Anti-Flag first made their way to Malaysian shores back in 2012 and fulfilled the life-long dream of many punk rock fans in the nation. All thanks to Kotak Hitam, we Anti-Flag fans were blessed with another chance to experience the insanity all over again. The show started as early as 3pm and it took place at KL Venue, formerly known as Alt-HQ, which is located in Fahrenheit 88 mall right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. The venue was a tad bit hard to locate for anyone unfamiliar with it but all you had to do was follow the teenagers with studded leather jackets and mohawk hairstyles and you will know exactly where it is. Walking up to the venue which is at about three floors high, it definitely felt like we were making our way into some sort of underground venue but as soon as I entered I was astonished at how clean and spacious the venue was. The merchandise and ticket counter were easily accessible and it is definitely a great venue for gigs!
The opening acts for the day were Naratu, Second Combat, Weotskam and Shh…Diam! Naratu kicked off the show with their infamous metalcore numbers and they have one of the biggest local hardcore fan base which can be clearly seen during all their shows. The band ended their set with the fan favourite, “Pukimak”. Soon after, Second Combat took the stage. Second Combat has been a band for a total of 19 years now and they are still going strong. Our local hardcore heroes have never disappointed anyone with their energetic performance. The third band to the stage was Weotskam hailing from Penang. They definitely cracked everyone up during their set giving us a little taste of good ol’ Blink-182 as the bassist and vocalist traded jokes on stage. Despite the comedy, the band played some very aggressive punk rock tunes which got everyone moshing. Last but not least, the final opening act took the stage and it was none other than was Shh…Diam! One of the most significant entities about the band was that out of the four members, three of them are girls except the vocalist and they sounded very ska punk which got everyone dancing on their feet. Even Chris #2 of Anti-Flag himself came out taking a video of the band performing. Overall, the opening acts definitely pumped the crowd for the main performance of the day.
As the last opening act ended their set, the teenagers with leather jackets and mohawk haircuts whom were hanging out downstairs started rushing into the venue. Up on stage, we could see Anti-Flag members, Chris Head, the guitarist and Chris #2, the bassist setting up their own equipment for the show. As soon as Justin Sane, the vocalist got up on stage, the crowd went nuts and started screaming for him. The band was then joined by the drummer, Pat Thetic and without delay, they kicked off the show with one of the crowd favourites, “Turncoat”. A circle pit was formed and it made all the fans jumped right into it and chaos followed. The band then continued the set with “Fabled World”, one of the singles off their latest album, American Spring. The song was slightly softer than their usual tracks but nevertheless, fans were singing along to the chorus like there’s no tomorrow. Chris#2 then proceeded to talk about the Ferguson incident in the United States and without any second guesses, the hardcore fans knew exactly what they were going to play next, the old school number, “F*ck Police Brutality”. The intensity of the crowd in the pit doubled.
The band then played “Sky Is Falling” from American Spring followed by “Broken Bones”. Not even halfway through the set, fans could be seen leaving the room to gasp for air as the venue grew warm from all the powerful acts showcased not only by the band, but also by the attendees. There was never a song that lacked at least two members of the crowd crowd-surfing; it was evident that each and every one who were there came to rock. All that heat never stopped Anti-Flag from performing at their very best. As soon as they kicked off “The Press Corpse”, the fans rushed back into the venue and headed back to the barricade to scream along to Justin Sane and the insanity continued as Anti-Flag resumed their great set with “1 Trillion Dollar$**”, “All of the Poison, All Of The Pain”, and “This Machine Kills Fascists”.
When Justin announced the next song will be their last, disappointment was all that the crowd could feel and it showed. The band then played “This Is The End (For You My Friend)” and continued to credit The Clash for their existence and proceeded with a cover of “Should I Stay or Should I Go”. During the intermission, many attendees were seen rehydrating and getting ready to cause more chaos for the last few songs Anti-Flag were about to play as encores. As soon as the beating of the drums were heard, the “refuelled” fans ran back into the venue and everyone was ready to give their all. The band kicked off the encore with “Brandenburg Gate” and the last song was the one everyone had been waiting for, “You’ve Gotta Die for The Government”. The crowd screamed along to the words so loud that we could barely hear Justin and Chris #2’s voices. Towards the end of the track, Pat moved his drum kit to the floor and started playing amongst the crowd. Chris #2 then joined him and the fans could not help themselves but to form a tiny circle surrounding them.
At the end of the show, we were told that it was a sold-out show and the room was filled with at least 400 fans. As the old famous saying goes, “Punk Is Not Dead”, it certainly isn’t in this case. If you were there to see the crowd go crazy over a left-wing and anarchist punk rock band hailing from Pennsylvania and if you are a fan of the genre yourself, you will be as pleased as I am to see the underground punk rock scene staying as alive as it is right now.