It took me awhile to recall the last time I had seen Against Me perform a headlining set and after much thinking I believe it was their headlining set at Fest 10 back in 2011. A whole two years since I had seen one of my favorite bands play a headlining show, unbelievable. I saw them on tour with The Cult and even saw Laura perform an acoustic show at Punk Rock Bowling last year but acoustic shows and sets as openers aren’t quite the same. I unfortunately missed seeing them at FYF Fest last year as I didn’t go due to lack of funds and didn’t catch them on any of the dates of their tour with Andrew Jackson Jihad and Joyce Manor as the nearest date was in San Luis Obispo. So the wait to see them back in their element was a bit much for me and once I saw this show announced I flipped.
I unfortunately missed the sale on tickets but was able to score one from a good friend. So as the big day finally came I had been giddy the entire time, from the drive to The Troubadour until their final song. Though I’m not going to lie, I was definitely a bit nervous for the set as well. In the past year or so the band had gone through a few line up changes losing both Jay Weinberg and even long time member Andrew Seward. Their positions being filled by Atom Willard of 1,000 different bands and Inge Johansson of (International) Noise Conspiracy respectively. Now both gentlemen are exceptional musicians but being a band isn’t just about being great at playing your instrument it’s also about how well everyone meshes together as well. Would their collective energy combine that would hold up with all the countless times I’ve seen them in the past? That was the real question for me going in to the show that night.
I decided to try and shrug off my nervousness and just enjoy everything as it came. Thankfully the atmosphere was perfect: friends were all around me, the bill was excellent, and there was such a cheery vibe going on that could be felt from everyone that my nervousness subsided well before Against Me even took the stage. I arrived early to hang out a bit and catch the openers one of which I am a big fan of and the other I had never heard of. Smelly Tongues, who I was unfamiliar with, had a lot of energy and kicked off the show. Regardless of their energy I wasn’t too into them. That isn’t to say that they were bad I just wasn’t into what they do as a band. The best way to put it is they were trying to sell an astounding cheeseburger to a vegan. They do their thing well I am just their audience but perhaps check them out? They might be your new favorite band.
Next up was local band and friends of mine, French Exit. The guys played a killer set in the short time they had playing as many of their classic jams that they could in the time frame they had. The few of us that were there and were familiar with them went all out during their performance. At one point a tickle pit erupted and things got a little silly to say the least. I almost lost my fez in the commotion but luckily I was able to hold onto it. Once they wrapped up the venue quickly filled up and a good 200 people somehow showed up out of nowhere to pack out the place. Then came the wait for what we had been waiting all night for.
The band started off the show off with a new song, “fuckmylife666″, before kicking it into high gear and busting out the hits. The set itself was rather diverse and was comprised of a couple songs from each of their albums rather than focusing on one era of the band. I really enjoyed this move and although I wish there were 1 or 2 more of my personal favorites from their catalog played that night the band still played a stellar show. They even closed out the night with ” We Laugh at Danger” during the encore, a move that was both unexpected and had the crowd going nuts and into a free for all for crowd surfing & stage dives. This show has made me very excited for the album set to debut early next year and hopefully the next time I see them play I’ll know all the words to the new songs. I can honestly say this was one of the better Against Me shows in the 20+ times that I have seen them perform in their various incarnations.
Thanks for making me feel like a teenager again. Also, apologies for the cellphone pictures. I didn’t have a photographer. Maybe next time!