Against Me! / Epoxies / Smoke or Fire

Against Me! / Epoxies / Smoke or Fire: live in San Franciscolive in San Francisco (2005)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 4.5

Contributed by: FuzzyFuzzy
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I hate beginning reviews. If you put in something too personal, the haters hate. If you jump right into the action, it feels like you leave out a large part of the experience. In the end, you'll end up writing some lame set of words like I have just done. Anyways. While we missed the previous night,.

I hate beginning reviews. If you put in something too personal, the haters hate. If you jump right into the action, it feels like you leave out a large part of the experience. In the end, you'll end up writing some lame set of words like I have just done. Anyways. While we missed the previous night, the second night of the Fat Tour in San Francisco was a great time, and everyone should catch this as it comes through your state.

We rolled up to Slim's about halfway through the Soviettes' set. When seeing them, it's easy to see why Fat signed them. They've got a good, solid sound, not unlike the mid-`90s "Fat sound" so many people feel the need to knock the label for. They're a lot of fun. I don't know if I'd go chasing down every show they play in the Bay Area, but they're definitely not to be missed on this tour.

Smoke Or Fire - 14
Smoke or Fire came up on stage next and proceeded to rip apart some songs from Above the City and Worker's Union. I'd seen them the first time they (ever) played San Francisco, with the Lawrence Arms, at the Bottom of the Hill. I got to interview the singer/guitarist/songwriter Joe (coming soon!) and generally found him to be a great guy. Their brand of RVA punk rock ¡ la Avail mixed with a tint of Hot Water Music rocked Slim's pretty hard. While the drums and bass were perhaps a bit too high in the mix, overall, their sound was pretty fantastic. One complaint that I have, and I've seen this in every review of the band, is that they didn't play "Culture as Given." This is one of their strongest tracks, and while not crucial to their set, would make a fair addition and solid it up even more.

The Epoxies - 3
As Seattle's finest new wave band took the stage, I was told to be prepared for a spectacle, and boy was I told right. The Epoxies present their blend of cheesy `80s keyboard parts mixed with straight ahead poppy punk rock with a style that's all their own. While they owe a lot to the heyday of new wave, with the silly glasses, taped up outfits and bizarre dancing, they manage to take it, run it through the filter of mid-to late-`90s punk and come out with a pretty compelling live show. If I were to have any criticism about their set, it's that it went about 4 songs too long.

I've seen Against Me! about four times now. The first was with the Lawrence Arms at the First Unitarian Church in Philly and the second was at Bernie's in Columbus. Both of these spaces are about as small as you can get without being in a person's basement (Bernie's is a distillery basement, after all). Since moving to San Francisco, I've seen them at the Great American Music Hall and Slim's, both of which are fairly larger, less intimate venues.
Against Me! - 15
It's interesting watching a band while they're on the way to "the top" (for lack of a better term). For those who don't know, AM! is getting huge (selling out, blah blah blah). I mean getting to the point of "what the hell are 'those kids' doing at my anarcho-punk show?" big. However, the band just doesn't seem to realize this. Tom, Andrew, James and Warren play the crowd, play the songs, and play each other the same way they did when I was working "security" at Bernie's, pushing kids off of James while he played. They put every single fiber of their being into the songs. If you've heard AM! on record, then you know what you're going to hear, except magnified by 100 times over.

However, there are some noticeable differences.
Against Me! - 19
Tom has gained some voice control, as where he used to break out into a full on growl and scream, he's honed it to be able to croon and actually sing the parts live as he does in the studio. Their set was uncharacteristically short, but I suspect that may have been due to it being the second night of their stay in San Francisco. It'd be easy to list the songs that they failed to play, but I don't think it's possible to please all the fans all the time. The large difference is the fan. There's less bike-punks, more teeny boppers. More trucker hats, less messenger bags. This isn't good or bad, but it's the reality that as this band is growing, they are definitely gaining a different audience.

Go see this. It's worth it. The younger bands are great, and the headliner is amazing. You won't be disappointed.

Photos from the Show


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
GreenVandal (November 3, 2005)

I know I do.

