ANTI FLAG / BRAWLERS / THE TWIN DRACULA at the Sub89 Bowery District, Reading

ANTI FLAG / BRAWLERS / THE TWIN DRACULA Friday 7th August at the Bowery District, Reading Sub89

I’ve barely finished work but I’m already in the Bowery District in Reading for Anti Flag because this is one of those 10pm finish gigs. For me, the crowd and maybe for tonights openers The Twin Dracula it all feels a little bit too early. They’re not holding back though. TTD kick ass big time creating a ferocious sound full of hooks, screaming vocals interspersed with catchy choruses. If you’ve not caught them live yet do yourself a favour – I’ve yet to meet a disappointed customer. Closing with ‘Nom De Plume’ followed by ‘Newton Jazz Revival’ they exit the stage too early for my liking.

The Twin Dracula

The Twin Dracula

Brawlers arrive and have come all the way from Leeds for this support slot. They appear to be in no hurry though and go on at length about bag roasted chicken, van seating arrangements and riders. Some of its entertaining but its when they’re playing their songs they’re most engaging. A mixture of pop and punk they like to get out amongst the crowd. In fact at one point while the band plays on the singer nips over to a photo booth inside the venue and gets his picture taken with several groups of the crowd all inside a minute. He also nicks my camera for a while and takes it for a walk while the play ‘Two Minutes‘. Good fun but not totally my kind of band to be honest.

Brawlers

Brawlers

Brawlers

Brawlers photo booth action

The same can be said of Anti Flag. I saw them years ago with Conflict and they didn’t quite work for me. Lots of anti authoritarian rhetoric but they seemed to lack that direct political approach that makes it seem like genuine revolutionary intent. Tonight the same problems remain. It just feels a bit forced. I think I should still invest some more time in them though to see how committed they really are. Die For Your Government is still the set highlight twenty years on. A cover of the Clash standard ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go’ loses the power of the original by going slightly too fast and most of the songs, while enjoyable and committed seem a little bit “we’re all one happy punk family”. It’s entertaining but predictable – when the drummer takes his kit out into the crowd for the encore the apparent spontanaity seems a bit forced when you find out the same thing ¬†happened at the gig before and the gig after. Still better than staying in to watch TV though – and TTD are always worth seeing so all in all a decent¬†Friday night all things considered!

Anti Flag

Anti Flag

Anti Flag

Anti Flag

Anti Flag

Anti Flag playing in amongst the crowd.

 

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