LIVE: Anti Flag / Great Cynics / Gnarwolves @ Camden Electric Ballroom

By Tom Aylott

Anti Flag by Tom Aylott [more here]

London is a fine place to see a band or two, and tonight has all the making of lots and lots of fun. Down the road from the Electric Ballroom, Baby Godzilla are getting ready to jump around and break things, but this Camden venue hosts three punk bands of varying sub genre classifications.

The first up tonight is Gnarwolves, who carry on a fine tradition of improving every time we see them. They’re no strangers to the Electric Ballroom after a support slot with Lower Than Atlantis, but tonight sees new material and new fans matching up. Songs from ‘funemployed’ and the band’s previous two EPs all sound awesome, and they go down an absolute treat. If you haven’t checked them out yet blah blah blah we like Gnarwolves (you probably got that).

After them is another long standing Punktastic UK favourite in Great Cynics, and tonight is the largest stage they’ve ever played on according to frontman Giles Bidder. Though there’s a few jitters, they come across brilliantly and it shows that they really shouldn’t feel out of place on these stages. Cuts from new album ‘Like I Belong’ are sounding excellent live tonight as well, and hopefully we’ll be seeing the band on stages this big more and more often in coming years.

Both Great Cynics and Gnarwolves have a Reading/Leeds Lock Up stage appearance to wrestle with in the next few months, so this should be ample practice for the big stages, and it’s great to see two band that have emerged from the UK scene getting the support slots like these and stepping up to the mark. It’s something that should give a bit of hope to aspiring UK bands that they can get their music out there the right now.

Finally, celebrating their 20th anniversary, is tonight’s headliners Anti Flag. It’s hard to believe that they’ve hit that mark in a way, but they’e been an ever present band in punk since most people can remember. Love them or hate them, it’s hard to call them anything but incredible live usually, and tonight is no different. We usually see Anti Flag play to a certain percentage of die hards and a big amount of begrudging punks at Reading / Leeds, but when the crowd is all theirs it’s hard not to be captivated by their tightness. They’ve obviously got that slightly cheesey edge to their sound that can put a few off, but there’s little doubt that they’re masters of what they do. It’s great fun from start to finish, with a setlist reaches across their back catalogue. Everyone in the room is having a blast, so it ties off a fantastic evening at the Electric Ballroom. A gig that we’re very glad to have attended.