sure that this band is on A-F Records. The first song was terrible - it sounded like any of the other 6,000 mall-emo-with-screaming-background-vocals. Throughout the set they kind of grew on me a little bit. While currently I wouldn't mind never hearing another one of their songs again, they played with energy and might develop into something good in years to come.

Next up was None More Black. The vocalist (the name escapes me) in the band is from Kid Dynamite. He also plays guitar. I happen to think he has one of the best voices in punk in recent years, and with NMB he applied it to midtempo melodic punk that was not wholly unoriginal. I can also see how this band could develop into something great in the future; for now, however, they are a band with great vocals, a few great songs, and a lot of mediocre ones. The crowd started off with a pit to the first song, but gradually just dissolved into bobbing heads as the set went on. Definitely a band worth checking out live - although I can see now why the vocalist had to take a break after Kid Dynamite. I imagined he'd have a high pitched voice, but instead he must just really tear his throat up.

Against Me! was next on the bill. If you have yet to see this band, you are missing out on one of the acts people will talk about in 20 years, in the sense that they will wonder what it would have been like to see such an amazing band live. I'm fortunate enough to have this be my third time seeing them, and while it was weird seeing them on a stage, behind barriers, the energy in the music and the passion in the performance was undeniable. The set list:

"Walking is Still Honest"

"Cliche Guevera"

"Pints of Guiness..."

"Those Anarcho Punks..."

"Sink, Florida, Sink"

"Mutiny on the Electronic Bay"

"The Disco Before the Breakdown"

"Rice and Bread"

"Re-inventing Axl Rose"

"Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists"

Might've messed up the order a bit, but yeah. Against Me! is a band you need to see; their songs need to be heard, and their words need to be spoken. I have to say in all the shows I've been to, this was the first where the crowd demanded an encore of one of the openers; unfortunately, they could not comply.

Rise Against was next. This is a band that was built up to a great degree before I had a chance to witness them live, and for the most part they lived up to those expectations. Anthemic melodic hardcore in the vein of maybe an edgier early Dag Nasty. The crowd really got into it; there were circle pits aplenty and raised fists during every song. A good band to check out if you are into old school hardcore punk.

Next, the band a lot of people love to hate, Anti-Flag. I've never been a huge fan of their rhetorical style of delivery, or their fans, but I must admit, they put on a decent live show. Lots of energy, and the crowd sang along to every word. And for as much shit as gets talked about Anti-Flag crowds, not one fight was started, and not one kid was hurt in the pit.

I had trepidations before going to this show, mostly about the crowd. And to some extent, they were true. I hear Anti-Flag normally asks noone to smoke; they didn't have to at this show, because of the approxamately 7 people over 18, I don't think one of us were smokers. And it is definitely an adjustment seeing punk behind barriers. The music, however, is more than worth the price of admission.

The Vacancy - 4
None More Black - 7
Against Me! - 10
Rise Against - 7
Anti-Flag - 6