The Offspring @ Tüskecsarnok, Budapest, Hungary

Words: Miljan Milekić

It’s been more than a decade since I became a fan of The Offspring. However, I never got to see them live up until now. Add Anti-Flag into the equation and the good opportunity easily turned into a no-brainer. So, Tüskecsarnok (please don’t make me pronounce this) it was!

Hungarian Run Over Dogs came in first, offering a healthy dose of punk rock, with a lot of rock’n’roll vibes. They did deliver a strong and energetic set, but unfortunately, there weren’t many people to hear it. It was Anti-Flag who brought the significant crowd. Like a ticking bomb ready to blow, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania four-peace delivered a 45-minute set, crashing everything in front of them. Equipped with countless smashers from their 30-year-long career, they decided to go a bit unusual way.

Instead of focusing on their latest record – last year’s effort ‘American Fall,’ even delivering a greatest hits setlist, Anti-Flag focused more on the upbeat material, turning the hall into a club, and the crowd into a dancefloor. Mixing aggression with positive vibes, they quickly got the crowd going, taking the show to another level. For every ‘This Machine Kills Fascists’ there was a ‘Trouble Follows Me,’ and for every ‘Die For Your Government’ there was a ‘Brandenburg Gate’ or ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go.’

The band was in a great mood and invested tons of energy in the set trying to give as much as they could fit in a slightly shorter time than they used to. Both, Chris #2 and Justin Sane were all over the place, until the very end when Pat Thetic joined them in the crowd. They also took a few moments to share their beliefs with the crowd, calling for empathy, compassion, and tolerance.

The Offspring, on the other hand, can be seen as nothing short of absolute legends when it comes to punk rock. Therefore, the expectations were huge, and I wasn’t sure if the band would be up to the task. Not only that I heard some mixed impressions from their shows, but it’s also evident that the band is far from the mainstream popularity they had a decade or two ago. However, I couldn’t be more wrong.

OK, yes, they’re not in their twenties anymore, and they aren’t all over the stage. Dexter Holland maybe can’t sing as high as he used to, but this was far, far away from a bad show. For this occasion, the band brought only heavy artillery. Apart from one new song, they delivered a greatest hits set, firing the place up in no time. Relying heavily on ‘Smash’ and ‘Americana,’ with a fair share of classics from other records, The Offspring created a hell of a party.

Despite the rumors, they can still play, and they still want to be on the stage. The crowd recognized it, and just went with the flow. It seemed like they could play whatever the fuck they want, and the crowd would still sing every single word. Basically, if you don’t mind beer in your hair and other people’s sweat on your clothes, this was a place to be. After seeing them for the first time, I only think about seeing them again. There’s just one little thing I’m afraid of – The Offspring is too good of a band to be remembered for songs like ‘Pretty Fly (For a White Guy).’

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