Anti-Flag Storms Our Nation’s Capitol
On Saturday Feb 10, 2018 Pittsburgh based punkers Anti-Flag rolled into Washington D.C. to play before a near capacity crowd at the iconic U-Street Music Hall. Also on tonight’s ticket, Stray From The Path, White Noise and Sharptooth. The punk music scene is a funny place, populated by bands who may look the part but lack in the content department, and those who get it right. For me, getting it right means having purpose, delivering a relative message, and inspiring people to action through that message. To the uninitiated punk rockers can be a bit intimidating, you know, the circle pit thing, people smashing into each other, that kind of thing. But unknown to most is that the punk community is highly sensitive to social, political and racial issues, and is welcoming to all who embrace equality and acceptance.
When Anti-Flag announced this tour I considered locations and thought, where else would be a better place to see a Politically charged punk show that in the shadows of the White House, I was right! Anti-Flag is a veteran punk band from Pittsburgh P.A. originally formed in 1988 with current members Justin Sane on guitar and vocals, Chris Head on guitar and vocals, Chris Barker (No.2) on bass and vocals and Pat Thetic on drums. On this night in DC staff member / tech Steve LaRussa filled in for Pat Thetic on drums due to a family emergency.
Anti-Flag’s outrage over our broken political and social system is reflected in their latest album "American Fall" which dropped this past November via Spinefarm records.
Being the headliner Anti-Flag was last on the stage this night and was welcomed by a crowd still fired up from Stray From The Paths set. Without question the punk sprit dominated tonight with AF delivering a chaotic set of hard driving, politically charged music for the sweat-drenched crowd. AF set included a mix of old and new including "Aerican Attraction," "All of The Poison," "When The Wall Falls" and included a blistering version of "Turncoat" that had the crowd in a total frenzy. All in all the U Street Music Hall was a great venue for this show; dark, gritty and right down the street from the White House. Tonight the punk community came out for a night of protest and music with Anti-Flag, whom in my opinion does it right!
STRAY FROM THE PATH
Stray From The Path provided support for Anti-Flag and is a Sumerian Record recording artist from Long Island NY. SFTP has been in the game since 2001 and are touring in support of their latest work "Only Death is Real" which dropped this past September. Current roster includes Andrew Dijorio on vocals, Tom Williams on guitar and vocals, Tony Neck on bass and vocals and Craig Reynolds on drums. SFTP is a metalcore band that has an early Rage Against the Machine sound that was unmistakable, and like the other bands on tonight’s ticket delivered a powerful political message. At one point during the show front man Andy expressed his outrage that a racists, fascist, sexist lives down the fucking street in the White House! I had never seen SFTP before, so had no idea what to expect. Tom Willliams shredded the guitar with power chords and high intensity riffs while Craig Reynolds delivered the beats on the drums. It didn’t take long to figure out that a good amount of people were there to see them, evident by the crowd surfing and stage diving that kept me pinned down to one location for the entire set.
THE WHITE NOISE
Getting things started tonight were two bands, The White Noise and Sharptooth. The White Noise is a punk band from Dallas Texas whose been in the game since 2009 and is a Fearless Records recording artist whose latest "The Best Songs Are Dead" dropped in 2017.
Sharptooth is a hardcore band from Baltimore MD, their latest "Clever Girl" dropped via Pure Noise Records this past October.
White noise and Sharptooth were a great addition to this ticket, sharing the same political and social views as the other bands, and were just incredibly tight musical units.
LOVE HOPE STRENGTH
Also, in attendance at tonight’s gig was the crew from Love Hope Strength. LHS is a charitable organization dedicated to helping cancer patients find matching bone marrow donors. Over the last few years LHS National Tour Director Rob Rover Rushing has been a fixture at musical events across the country where his staff work diligently recruiting volunteers to "Get On The List." The process is really simple, a cheek swab for DNA matching purposes, and a short form to fill out, that's it! To date LHS has matched over 1500 cancer patients with donors, making a real difference in the lives of those affected by this awful disease. Look for Rob and the LHS gang at this spring’s run of Flogging Molly shows and "Get On The List." For more info on LHS, including how to volunteer your time visit the foundation website at www.lovehopestrength.org.
In closing, this was a great night of politically charged punk and hardcore music delivered in your face style. Thanks to the staff at the U Street Music Hall for being total professionals as well as Anti-Flag, Stray From The Path, White Noise and Sharptooth for the night of protest and great music !
Coverage by Patrick Gilrane
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