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Issue 135 (23rd anniversary) Revu - ANTI FLAG, THE HOMELESS GOSPEL CHOIR, WAR ON WOMEN, ANTI THOUGHT
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Friday May 15, 2015 Fubar, St. Louis

Okay, so 2015 is nearing it's halfway point and things seem to be up in the air. Summer is kind of here, with schools out for summer (or damn close to letting out) and the days getting longer. I've been busy with the paying jobs after a long weekend on the road a couple of weeks back (see last issue for reviews from that time). Because of this I had to deal with work and finance issues for a while which meant I had things to take care for a bit but needed a break. I knew about this show for a while and had been wanting to see at least one of the bands for a while so I made arrangements. Eventually the day of the show arrived and I headed off to the paying job for a shortened shift before heading to St. Louis to take care of an interview and see this show.

Opening for the night was St. Louis' own Antithought. This quartet tore throguh some rough striaghtahead HC punk built on fast beats, buzzsaw guitar chords and scremeed vocals. While the band's penchant for short fast songs were in keeping with hardcore norms they unfortunately tended to have a sameness to them which ended up coming across as a bit generic. Maybe with time this band will evolve and make their own imprint on the genre but something here didn't click with me as I saw them play tonight. I want to reserve judgement until I get a chance to see them again but at this time Antithoght seems a little mroe derivative than the band probably should be at this point.

A very short time later War on Women came on stage and basically tore the place apart. From start to finisht eh band's blend of HC and melodic punk came across in an aural blend of dual guitar fury, aggressive rhythms and a stage presence that's almost explosive. Taking on subjects such of misogyny, rape, and injustice, the band's powerful songs went for the jugular and refused to let up. Add to this a vocalist whose stage moves call to mind a cross between Jello Biafra and Allison Wolfe (in the best way possible) and you have a set where the energy of the music is matched by the power of the band's performance. War on Women set their sonic phasers on kill and kept things moving throughout a set that some people thought could've been a little bit longer. I had been wanting to see War on Women play live for a while now and I was not disaapointed. This is one of those bands you must see if you get an opportunity to do so; not should see but must see. Trust me on this one.
I
was curious about The Homeless Gospel Choir due to the name alone but was wonderign what the set would be like. HGC is actually a singer-songwriter name Derek doing a solo set. Armed only with his acoustic guitar and some crowd interaction, he played heartfelt straightahead songs that commented on the hopes and concerns towards our society at large. Whether singing about intolerance or musical preferences, he managed to keep the crowd's attention in spite of some drumker than thou idiots (including one that was way too damn close to me for my comfort). Derek's set was a sonic change of pace from everything else on the bill but in spirit was right in the same mold as the other touring acts on the bill. The Homeless Gospel Choir was a surprise for me but one that got my interest and I'm interested in seeing them again.

Finally it was time for Anti Flag to come on stage and bring the night to a musical climax. Almost instantly they dover headfirst into some dual guitar crunched up melodic punk rock that called the problems of the world out and refused to be silent. Blending both old favorites with new album tracks (at the time it hadn't been released yet), they sung of class struggle, censorship, human rights, nationalism et al with anthemic choruses, angry verses, and a fairly aggressive sonic approach that walked the line between melodic hooks and pure rage. From newer songs such as "Turncoat" and "Brandenberg Gate" to old fan faves like "Die For the Government" the band tore through their set with a tightness that drove their points home and an energy that got eh crowd's energy and fueled the pit and intensity up front. Add to this the drummer mvoing his drums up front on the floor at the end and you have something here that's both entertainment and passionate call to arms. Anti Flag's anger and subject matter may not make them the type of band mainstream types would flock to - and they probably wouldn't have it any other way.

Then the show was wrapped up. I looked over some things at the mersh tables as well as the Amnesty International table (AF was bringing Amnesty with them on this tour). After taking to a few people I knew I would have to head on out. Unfortunately I would miss seeing War on Women the next night in Columbia due to work (and learning about it after my schedule was already in place) but this show was an interesting atmosphere to take in. I wonder how the rest of the summer will end up like.
- Boone


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