Anti-Flag have always had a very energetic set that connects and involves the audience, and in some cases they become a part of the audience by leaving the stage to carry on at the same rapid pace, which is no mean feat. This album, aptly titled ‘Live Vol. 1’, tries to encompass the whole Anti-Flag experience that you come up against live.
We’re encouraged to have a “good goddamn time” before smashing into ‘The Press Corpse’, where a relentless pursuit of the end of the song sends lyrics hurling out the speakers towards you like a hail of bullets. This is a sound that ignites bodies to clamber to the front of the stage, climbing over each others’ sweaty backs with the release of sheer adrenaline. There’s very little let up in the pace of the album throughout, with the band definitely not going through the motions here.
We’re straight into ‘Fabled World’ for track two. A little less frantic but no less powerful in its supply of guitar solos and short sharp riffs over a pounding beat, it’s held together with a hooked in chorus that gets you singing along.
We shift down a gear to a more pop punk feel with ‘Born To Die’, which has that early Green Day guitar attached to a higher pitched vocal, short sharp and not really what you would say was a typical Anti-Flag track. Then we’re instantly pushed back to familiar territory with the next few tracks coming thick and fast, all with a throat splitting vocal that would destroy the average singer for a month.
‘Brandenburg Gates’ stands as the band’s finest hour on this record. Well, finest 4 minutes and 41 seconds. They’re joined by a homeless choir on stage, and, although it’s not that evident on the album, there’s plenty of crowd participation here drawing the song to a close with a large cheer.
Very few live albums capture the atmosphere and energy from the gig. They’re often patchy and put together like a sound jigsaw puzzle that’s sometimes more detrimental to bands than an advert for them. This album has moments where they do pull it off, but very few; the power and energy the band create is at times distorted to an extent that you wouldn’t think it’s from an established band like Anti-Flag.
The highlights on ‘Live Vol. 1’ could probably fit on an EP, which would sound great. But, don’t judge Anti-Flag on a whole live album, go and see them then in the flesh. You won’t be disappointed with the finished article.
Written by Kami Provan