Anti-Flag: The Institute Basement, Birmingham (Live Review)

Gigs are pretty much a guaranteed great night out. You let loose, enjoy some tunes, maybe have a drink and a dance- generally a good time is had. But every once in a while there’s a gig that’s more than a good time. An event that effects you- touches you. Anti-Flag at the Institute in Birmingham on Wednesday night was one of these gigs for me.

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The show was opened by The Homeless Gospel Choir- one lovely man with his acoustic guitar singing protest songs about the world and the struggles in his life. Standing in the crowd rather than on the stage his performance was conflictingly both heart-tugging and hilarious. I’d dare to say that everyone in the room was made a fan, and I look forward to seeing more from this lovely man in the future.

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Second up were Trophy Eyes, a wonderful juxtapose to the other bands on the bill these guys came boasting youth and energy. They fit perfectly within the line-up though, as they feature the guts of Anti-Flag, the passion of Red City Radio and then they add some spunk to the pot. Jumping all over the stage and seemingly having the time of their lives- this stage was where they were supposed to be, and with the current wave of Australian rock hitting the UK I think these guys might glide with that straight to the top.

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Red City Radio could (or should) be playing venues like this on their own headline tour. Although I’m not sure they’d want to- they’re the kind of band that seem to relish the small sweaty clubs where the audience are in their faces! But they rocked the basement. RCR always have this crazy passion- carried by the bluesy edge to their punk stylings in their performances. They made it their show, they’re amazing and the tunes hit me right in the heart.

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Some bands have an agenda- a reason they’re a band, a message they want to convey. And often that can seem fake, a tactic, a method of getting attention- but with Anti-Flag? They mean Every Fucking Word. Every word they say, every lyric they sing, every note they play. They mean it. And because of that you feel it. To me, they are the antithesis of Punk- what’s the use of making music if it’s not About something? Something real. Anti-Flag are real, and they’re magnificent.

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If my life was an Anti-Flag show I’d be happy. If you were there I figure you felt the same way- because how could you not. If you weren’t there? Go now- go see these guys before they’re not there any more, they might just change you for the better- they have me.

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