Sunday, June 12, 2011

Live Review: Against Me! @ Paradise Rock Club, 6/9/11

Most times when I attend a show by myself, I like to think of myself as a modern day Kerouac - wearing plaid, talking to myself in prose, drinking cheap beer out of a paper bag, and just sortof letting those bohemians on stage pour their emotions while I take it in all sweating and Beatific and whatnot. Let's just say that seeing Against Me! is not anything like that.

Not that it couldn't be, though - as singer/songwriter Tom Gabel has always written politically charged and/or socially conscious pop punk that could totally breed the type of fan that goes to these shows to just scream the lyrics and 'experience' the music. Deciding that it was best to put myself in the latter category this evening, I entered the all ages show shortly before the main attraction took the stage.

I didn't think much of the 'All Ages' addendum to the familiar sign outside of the club until I walked in - "'All ages'? Does that mean I'm going to be fighting off twelve year olds? Do twelve year old kids go to shows or just watch stuff on YouTube? Do the real punks come to hear 'Pints of Guinness Make You Strong' and then leave?" Mind racing, I grabbed two beers and shouldered through the crowd.


Without much delay (and a really excitable roadie who checked mics by yelling 'YEEEAAAHHH BUDDY'), the band walked out waving, smiling and murdered out in all black. Thankfully wasting no time, they charged into the favorite 'Cliché Guevara' much to the delight of your author and everyone around me. This is a pivotal moment at a punk show - everyone hears that first chord (that could be about 8 of that band's songs) and a rush, a push, and a mosh pit. Fortunately, that broke out on the other side of the pole from me and I just swayed with the crowd as they plowed through 'Pints of Guinness Make You Strong,' 'From Her Lips To God's Ears (The Energizer),' and 'New Wave.' Thanks to major label money(Sire), the guys had great equipment that made Jay Weinberg's (yes, he is Max Weinberg's son) pounding drumming balance perfectly with Andrew Seward's low-end. That duo, I must say, also really likes being in this band - as they sang along with Gabel on every single song and made really intense, 'dude-I'm-totally-killing' expressions. Punk rock, bro.

We didn't get much banter from Gabel, as they paused only once or twice to switch guitars/take swigs/say that Boston effing rocks. I really wanted to hear Gabel open up a bit, as being in 'all-business' mode isn't too fitting for a pop-punk band. The band did charge through a variety of their best material however, including 'Rapid Decompression,' 'T.S.R.' and 2005's Searching For A Former Clarity highlight 'Miami.'


The crowd screamed along and got rowdy, which is great unless you're a bro trying to protect his girl, yo. Usually I don't care about other people at these things, but this one bro started some stuff with other bros who were 'just tryin to have a good time, man' and yours truly wound up in the middle of it, prying bros off of each other. Two of them were kicked out when security came over, and a third bro thought it would be fun to cuss out the bouncer and try to tackle him. He was shown his way out as well.

Thankfully the band soldiered on and rounded out their raucous set with the sing-alongs 'Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists,' 'Sink, Florida, Sink' and 'Thrash Unreal.' With just a 'thank you,' Gabel and crew waved and walked off, waited for five minutes to make us all want it, and graciously came out thanking us all once more. "Here's the Clash," said Gabel so nonchalantly that no one really knew what was going on until the familiar snare and bass of 'Janie Jones.' Of course I incorrectly felt as if they played this just for me and I was the only one screaming every word - but isn't that the reason we all go to concerts? Following this was 'Baby, I'm An Anarchist' and one of the best endings to a punk album, the title track 'Searching For A Former Clarity.' I decided that this was the zenith of the evening and set off (even though they did do one more - 'We Laugh At Danger') down the hallway only to find the bros that got kicked out waiting outside the club, most likely to get their revenge or something. Goddamn it, punks, can't we all just grow up and not have to make every show a pissing contest?


Cliche Guevara/Pints Of Guinness Make You Strong/From Her Lips To Gods Ears (The Energizer)/New Wave/White Crosses/Russian Spies/Don't Lose Touch/Violence
Miami/Because Of The Shame/Walking Is Still Honest/White People For Peace
I Was A Teenage Anarchist/Tonight We'll Give It 35%/Americans Abroad/Rice & Bread
Reinventing Axl Rose/Rapid Decompression/You Look Like I Need A Drink/Turn Those Clapping Hands.../T.S.R./Slurring The Rhythms/Sink, Florida, Sink/Thrash Unreal

Janie Jones (The Clash)/Baby, I'm An Anarchist
Searching For A Former Clarity/We Laugh At Danger...

(More crappy iPhone pics)



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