admin On ottobre - 27 - 2010


Anti-Flag - pic by Arianna Carotta

Vans Off the Wall

The Milan Tunnel Club is great for punk-rock gigs. It’s just one big room, under the railway, where everything is in full contact with the rest: the stage, the bar, the merchandise desk, the public, the bands. What could anyone desire instead of this?

As we enter the italian band, L’invasione degli omini verdi, is coming down from the stage. They have done their dirty job warming up the few people that has already arrived at the event. After a brief set-up of stage and instruments, it’s the Pulled Apart By Horses turn. Although they are young promises coming from the prolific english alternative rock scene who has opened concerts for Muse, Glassjaw, The Bronx and Biffy Clyro during the last summer, and the variety of these bands should testify their eclectic nature, almost nobody in the club seems to care too much about them.

That’s a shame because despite the cold audience they put together a great show, playing pretty much the whole debut album, named after the band. Pulled Apart By Horses sound good and look good either, showing no interest in the rock-star fashion. Honestly, without the tattoo covered drummer, the string trio looks like it has just arrived on the stage. Ten points for them! When they start to play though their skills emerge as also their confidence with the show. They know what to do and they do it well! At the beginning of their concert just a few people were following them, while the others were roaming around without giving too much attention to the amazing english band. By the end instead the audience was captured by their performance and I would not exclude that somebody has listened to their debut album when he arrived home.
After Pulled Apart By Horses it’s the Swellers turn. In my humble opinion, these american guys are nothing more than an onest and simple punk-rock band. The kids around me seem to really appreciate the music and the show that the Sewellers propose to them. For me everything coming from the speakers sounds as foregone and already listened, without that sparkle of originality that makes a band interesting and another one boring. Grown-up with Rancid, NOFX and Lagwagon in my ears (as well as many other great bands from the 90’s scene), the Swellers come as something already old before even starting to age record by record, as pretty much everyone does. They surely know ho to play their instruments and they handle very well the stage, but in a few months from now I don’t think I will remember a lot from their gig. Plus, as the friend who was accompanying me said, the lead singer Nick Deiner looks like the water polo team captain more than a punkrocker.
I’m sorry, maybe it’s me, but the Swellers didn’t impress me with their last record Up and Downsizing and they didn’t with their live neither. If you think that this is a rejection, well, it actually is.
Finally it’s up to Anti-Flag. It’s not even passed a half past ten and the headliners are ready to get on stage and rock the Tunnel Club. The atmosphere is getting warmer and warmer. Waiting for the
band, a choir rises from the public, who sings as one voice a rythmic “Berlusconi, vaffanculo!”. I’m not sure of understanding the logical step that led from evoking Anti-Flag to insulting Italy’s Prime Minister, but in the end it’s a punk-rock concert and if some politics get into it I think it’s just the right place, as the band will soon confirm. Going shortly back to what I was writing before about aging, I thought that the little golden age of Anti-Flag was already passed and that, remembering their great performance in the Taste of Chaos tour in 2006, I would have been someway disappointed. I couldn’t be more wrong. Even if their latest albums didn’t reached the quality of The Terror State, recorder in the far 2003, they haven’t lost a bit of their stage energy. Indeed they may have also gained experience in haranguing and thrilling the audience. Everyone seems to be here for them. The public accompany Justin Sane singing every song from the beginning to the end with mosh, jumps and hand-clapping. Even if the bad gossips say that their behaviour opposes their punk attitude, it’s nice to see someone sending a message from a stage and the people reaching it. Songs like Fuck Police Brutality, The Economy is Suffering, Let It Die and Power to the Peaceful hopefully still mean something to the listeners. This last song is the one that closed their concert, for which the attention passed from the bass player Chris #2 (the real entertainer of the band) to the drummer Pat Thetic, who transferred the whole drum set from the stage down within in the jubilant crowd. Well played, guys!

A final note goes to the Vans company that sponsored the concert. It’s a little bit depressing reading on the internet about the line-up of the Vans Warped Tour that crosses the United States during the summer, hosting a lot of the best bands around in the punk/hardcore scene, and then comparing it with the few names that reach our godforsaken (musically speaking) country.
Anyway we should be grateful for making these three bands play, and we are. Just a concern: why continue to throw Vans gadgets on the crowd making them crawl in search of a keyring instead of watching and enjoying the bands that are playing? Wasn’t the people here for the music?

by Giacomo Lanaro
photo-gallery of the event by Arianna Carotta, here:

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