All photos copyright of Imelda Michalczyk
Anti-Flag made it their mission to evoke the spirit of Joe Strummer during their latest visit to London. Playing a free gig consisting entirely of songs by The Clash, the band packed out the tiny Eastpak store on Carnaby Street in the West End.
Activist US punks Anti-Flag playing in a mainstream clothes/bags shop? Yes. It does sound a little strange, but then the band are currently making the rounds across Europe on the Eastpak sponsored Anti-dote Tour, with co-headliners Alexisonfire and support from Four Year Strong and the UK’s very own Ghost Of A Thousand. So there’s logic to the location.
Frontman Justin Sane acknowledged the slightly surprising link up but explained that they are also using the tour to bring attention to, as well as make donations to, their chosen charity Emmaus. He adds that part of the reason they picked Emmaus, which offers work and shelter to the homeless, is because it’s an organisation that exists across many different countries, making it relevant to promote it throughout the tour.
The band steamed through a setlist starting, appropriately, with ‘London Calling’, working through classics including ‘I Fought The Law’ and ‘White Riot’ and ending with ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’. The band joked that when they’re not entirely certain about doing something they call on their friends to help out, and promptly brought on Alexisonfire singer George Pettit for added shout factor on two tracks.
With two walls of the shop made up of glass, the pavement outside filled up with fans who didn’t start queuing early enough to get in, but were still able to see the band clearly, along with random passers-by who stopped to find out what all the racket was about.
Not much of a publicity move to promote the latest album (’The people or the gun’) but instead a genuinely intended homage to their heroes.