"This is our first time playing here, it’s a legendary spot that you have in your city," Chris No. 2 told the crowd near the end of Anti-Flag's set on Thursday night (12/8) at Brooklyn's Saint Vitus Bar, an intimate stop in the midst of their fall tour. Vitus has become a destination for tons of punk and metal bands who normally headline much bigger rooms, and it's always a treat to see a larger-than-life band get back to their roots and tear it up inside those all-black walls. Anti-Flag were no exception. The deeply political punk band walked out to Edwin Starr's "War," and throughout their set, they passionately lambasted Putin's war in Ukraine, fascism, racism, sexism, homophobia, corrupt capitalism, police brutality, and other forms of oppression and bigotry. Like every Anti-Flag show I've ever seen, it felt as much like a protest rally as it felt like a great punk rock show, and that Anti-Flag have been doing this for over 25 years without losing an ounce of their fervor is no small feat.

It's not just that Anti-Flag are still a next-level live band, it's not just their undying spirit, it's also that their new and recent songwriting has been as good or even better than the classics. As thrilling as it was to hear "Die for the Government," "Angry, Young and Poor," "Turncoat," "The Press Corpse," and "This Is The End (For You My Friend)" played with the same urgency as they were 15-20-25 years ago, some of the biggest highlights of the set were songs they released in the last decade. "Broken Bones," "American Attraction," "Hate Conquers All," "The Disease," and even some of the brand new singles from their upcoming album Lies They Tell Our Children were among the biggest crowdpleasers of the night. (Also crowdpleasing: a medley of The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go," Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen," Black Flag's "Rise Above," Rancid's "Fall Back Down," Green Day's "She," and Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop.") Longevity and aging gracefully are not always easy to find in punk; Anti-Flag are the embodiment of both.

Making this show even better was an opening set from NJ's Teenage Halloween, whose self-titled debut album on Don Giovanni was one of our favorite albums of 2020. They played tons of standout tracks from that album, material from this year's split with The Homeless Gospel Choir, and two not-yet-released songs from their upcoming sophomore album, which they said is coming in 2023. Teenage Halloween have been doing a lot of touring this year, and you can tell -- all four members of the band were locked in with each other and as tight as can be, and they bulldozed through their set, often going from one song to the next without pause. They were also a great fit for Anti-Flag; an exciting, newer, catchy punk band who share traits with the headliners but are clearly coming at this genre with their own fresh new perspective. The room was already pretty full when they were on, and just by looking around, it seemed like they had no trouble winning people over.

Stay tuned for more on that new Teenage Halloween album, and pick up their debut on electric smoke vinyl. Anti-Flag's new LP Lies They Tell Our Children is out January 6, and you can pre-order it on black or white vinyl. They're touring with Flogging Molly and Skinny Lister in 2023, including New Jersey and Long Island shows.

Anti-Flag @ Saint Vitus - 12/8/22 Setlist
THE FIGHT OF OUR LIVES
The Press Corpse
Die for the Government
Hate Conquers All
I'd Tell You But...
Angry, Young and Poor
Drink Drank Punk
Turncoat
The Disease
Fuck Police Brutality
Broken Bones
1 Trillion Dollar$
LAUGH. CRY. SMILE. DIE.
This Machine Kills Fascists
Clash/Sex Pistols/Black Flag/Rancid/Green Day/Ramones Medley
This Is the End (For You My Friend)
American Attraction
Brandenburg Gate

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