Or a blank face is a sign of indifference or boredom.

But, ya know, assuming I meant that would just be plain out GAY.

Anonymous (November 2, 2005)

I go to shows to see the changing facial expressions.

Russe11 (November 2, 2005)

Seeing this tour saturday! Can't wait...

marty_four_strings (November 2, 2005)

The pics are appreciated! Nice to see some in a review for a change.

GreenVandal (November 2, 2005)

I saw them play acoustic in the virgin megastore.

It was fucking weird.

But yelling "ya gotta fuck it up!" in the middle of the mall and not being tackled by a security guard is a good time.

There were some pricks there though that just stood there and didnt do anything. Didnt sing along. Didnt clap. they didnt even change facial expressions! Why even go? Oh well. Best free show I have ever been to in my life.

etwiels88 (November 2, 2005)

I still have to wait another month for this tourrrrrr

Anonymous (November 2, 2005)

The Epoxies are pretty much entirely forgettable. I suppose you could point to their yoddling or whatever and female element as signs of their uniqueness, but if you're looking for female innovation in punk rock today, your path leads soley and entirely to Hilary Duff.

Anonymous (November 2, 2005)

yes they do, they played 2 encore songs in Indy

Anonymous (November 1, 2005)

Saw the show in Seattle. AM!'s short set was not a coincidence; they don't even play encores anymore. I was pretty pissed, actually, because their set couldn't have been any longer than the Epoxies'. What little AM! did play was fucking fantastic, but after having to sit through the gimmicky bullshit of the Epoxies I was expecting quite a bit more.

Anonymous (November 1, 2005)

can't WAIT for this show to come to RVA on the 26th.

Sick_Nick (November 1, 2005)

I really appreicate the photos, i wish more reviewers could post photos.

Anonymous (November 1, 2005)

yeah, seriously. why don't y'all spice this site up with some diversity and post the hilary duff review already.

sallyjesse (November 1, 2005)

oh good, another review of this tour. do you people just follow the FAT bus everywhere?

SomeoneAnonymous (November 1, 2005)

I saw this show on wednesday night (the 1st show). It was awesome, although I kinda wish Smoke Or Fire had played after Epoxies. Both the Soviettes and Epoxies were good, their songs just all kind of blended together after awhile. Anyways, Against Me put on a great show which concluded with Tom diving into the drum kit. I saw their free acoustic show the next day at Amoeba, that was pretty good too. GOOD STUFF!!!

Fuzzy (November 1, 2005)

The Bernie's show was with...fuck. I think it was Planes Mistaken For Stars and No Choice. But I always get that and the Lawrence Arms show there mixed up.

It was fantastic, I miss Bernies out here in CA. So many good shows.

Anonymous (November 1, 2005)


you are so spot-on.

Anonymous (November 1, 2005)

do they still play walking is still honest?

allison_le_gnome (November 1, 2005)

And [yet] again...

http://punknews.org/reviews.php?op=albumreview&id=457 1#136926

Anonymous (November 1, 2005)

I'm planning on popping my Against Me! cherry at the Covington, KY date. Should be a great great time.

They're my favorite band now, but the sad thing is that when they came by Bernie's way back when (and I had heard about it) I only knew them vaguely and not enough to go. Now I'm still kicking myself for missing out. Oh well, I'll finally get to see them soon.

Maybe they'll play Bernie's again someday. Who knows.

Also, Fuzzy, out of curiosity, how was the Bernie's show and who did they play with?

Anonymous (November 1, 2005)

good show. fun. fortunately not too many assholes really. really werent as many teen boppers as i thought there would be, or id be drunk trying to hit on them. and, why cant real punks wear trucker hats? cmon! ahhh cmon!

niveK82 (November 1, 2005)

the pics up in the review are good, im talking about all the fuzzy ones on flickr

Fuzzy (November 1, 2005)

Apparently the gamma setting differences between Macs and PCs are responsible for the darkness that you people are seeing. Buy a mac.

