Anti-Flag attacks many societal ills in the same curt fashion, placing fuck in front of the offending entity or sucks after it. This formula generates rallying cries, but it doesnt provide much perspective. For a more nuanced take on these topics, fans should arrive early for opening act Street Dogs. Informed by singer and Army veteran Mike McColgans service in Iraq, tracks such as Final Transmission (Can you hear the sound of youth negated?) carry more emotional weight than anti-war diatribes from songwriters who view Warped as a Tour of duty. Even the Boston-based group's drinking songs, which recall McColgans roots as the Dropkick Murphys first frontman, communicate hard-learned lessons: "Tobes Got A Drinking Problem" takes a darkly humorous look at the guitarist's alcoholism. McColgans storytelling and strong, rugged vocals recall blue-collar troubadours such as Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash, and the Dogs raucous pub-style hooks prove its possible for serious, streetwise punk bands to become crowd-pleasers without pandering musically or lyrically.
Sun., March 30, 2008