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Against Me! / Ted Leo and the Pharmacists: live in Sayrevillelive in Sayreville (2008)
Warner Music Group
Reviewer Rating: 4
Contributed by: TorgoTorgo
(others by this writer | submit your own)
As Ted Leo and the Pharmacists played their first few songs, a strange feeling seemed to swim over the crowd: indifference. I know indie rock crowds are generally too cool to dance, but it seemed like very few were singing along, and the “pit” consisted of four girls lightly skanking -- roughly, the moshing equivalent to the “golf clap.” The two kids in the front dancing ended up getting kicked out for...dancing too close to people who didn’t want to dance? The venue was only about one-third its capacity, and I wondered if we’ve come so far that TL/Rx and AM! fans don’t overlap. Maybe Ted Leo fans don’t want to pay $35 including Ticketmaster charges to see him play for 45 minutes.
Like what they did at many Warped shows this year, they sped through a Reinventing Axl Rose block in the middle of the set, much to the happiness of all the guys in flannel shirts. I enjoyed how they tried out two songs recorded with horns bare: “Miami” (didn’t need the horns) and “The Disco Before the Breakdown” (would have benefitted from the horns). I was happy/surprised to hear the latter song live for the first time, and “Pretty Girls” was a fantastic addition as well, buzzing along with sheer precision; where was this when you were playing “Animal” and “Ocean” in 2007? The only weak cut performed was “Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart”; in theory it sounds like a good idea to change the pace with a slower song, but really just drags boringly.
As Tom came out alone for the encore, he went to go into “Amputations” and the mic gave some atrocious feedback during the first line. He stopped playing and gave the sound guy the Tom Gabel Death Stare saying, “The monitors have been giving me feedback all fucking night!” As he tried to start the song again, clapping began, making him stop the song saying “Look, if you’re going to clap, you’ll have to clap in time so I don’t mess up.” Again, the song started, more clapping again, and he stopped, again, noticeably laughing saying, “No, no, I meant in time with the song, not each other,” and proceeded to stomp to the beat he wanted to us to clap to, and finally executed the song. This was all rather funny, but I wouldn’t be surprised if people thought he was pissed omg table style.
Like all good bands, Against Me! decided to save the undeniable climax for their last song: “We Laugh at Danger (And Break All the Rules).” By the a capella chorus towards the end of the song, the beloved Warren Oakes came to the front of the stage to sing with his bandmates to sing, while what seemed to be a very young fan came from backstage to play the last full band chorus on drums. Any tiredness felt by the audience was gone at this point, blasts being had as a fittingly passionate and sloppy version raged on, for the punx.
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