Less than a week into their cross-country trek, the Fat Tour pulled into Orono, Maine, just outside of Bangor. Despite the venue's location directly across from the University of Maine, attendance was pretty sparse. Against Me! played in Portland in April and the crowd there probably doubled those in attendance this time around.
With four bands on the tour, there was no local opener. Instead, the Soviettes got things started. A number of people in the crowd had mentioned going mainly to see the Minneapolis four-piece, and they got a pretty positive reaction despite their early time-slot (8:00). Having not ever been into the band, I've got no idea what songs they played.
Next up was another recent Fat signing, Smoke or Fire. While I was really anticipating their set, the Soviettes probably had more people on the floor than this Richmond group. They've got short songs and managed to play almost all of Above the City. These guys come off amazingly strong live and their being influenced by bands like Hot Water Music, Avail, and Strike Anywhere certainly shows. They played one new song, which isn't any sort of departure from their older material. It would have been nice to have seen some more songs from the Jericho days, but after being requested to play "Beauty Fades" time and time again, they confessed to simply not remembering how it goes.
The Epoxies instructed the bar to turn the Red Sox game off the television, dropped their banner, and put on one of the more entertaining sets I've seen in a while. I'm not a fan of these guys (and girl) on CD, but their live show is pretty fun. They had sweet costumes consisting mostly of mesh, tight jeans, and brightly colored duct-tape. While I still have no intention of picking up an album, I'd happily go see them live again.
And then there's Against Me! It was funny seeing these guys in a small club just weeks after they has played in Giants Stadium. Against Me! shows have always had lots of sing-along choruses, hand-clapping, and fists in the air. This time was no different. My only complaint with past Against Me! shows has been that they played for too short a time. I guess with Searching for a Former Clarity out they have some more songs to play and didn't want to leave out a lot of the older staples. This was the longest I've seen them play, which was about 45 minutes. They covered a good chunk of their back catalogue and some of the more energetic tracks off Searching. On their last tour they played a few of the new songs such as "Miami" and "Joy," neither of which were played in Maine.
Against Me! has a reputation for putting everything they have into a live show. Coming on the stage in their trademark black jeans and shirts they didn't say anything for the first few songs. Even then, comments were sparse. Andrew kept abandoning his bass to get his hands clapping, and Warren left his drums to do some crowd surfing during the encore performance of "Walking is Still Honest."
As always, Against Me! stole the show, and it was clear that the bulk of the crowd, although thin, had come to see them. They didn't spend much time talking from the stage, but were hanging out before and after their set. Tom was at a bar stool playing on his Blackberry before the show got started.
If you live in the States, the tour is going to be coming your way, so check it out.
Set list (not in order):
- Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
- Rice and Bread
- Those Anarcho Punks are Mysterious
- We Laugh at Danger and Break All the Rules
- Walking is Still Honest
- From Her Lips to God's Ears (The Energizer)
- How Low
- Holy Shit
- Sink, Florida, Sink
- You Look Like I Need a Drink
- Reinventing Axl Rose