Alexisonfire, Big D and the Kids Table, Set Your Goals

Philadelphia, Penn. • March 9, 2007

South Street was bustling with more activity than normal; Anti-Flag was in town, and their show at the Theatre of the Living Arts (TLA) was completely sold out. People rushed in as others waited for late friends. Still a few walked up and down the street, pleading with people (some of whom weren’t even attending the show) for tickets.

Once inside, the place was packed. I stood there, somewhat shocked — I can’t even tell you the last show I saw there that was completely sold out. I weaved through the kids who were chattering with excitement about the upcoming event and made my way upfront.

First up was San Francisco punk-rockers Set Your Goals. I had absolutely no idea who they are, but the crowd sure did. With a crowded stage (six people and all the equipment), the band still put on a great live set, getting the kids jumping. After a half-hour of playing, I was kind of disappointed to see their set end; however, some of the audience members adorning Anti-Flag clothing were not.

Big D and the Kids’ Table were up next. I’d had heard their music before, but nothing had stood out. But tonight I realized Big D is a band that needs to be experienced live. The crowd seemed a bit calmer, yet people were still skanking in the middle of the floor.

Alexisonfire’s set was up next. As the band was setting up, the crowd had pushed toward the front a bit more. The kids around me were asking a question I’ve heard before: “Is it ‘Alexis on fire’ or ‘Alex is on fire’?” Yet once the band took the stage, the questions were dropped and the rocking-out commenced. One thing I found funny with the band was that people have a love/hate relationship with them — every time this band has been mentioned to me in the past, it’s one extreme or the other. So when some guy from the bar waited for a break in between songs to shout something about the band sucking, I rolled my eyes. Why must people ruin a good time for others? However, Alexis’ front man took it in stride. He grinned and gestured to the guy and mentioned something about buying him a fuzzy navel. The guy shut up and the music continued. The band gave one of the best performances I’ve seen in a while.

Finally … Anti-Flag, what fans flocked out in the cold weather for. I’d wanted to see their set for a while now, having heard so many great things about their live show. The crowd pushed as far up to the front to get a closer look at the quartet. If you haven’t seen the band, I highly encourage you to. Their live show was bursting at the seams with some of the most amazing guitar riffs. I admit it — I was completely in awe … and I wasn’t the only one.

In between songs, the band talked against the war; it takes me back a couple years ago, when bands that were considered punk did this … now, do bands even do that anymore?

As the show ended, kids left a bit sweaty, clutching band merchandise. As I passed the merch tables and walked out the venue, I knew I could say without a doubt that Anti-Flag lived up to the hype, then surpassed it.

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