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March 26, 2007 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Strike Anywhere

Friday March 16

A packed out Bodega was home to Virginia based five piece punk-rock band, Strike Anywhere, on Friday 16th. Passing through on their NZ, Australia and Japan tour, the band played a wild set of punk-rock mixed with melodic hardcore, promoting their latest release Dead FM.

The show featured three opening bands, two Wellington based, and the opener – One Bad Weekend – from New Plymouth. Similarities between these three were evident. All were four pieces, based on the three chord punk-rock blue prints, and while all were worthy to open for Strike Anywhere, as the bands progressed the quality increased. One Bad Weekend were a Sommerset derivative/Fat Wreck Chords sound aspiring band. Ex-Dunedin group Ritalin’s sound was heavier, tighter and fuller with hardcore influences, whereas Not Quite Right looked like they were having the most fun – perhaps due to it being one of the members’ last performance. They were high energy punk rock, and like Ritalin, hardcore was easily picked as was occasional metal indulging moments.

Three bands down, and one to go; headliners Strike Anywhere took to the stage, the crowd bustling with anticipation. Front man Thomas Barnett, an overly energetic punk with a hippyish air about him, is renowned for being a genuinely nice guy, his passion for what he was singing/screaming about was refreshing, and his limitless unrestrained energy was notable. Strike Anywhere played a mix of tracks off their albums, the tracks off Dead FM featured the most impressive crowd response, especially those that featured anthemy choruses, such as ‘Instinct.’

Strike Anywhere are of the politically fuelled, activist-minded breed of punk-rock, and their recent signing to Fat Wreck Chords serves this direction well. They seem optimistic in the abilities of their communities, yet enraged at the state of their world; they strike out against George Bush, the American media, society at large, religion, Hollywood and war to name but a few evils – according to the band. Like the sleeve of Dead FM, Barnett explained the meanings behind a few of their songs, such as calling for solidarity between gay/lesbian/transgender/heterosexual communities, to accompany the track ‘Allies‘.

With their hectic touring schedule, I would imagine keeping up these high energy, giving-it-their-all, rage fuelled performances would get tiring, but the band kept a completely believable sense of sincerity in their performance, and profusely thanked their audience for coming to their show.

As I expected, I enjoyed their live show far more than their album. Strike Anywhere’s unadulterated rage and energy are far more convincing when right in front of you and I’m sure the crowd of sweaty fat-wreck-chord tee-shirt wearing, thrashing, moshing punk-rockers would agree.


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