Old skool punks Anti-Flag play PDX

Meow Meow
527 S.E. Pine St.
(503) 230-2111
All ages

Anti-Flag will be teaching a crash course in political science Sunday at Meow Meow. Tuition is only a 10 spot and all ages are welcome in this alcohol and smoke-free venue.

This old skool punk band has been playing steadily for the last five years. The current lineup is Justin Sane (Vocals/Guitar), Pat Thetic (Drums/Percussion), Chris Head (guitar/vocals) and Chris #2 (bass/vocals).

These four guys from Pennsylvania have a new disk, Underground Network. It’s incredible. If you have the slightest appreciation of punk rock, I definitely recommend it. The lyrics are intelligent and thought provoking. The music simply kicks ass. The fabulous lyrics, vocals, guitars, bass and drums are cake though, on top of the passionate political messages delivered with them. It hasn’t been out of my CD player since I received it.

Portlanders who grew up on the sounds of D.O.A., Black Flag, Dead Kennedys and The Clash and felt more comfortable at the X-ray than at home, will no doubt like this disk as well. Sadly, many young listeners, catatonic from the sounds of pop, think Green Day and the Offspring are the fathers of punk. Nevertheless, a knowledge of the old stuff isn’t a prerequisite for this class. These poor misled youth can be redeemed and learn about the world according to Sane and Thetic.

Founded partially as a response to the environment around them, Sane, Thetic and former member Andy Flag wanted to have a band that would not merely mimic the punk scene but that would be a force of change and a political voice. Anti-Flag targeted government, organized religion and fascism. Sane uses his clear powerful voice to cry out against disillusionment and disestablishmentarianism.

The album includes “This Machine Kills Fascists” dedicated to Woody Guthrie and his struggle, “Vieques, Puerto Rico: Bikini Revisited” written in response to the U.S. Navy bombing and occupation in that area, and “A Start,” Sane’s take on “The Manufacture of Consent” by Noam Chomsky.

“The Panama Deception” was inspired by the teachings of Howard Zinn. Zinn is the author of “A People’s History of the United States: 1492-the Present,” “Zinn’s Magnum Opus,” “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times” and “The Zinn Reader: Writings on Disobedience & Democracy.”

My favorite off the disk however, would have to be the song “Stars and Stripes.” Like the others songs, “Stars and Stripes” achieves its political agenda by making references to the 19th century Native American situation and the U.S. involvement in Columbia and other parts of Latin America. Not only does it have the bit of didactic drama to it but the song also has a great hook. I haven’t had a line stuck this tight in my head since the opening line of Ministry’s “Haloween” got lodged inside.

If you still aren’t sure if you want to try Anti-Flag, or if you are so excited you just can’t wait until Sunday after this preview, go to the official Anti-Flag Web site (http://www.anti-flag.com). They have several Mp3 samples available including another song on this album, “Angry, Young and Poor.”