Anti-Flag

support Nexø
author PP date 28/06/22 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

It's high season for music right now. Anti-Flag is competing tonight not just against Roskilde Festival, but also against Five Finger Death Punch at Royal Arena, Agnostic Front at Plan B (Malmö, but still nearby), and Jeff Beck at Amager Bio. Not exactly ideal circumstances, which explains why Lille Vega is barely third full tonight. Add to the fact that Anti-Flag reportedly arrives at the venue seemingly directly from the airport in two sets of minivan taxis, and you'd be forgiven to imagine this night would be a disaster in the making. Perseverance and unwavering belief in your message above all, is essentially what Anti-Flag is about, however, and as such, they end up delivering an awesome set that captures everyone's attention here at Vega tonight despite low attendance.

Nexø

Nexø

First up is Nexø, whose angry, pissed-off hardcore has been turning some heads in Denmark lately. Their set oozes passion as they tear through songs like "Ecstacy" and "Truthicide" in a tight fashion, creating an aggressive image that's counterbalanced by nice grooves and solid riffs. Vocalist Kristian Ejlebæk sports two microphones in front, one to support his distorted parts and the other his yelled bits, and often leans into them for maximum effect. Lyrically, their sociopolitical criticism is a perfect fit as a message for supporting Anti-Flag, so songs like "The Kids Are Not Alright" and "Anger" are very well received by the small, but dedicated turnout here tonight. The latter, as usual, is a highlight part of their set, given its natural buildup and coarsely aggressive finish, but throughout the set Nexø demonstrate a level of quality that underscores why they've recently started playing internationally as well. Quality hardcore punk with old-school vibes and no definitely without any additional bullshit.

Anti-Flag

Vega is only a quarter full when Anti-Flag launch into "Brandenburg Gate", a crowdpleaser type of hit with a huge anthemic chorus. But given the volume of the huge woo-hoo sing-along section, it feels like the venue is nearly full as the crowd appears packed with Anti-Flag loyalists who know the songs inside and out. No wonder then, that "The Press Corpse" opens up the pit right away while the band performs aggressive swirling jumps on stage, displaying a formidable amount of energy that directly rubs onto the crowd. Even the crowd control bits are baked directly into the songs: "Trouble Follows Me" has a big woo-hoo section that the band teaches mid-song to the crowd, and naturally the hall echoes from Woo ooh oh shouts moment after.

Anti-Flag

People are bouncing, circle pitting, and having a great time to "Hate Conquers All" and "This Is The End (For You My Friend)". Anti-Flag is playing their songs straight in Against Me!-style, having zero breaks so far to keep up the momentum. It's only broken up by a brief speech about how the rights of human beings are being reduced on a daily basis, and why it is important that we keep standing together as a punk rock scene. "We stand here with heavy hearts on this day as it was recently revealed that in the US, three people die every single day from police brutality", they say, which is apparently up from two from the previous measurement. It's a perfect setting for "Fuck Police Brutality" to take over the set and have everyone fist-pumping while screaming the "Fuck police, fuck police, fuck police brutality" back at the band.

Anti-Flag

The front rows are constantly bouncing and moving, displaying lots of passion in a mirror image of what's going on stage. So far, the setlist has been fantastic, and with "Turncoat" and "Broken Bones" the circle pit gets wild for such a small crowd. Here, Anti-Flag appoints a man wearing a black-and-white striped shirt to become the referee of the pit and instructs him to give warnings for anyone misbehaving and to pick people up in case they fall. It becomes a funny anecdote that runs through the show: "Referee! You know what to do!, and "Applauds everyone for the referee, this one is for you!", the band shouts at various parts of the show, which adds an extra cozy element to the ongoing chaos.

Anti-Flag

The setlist is extended today as the band gets told they have more time, so we get to hear a bunch of songs they don't usually play. "Christian Nationalist" is one I've been wanting to hear for a long time, but also songs like "The Disease" make it into the mix alongside old classics like "Drink Drank Punk", "Die For The Government", and of course the massively anthemic "Cities Burn" that sees the crowd sing the woo-hoo bits long after the band finishes and packs up their gear to leave the stage. It's been an awesome performance, which is only dragged down by the completely pointless idiot medley of "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" / "God Save The Queen" / "Rise Above" / "Fall Back Down" and more. Why not play two of your own songs from your massive back catalogue? I wish Anti-Flag would stop doing this and realize their own material is more than enough to cover several sets' worth of performances. Small minus rating from that, but otherwise the show has been a high-energy performance that also included a fuck you to the 'masters of war' in Putin and Biden, plenty more referee references, and great sing-alongs throughout.

Setlist:

  • 1. Brandenburg Gate
  • 2. The Press Corpse
  • 3. Trouble Follows Me
  • 4. Hate Conquers All
  • 5. This Is the End (For You My Friend)
  • 6. Fuck Police Brutality
  • 7. The Disease
  • 8. Turncoat
  • 9. Broken Bones
  • 10. 1 Trillion Dollar$
  • 11. Christian Nationalist
  • 12. Drink Drank Punk
  • 13. Die for the Government
  • 14. The Criminals
  • 15. The Smartest Bomb
  • 16. American Attraction
  • 17. Medley of Covers: Should I Stay or Should I Go / God Save the Queen / Rise Above / Fall Back Down / If the Kids Are United / She / Blitzkrieg Bop
  • 18. Cities Burn

Photos by: Lykke Nielsen

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