Anti Flag + Cancer Bats @The Asylum, 30th November 2018

Tonight we are treated to two punk rock legends. Cancer Bats taking the hardcore route and Anti Flag taking the more political stance.

Cancer Bats entered the stage in traditional manner; lead singer Liam running around the stage in dim lighting and getting the crowd going by beckoning them wherever possible. Their opener in ‘Gatekeeper’ was awash with some nasty hardcore riffs reminiscent of Every Time I Die, stylish guitar vibrato and aggressive yet controlled drumming.

Liam took time out of his hectic routine to thank the fans for attending the gig and encouraging everyone to go crazy. 

‘R.A.T.S’  was another banger in their arsenal played to the many loyal punk followers, who were attending tonight. The song follows suit with lyrics revolving around betrayal by people close to you and how they’re everywhere in life. ‘Winterpeg’ seems to be written about the punk subculture in general, defending it’s values and stating that ‘in ourselves we trust’ rather than relying on acceptance from the mainstream.

Other notable tracks included ‘Road Sick’, their Beastie Boy’s cover of ‘Sabotage’ and their ending song ‘Bricks and Mortar’. Overall it was a great set from a band who have established themselves as punk/hardcore veterans and a band that never disappoints in a live setting.

Anti Flag took to the stage with flamboyant bassist Chris Barker shouting out the words to ‘Die For the Government’, a song which starts very raw, until Justin Sane’s guitar kicks in and it become a gloriously rowdy, classic punk anthem. The band looked energetic and happy onstage with Justin leaning out and raising his fist to the crowd early on and Chris performing some acrobatic jumps.

‘Broken Bones’, another visceral punk anthem, comparisons can be made with Rise Against. Lyrically it describes social decay, ‘Broken bones and broken glass, Broken hearts and broken heads, Livin’ the life’ and is instantly a sing-a-long favourite with the crowd. ‘Racists’ a song with a clear message, ‘Just cause you don’t know you’re racist, you don’t get a free pass for you’re ignorance’, undermining people with racial prejudices with reference to the current presidential situation in the US. ‘Fuck Police Brutality’ followed suit, but did we expect anything less? They’re a band with a lot to say and they put their message across with conviction and finesse. 

‘One Trillion Dollars’ describes the money involved in war and how it’s wasted on supplying the US army with bullets and guns. Moreover it’s more of an attack on the high capitalist system of the world rather than an anti-war song; undermining the symbol of the dollar itself and tarnishing it with the deaths in it’s wake. 

Other notable tracks included a cover of The Cranberries’ ‘Salvation’ in which Lauren from The Worriers joined them onstage. It was performed with the velocity and energy you expect when Anti Flag perform; a good way to end.

It’s been a great night of punk with two bands who attack it from different angles.

Reviewer and Photographer: Neale Hayes

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