Anonymous (November 1, 2005)

Im going to the phoenix date tonight, and the acoustic in store before the show, i cant wait

Dante3000 (November 1, 2005)

Good Review. I missed both shows because I made the mistake of buying wednesday tickets (which I couldn't make). When I recognized the error I contacted both tickets.com and Slims, niether was any damn help in any way. So I sucked up $32 and didn't see the show either night...Pitiful lame.
Anyhow, Sounds like a good time. Honestly I don't get why people knock the Epoxies or the Soviettes. They're both solid and both do a damn fine live show.
Whatever, I better make Western Addiction this friday or Imma be pissed!
p.s. AM!'s set may have been short because they had already played Amoeba that day and I think they did an interview on Live 105, busy day.

Anonymous (November 1, 2005)

Destroy and rebuild, a campaign of contracts, the shifting of power, deceit and lies
you call it the idea of promoting democracy, i call it a franchise!

culture as given, the american ideal that there's only one way to live your lives
theres no one there to help you when they start the bidding, you're packaged and sold to the allies!

Anonymous (November 1, 2005)

Do we really need ANOTHER review of this tour?

Uhh... yeah, probably (they're pretty, pretttay, prettttaaaay good).


Do we need a review of the new Hilary Duff album (submitted 2.5 months ago)?


Fuzzy, why don't you sack up and start making a punknews worth being proud of?

Anonymous (November 1, 2005)

This show was awesome.


RondoMondo (November 1, 2005)

Against Me! is the best live band I've seen other than Big D and the Kids T

Fuzzy (November 1, 2005)

I really wish my "style="float:left's and rights" would have come through that. Definitely not the way I envisioned it.

And I like my photos like that. I enjoy the blur a lot more than the crispness. As you can see, I can take the crisp photos if I want (like the one of james), but I don't really enjoy the look for certain things myself (like the shot of James' guitar).

I knew the Epoxies were NW. I couldn't remember which, and obviously went with the wrong one.

Anonymous (November 1, 2005)

"Saw them at the El Rey and it was the best night of my very young life. AM! played for about an hour and they closed with Impact. That was great."

Actually, they closed with "We Laugh at Danger..."

Anonymous (November 1, 2005)

I was there the Ist night it seemed like they played in eternity. I have a new found respect for the song "Justin" it was the most intense i have ever seen Tom. HIs eyes were bleeding and his viens were bulging,totally intent on every word. They closed with "Impact" and "Laugh at danger" then all the soldiers laid down there weapons and everything seemed fine in the world.

Anonymous (November 1, 2005)

yeah, no joke about starting off a review. Once I mentioned that I went to a show mainly because my girlfriend wanted to see it. Baaaaddd idea. Don't mention anything like that, you will automatically be ripped apart for mentioning that you have a girlfriend. You're a gay fag and you always go to concerts by your gay fag self.

SenorRefresco (November 1, 2005)

Saw them at the El Rey and it was the best night of my very young life. AM! played for about an hour and they closed with Impact. That was great.

niveK82 (November 1, 2005)

Thanks for posting pics.

No intent to flame, but read the direction on the camera. toy around with settings and learn how to let the camera focus before you click the button all the way down. Some of these pics could have come out way better.

localh (November 1, 2005)

do not insult new wave by adding the epoxies in there
they are dance punk crap they are down on the bottom with phenomonauts...

Anonymous (November 1, 2005)

Good Review and I completely agree about your Against me! opinions

Anonymous (November 1, 2005)

that isnt tom, though. its james. and he has gotten a little tubby.

tom is still fit as ever.

gladimnotemo (November 1, 2005)

I thought after the "However..." and the picture, it was going to say "Tom has gained some weight." That would be been amazing.

crossfiyaaa (November 1, 2005)

Yeah, I wish the Epoxies were from Seattle.

Then they might play here more often.

1234go (November 1, 2005)

The epoxies are from portland.

colin (November 1, 2005)

yeahhh fuckin hell of a tour

nice photos btw, little dark tho

etwiels88 (November 1, 2005)

Three Against Me reviews? That's more than the Warped Tour reviews from this year I think...

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