If Thanksgiving with your family is the only significant event you have planned for this November, you needn’t worry because San Francisco-based punk label Fat Wreck Chords has announced the details for the 2013 Fat Tour. Headlining the tour is Gainesville, Florida’s ska-punk band Less Than Jake. And the supporting bands are none other than Anti-Flag, Masked Intruder, and Get Dead. Chances are they will be heading to a venue in or near your area. And if you plan on attending one of these shows, I encourage you to get your tickets in advance. Such events sell out of tickets quickly. Believe me, I know from experience—after having made the trip from Allentown, Pennsylvania to Brooklyn, New York to catch Against Me! and David Dondero, the venue was sold out. Suffice to say, I was inconsolable…more so that I had missed the latter artist than the former…but inconsolable nonetheless. And I have since learned my lesson.
Use this link here for a full list of 2013 Fat Tour dates, cities and venues.
Also worth mentioning is Less Than Jake’s upcoming studio full-length album on Fat Wreck Chords, “See the Light,” which is scheduled for a November 12, 2013 release. A new collection of Less Than Jake songs!—something the band’s considerable fan base is undoubtedly stoked about. In late 2012 Fat Wreck released “Greetings & Salutations” by Less Than Jake—not new material, really, but the combining of two EPs, 2011’s “Greetings from Less Than Jake” and 2012’s “Seasons Greetings from Less Than Jake”—which certainly whet the appetite of their loyal listeners. And now there’s “See the Light,” which should hold them over for at least a little while. And if you’re just dying to know what to expect from this new album, there is more than a very good chance that Less Than Jake’s 2013 Fat Tour sets will consists of new songs from “See the Light.” Yet another reason to make it out to one of these upcoming shows.
If you’re not familiar with Less Than Jake, chances are you’ve been living under a rock for the better part of the last two decades. Either that or you have subscribed to all that impersonal, prepackaged mainstream rubbish clogging up the airwaves for the last twenty years, because that’s how long Less Than Jake have been hard at work writing, recording and touring. Again just for the sake of those few that aren’t familiar with the band, Less Than Jake is a well-known and highly appreciated ska-punk outfit from Gainesville, Florida. With members that are almost always tirelessly at work on this or that endeavor, sometimes on this and that endeavor simultaneously, Less Then Jake spend their time owning and operating labels like Fueled by Raman and Paper + Plastik, and playing in side bands like Rehasher and The Coffee Project. Having been around the scene for some time now, Less Than Jake have an impressive catalog of releases and have toured extensively. Thus they have gained quite the fan base and have seen their share of musical accomplishments. Now, just as it was in their earlier days, Less Than Jake’s music is tight as hell, super-catchy and sharp-edged, with rousing, distorted melodies and precise rhythms, and with plenty of accent horn blowing, and superb vocals. Even if one holds a general distaste for ska, one usually cannot help but enjoy Less Than Jake. They aren’t just ska, after all; they’re punk, too…as punk as one who “dyes his hair blue, gets a nose ring, and moves to San Francisco” (I’ll not bother explaining that, since most true punks will easily get the reference). Less Than Jake, in other words, is ska music for punk people. Get out to one of their upcoming shows and you will experience exactly what I mean.
As for the other bands, I am very much looking forward to Get Dead. A San Francisco-based quintet whose sound is a blending of dirty street punk and folk-punk, Get Dead have a new release on Fat Wreck Chords as well, titled “Bad News.” I have had the pleasure of listening to this album in its entirety, and I must say that it is hands down one of the best punk releases of 2013. No gimmicks or novelty aspects to their project, Get Dead are all about the music; and that is more than a little evident in the songs on “Bad News.” And while I haven’t had the opportunity to catch them live yet, I hear tell they put on one hell of a performance.
If you are a fan of bands like The Taxpayers, Fistful of Dynamite, Billy Liar, Against Me!, and the like, you will probably be able to appreciate Get Dead.
Also on the 2013 Fat Tour roster is a peculiar pop-punk foursome out of Madison, Wisconsin. As anonymous punks, these four wear colored ski masks, never revealing their faces and exposing their true identities. Keeping their names mysteries, too, they simply call themselves Intruder Yellow, Intruder Green, Intruder Red, and Intruder Blue. Once one gets past the gimmicky nonsense and pays close attention to the songs, one learns that these punk rock strangers actually play some damn good music. Masked Intruder is unquestionably a fine addition to the 2013 Fat Tour lineup.
Like Less Than Jake, Anti-Flag has been at it for the last twenty years or so. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Anti-Flag have a straightforward punk sound, with lyrics centered on social and political subject matter. Having left their major label days behind, Anti-Flag have rejoined Fat Wreck Chords. As such, Fat Mike has made them part of the 2013 Fat Tour. To be sure, Anti-Flag’s inclusion in the Fat Tour has the band’s considerable fan base stoked. Unlike the other bands on the Fat Tour, Anti-Flag use their music as a platform for conveying their strong sociopolitical message. The band name Anti-Flag, as the band have clarified time and again, is not an anti-America statement, but rather a way to declare their extreme left-wing stance on things such as war, fascism, class struggle, human rights, foreign policy, the so-called “war on terror,” and many other important topics which have powerful impacts on today’s world. Because of these radical views, a number of Anti-Flag’s fans felt betrayed when the band signed with a major label, since such corporate entities represent in part what the band has rebelled against in their lyrics all these years. To be sure, it is a tremendous distance between RCA, which is an appendage of Sony Music Entertainment, to an independent punk label like Fat Wreck. And those same fans that were disappointed at Anti-Flag’s choice to sign with RCA were no doubt thrilled when Anti-Flag returned to Fat Wreck Chords. But, major label or independent label, it is the message that is important; not so much the finer points of the band’s career choices. In that respect, Anti-Flag delivers. So get out to one of the 2013 Fat Tour shows; not only for the music, but also the message. Who knows, you may even learn something.