Gig Scene: Pennywise, Anti Flag – 170 Russell St, September 29th 2015

Photo by Mary Boukouvalas. Click to see the full gallery.
Photo by Mary Boukouvalas. Click to see the full gallery.

We can correctly assume that there were many events that took place in 1988, not least of which was the formation of two awesome bands, Anti Flag and Pennywise. Both entities hail from the U.S.A. and can be described as punk bands, though purists will probably smack down this description of their music. Pennywise has been the more prolific of the two in terms of the number of studio albums recorded, but both have paid attention to the big happenings of the times and have responded in a considered, surprisingly hopeful (for punk at least), way.

It’s not surprising then that we find these two bands on the same bill in Australia. Anti Flag are supporting Pennywise in Pennywise’s 20th anniversary tour of the album About Time.

Pittsburgh’s Anti Flag have their own reason to celebrate with this year’s release American Spring, but as the support band they had to be content with a shorter set than Pennywise. Still, Anti Flag managed to rock it, with a very solid and inspiring performance. Justin Sane (vocals, guitar) complained of a sore throat but managed to cover his less than perfect health a mosh inspiring cover of ‘Should I Stay or Should I go’. Chris ‘No 2. ‘ Barker (vocals, bass), Chris Head (guitar), and Pat Thetic (drums) played a tight, loud and fast set; a highlight of which was ‘Brandenburg Gate’ that saw several crowd surfers looking like they were attempting to defect to the back of the room.

Photo by Mary Boukouvalas. Click to see the full gallery.
Photo by Mary Boukouvalas. Click to see the full gallery.

A quick turnaround saw Pennywise take the stage while the crowd was still pumping. They began their set by playing About Time in full, then choosing one or two songs from each album going way back to their self-titled Pennywise album.

It was brilliant to see Jim Lindberg back at the helm, as punters sometimes feel as though they haven’t seen the ‘real’ band if the lead vocalist is different. Fletcher Dragge (guitar), Byron McMackin (drums) and Randy Bradbury (bass) gave us the full Pennywise experience. Even those who aren’t particularly patriotic felt a flood of nostalgia when they covered Mean At Work’s ‘Down Under’. The punters experienced ecstatic conniptions as each iconic tune sprung from the artistic fingers of these punk legends.

Maybe it’s sad to say that what these dudes sang about in the 80’s and 90’s is still relevant in today’s political climate, but it’s certainly not sad when you think that Anti Flag and Pennywise are still around to voice their distaste for the corrupt, the ethos of war and certainly against violent extremism. Long live the voices of unity.

See Mary’s gallery of the show.

About Sharon Brookes 66 Articles
Sharon is a freelance music journalist with 20 years experience writing for street press, web publications and blogs. She specialises in reviewing gigs, books, CD’s, and theatre productions.

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