The Homeless Gospel Choir kicked things off at Rescue Rooms the night of Anti-Flag’s packed bill. He has a way with the crowd, immediately managing to get everybody on side with his open, relatable lyrics about a myriad of issues. Read our interview with him here.
Up next were Australia’s Trophy Eyes who performed a riveting set of vehement melodic hardcore for their first ever show in Nottingham. John Floreani’s voice is coarse and harsh, creating the perfect sound for their angry, sad punk. The band played a mix of songs from their debut release, Mend Move On, and their first EP, Everything Goes Away. The crowd was sparse for their set and this, mixed with the big room, seems to hold them back from giving it their all.
After Trophy Eyes, Red City Radio emerged onto the stage. The Oklahoma natives play an uplifting and spirited set. Their songs filled the whole of Rescue Rooms with an elated atmosphere, leaving everyone nodding and clapping along. They played a handful of songs from their most recent self-titled album to a warm reception, while older songs such as “Two for Flinching” and “Show Me on the Doll Where the Music Touched You” got a fair few fans singing along. Their joyful punk rock set the right tone for Anti-Flag to proceed onto the stage.
Finally, Anti-Flag arrive on stage and quickly launched into their congested setlist. Anti-Flag do everything and more you would expect from the maturing punk band. Having been around for over 20 years, they perform with an intense energy and charisma. They play a few songs from their most recent album, American Spring, but mainly play their earlier songs. One of the main elements of their performance that sticks out is their ability to enforce a sense of community and expressing the view that no matter who you are, punk is a place for everyone.
Three quarters of the way through the set, Anti-Flag talked about an anti-refugee protest that took place in Nottingham the night before. The band were present at the counter-demo and also encouraged everyone in the queue for their acoustic performance in-store Dr Martens to come down too. It is creditable to see that Anti Flag still pursue and engage in issues that are relevant today and that their messages aren’t just for show.
Towards the end of the set, bassist, Chris #2, came down into the crowd to play the last few songs, including a rousing “Drink, Drank, Punk” which certainly satisfied the eager Anti-Flag fans around him.
Overall, the band play a packed set with old and new songs. Despite being around for a long time, the band never seem disinterested and continue to play like their music like it means a great deal to them and the people around them.