Instead of another Electric Factory stop, punk quartet Bouncing Souls opted for a two-night stint with Anti-Flag at their usual venue, the Troc, last weekend.
The two sold-out shows in Philly, in promotion of the BYO Records split CD featuring six songs by each band, ended their East Coast tour.
Pittsburgh political-punks Anti-Flag didn’t get too far into their 45-minute set on Sunday before the anti-violence preaching began.
“Here’s to everyone who wishes to use their minds, unlike our f**king puppet President,” said bassist Chris #2.
Vocalist/guitarist Justin Sane then posed the question, “Is everybody tired of the killings in Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan and the U.S. of f**king A,” which prompted chants of “F**k Bush!” from the eager crowd.
But the fans didn’t always agree with everything Anti-Flag had to say.
After pulling various songs from their five full-lengths, the band hit upon a touchy subject in Philly: Mumia Abu Jamal.
Sane was booed when he first introduced “Mumia’s Song,” off the 2002 album Mobilize, by saying he believed Jamal is a political prisoner framed by the Philadelphia Police.
Obviously feeling it necessary to clarify, Sane continued by saying what he meant was that he wants Jamal to “have a new trial to live up to his rights as an American,” to which many in the crowd seemed to agree and the song was finally played.
The highlight of their set was the ever-present animated expression on drummer Pat Thetic’s face, similar to the face a constipated clown might have made and definitely worth the price of admission.
Opposite of Anti-Flag, hometown-favorites (OK, so they’re from New Jersey) the Bouncing Souls possess a less talk, more rock quality that the crowd seemed to enjoy more.
They played old favorites like, “Lamar Vannoy,” “Hopeless Romantic,” “K8 is Great” and “These Are The Quotes From Our Favorite 80s Movies,” as well as a new song from their split CD, “Bryan’s Song,” in which bassist Bryan Kienlen sings lead.
“Thanks to everybody for coming out. If you were here last night, it’s nice to see you again,” said vocalist Greg Attonito, at about the same time fans in the front began punishing crowd surfers by stealing their shoes and throwing them on stage, a sight best seen from the vantage-point of the balcony.
Bouncing Souls ended their set with “Gone,” which Attonito dedicated to Kienlen and drummer Michael McDermott’s moms “who aren’t well.”
After a bit of chanting from the crowd, members from both Anti-Flag and Bouncing Souls came back onto the stage.
“Hey everybody! We’re the Bouncing Flags … the Anti-Souls,” said Bouncing Souls guitarist Pete Steinkopf, which brought enormous laughter and applause.
Together the bands played interesting versions of the Bouncing Souls’ “K8 is Great” and Anti-Flag’s “That’s Youth” to end the show.
Heather Duffy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org