Anti-Flag/Strike Anywhere/The Flatliners @ Amplifier, Perth, 24/05/12

Everybody who was not at Amplifier on Thursday night missed out… big time. It is not often that quality international punk acts visit the isolated city of Perth, but, a lazy thursday night no less, saw not one, but three of the biggest international punk acts shake Amplifiers walls. Perth’s punk community banded together to be part of a show that can only be described as ‘Epic’.

The majority of punters were so eager that they rocked up to the venue before the doors opened, which is a rare occurrence, especially for a 7:30 start. Lucky for local lads The Decline who kicked the night off to a full room. The bands name is a massive indicator for the kinds of bands they draw inspiration from. Their NOFX/Frenzal Rhomb-esq 90’s skate punk was a welcome warm up.

The Decline deliver serious messages in a humorous and fun way. Issues such as sexism, homophobia and organized religion are wrapped up in well written songs, that make you want to head bang and bounce along at the same time.
The set mainly featured songs from more recent release Are You Gonna Eat That? but some older favorites such as You Died Gaining Sixteen Experience Points still made an appearance. Showertime in the Slammer saw Local Resident Failures Kye ‘Kpax’ O’Sullivan jump up onstage and take over bass, surprising half of the band and ending their set on a high.

“Thank you for watching us play like shit and act like weirdos” Chimed The Flatliners vocalist Chris Cresswell. Don’t sell yourself short guys, the shitty sound was no fault of your own. Although it did not do them any favors. Cresswells vocals were inaudible but the performance was far from shit, bassist Jon Darbeys overenthusiastic facial expressions was entertainment in itself. 
The crowd were enjoying themselves, nodding their way through the set, but this was not good enough for Cresswell “You guys are either half asleep or too polite for your own good”. It unclear weather it was this comment, the fact that the biggest song to date ‘Eulogy’ was being played or the fact that the sound issues were beginning to subside, but whatever it was the crowd began to loosen up.

Strike Anywhere are a band that could be playing in someones back yard and still play with the enthusiasm and highly energetic performance that they constantly deliver. These guys truly love what they do and it comes across in their humble, appreciative attitude. And the fans reciprocate that love, the pit, for the first time tonight, actually looked as a mosh pit should, even Anti-Flags Justin Sane could be spotted rocking out to We Amplify/Blaze.

They tore through many favorites including To the World and I’m Your Opposite number but fans had only one song on their mind Sunset on 32nd street. They had been screaming for it the duration of the set, but when it came time to play it, technical difficulties once again reared its ugly head. Apparently this was not a issue for the fans who screamed through the entire first verse with Thomas Barnett A Cappella. “We’re going to play that song again for you” announced Barnett, much to the audiences delight. This time with instruments and a special appearance from Anti-Flags Chris #2. Now that is how you end a set with a bang!

This was Anti-Flag’s first club show in Perth since they cancelled back in 2009. It was not surprising when fans pent up energy was suddenly released. No one was safe from the absolute chaos that ensued, and it did not die down for the remainder of the night. The pit went into overdrive. Just when you had managed to push one crowd surfer along, you were already getting kicked in the head by another. The band may have just stepped off a plane and be jet lagged, but they certainly did not let it show, displaying as much energy as the fans moshing before them; Running, spinning and scissor kicking their way across the stage.

Although this tour was in support of the newly released The General Strike only three of these new songs made an appearance. This is a band who know what their fans want, playing an even mix of fan favorites spanning their entire career including Turncoat , Fuck Police Brutality , One Trillion Dollars and This is the end (for you my friend). Fans gave their lungs and vocal chords a workout screaming every lyric at the top of their voices back at the band.

Anti-Flag have been known to go on long political rants, but tonight it was kept to a minimum and they let their music do the talking, as it should be a live gigs. Although they did take a moment to promote some of the recent work of local refugee activists. A very topical subject at the moment.

Amplifier is not a big enough venue to start a circle pit, or so you would think. The crowd defied expectations and whipped up a frenzy that took up just about the whole room during Death of a Nation. The view must have been amazing for the man who had climbed the pole situated in the middle of the room. Chris #2 decided that the pit looked like so much fun that he dropped his bass and disappeared into the crowd while the rest of the band continued playing 911 for Peace

The band were forced to draw the night to close as they had run past curfew. It was announced that the band only had time for two more songs. With that they ended the night with The Press Corpse and Die for Your Government. Or did they? Evidently the band don’t take kindly to orders and decided that this was not enough. So they busted out Power to They Peaceful . Pat Thetic got a little over excited and relocated his drum kit to the middle of the room to get up close and personal with the fans.

If you were not there, then yes, you should be jealous.