Laura Jane Grace / Emilyn Brodsky

Laura Jane Grace / Emilyn Brodsky: live in Philadelphialive in Philadelphia (2008)
Warner Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

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

It's Wed., Nov. 19, and I'm standing about 15 feet away from Against Me! frontman Tom Gabel as he sets up merch for his show at The Barbary in Philadelphia. He's distracted, so I think I could give him a wet willy. I could be the one millionth fan to ask him why he signed to a major label. I could t.

It's Wed., Nov. 19, and I'm standing about 15 feet away from Against Me! frontman Tom Gabel as he sets up merch for his show at The Barbary in Philadelphia. He's distracted, so I think I could give him a wet willy. I could be the one millionth fan to ask him why he signed to a major label. I could try to go "buddy-buddy" and make some sort of reference to his blog -- a Curb Your Enthusiasm quote might earn a laugh -- or maybe bring up a band we both like. I wonder what he thinks about the new Mountain Goats record? He mentioned liking Tallahassee in an interview once. Or, I can wait for him to move away from the merch table so I can buy a copy of his new 7" (on clear vinyl!) from his wife, Heather. Arguably one of the most important artists in punk rock in the last 10 years, I sheepishly tell her I like her work. She seems legitimately flattered and smiles. Smile achieved, I get the fuck out of there before I say something stupid.

The show starts a little after 7 P.M. Emilyn Brodsky opens the show with a combination of ukele and wit. She messes up a lot of chords and belches during songs; I think she's nervous and/or buzzed. But she does a great cover of the Cure's "Friday, I'm in Love." Her sound is warm and slightly folky -- think a punker version of Mirah, I suppose -- and she keeps her set down to a half-hour. Later, she'll dance and crowd surf. She's clearly having more fun than most.

Gabel goes on around 8 P.M. and opens with a song he just wrote a few days ago, "Bob Dylan's Dream #12 35." It's in line with the material from his new EP, Heart Burns, which got a lot of play, in that it's acoustic and doesn't quite sound like Against Me!. The song's story revolves around Gabel meeting Dylan in a dream and talking to him about everything except his music career. They go to thrift stores, they race toy cars -- it's beautiful. It also makes me very glad I didn't ask Tom about Sire Records because there is no way this song is not an allegory.

The set is going really well. It starts off with the new songs, but Tom soon starts digging through his library. Sure, we get "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong" and "Sink, Florida, Sink," but the true gems are "I Still Love You Julie," "Walking Is Still Honest," and "What We Worked For." With just guitar and vocals, the sound is perfect, and Gabel's voice still sounds charged. He flubs a few chords here and there, but it doesn't matter; the crowd is so excited to be there. No one moshes per se, but there is some aggressive swaying going on. Gabel pulls out his cover of Old Crow Medicine Show's "Wagon Wheel" from Fat Wreck's Protect compilation, which is significant because (A) it's regionally appropriate due to the line about a "trucker out of Philly," (B) it was partially written by the aforementioned Bob Dylan, (C) I've never heard this song live before and (D) this cover is totally righteous. Reasons C and D also apply to a stirring performance of "8 Full Hours of Sleep." "Joy" also goes over huge with the crowd.

Near the end of the set, fans storm the stage, which I haven't seen since before Searching for a Former Clarity came out. Gabel is now completely surrounded by excited, slightly sweaty people. He cannot even get back to his guitar case, let alone leave the stage, so he keeps playing. He plays "Tonight We're Going to Give it 35%," from the The Disco Before the Breakdown EP, and it's thoroughly awesome. I'm on stage and everyone is screaming the words back at Gabel. This is a unitive moment. After the hour-long set ends, I'm asked not to bother Tom, which is not unitive and kind of alienating given what just happened. But for one hour, I "sang along to the songs I never had the courage to write." I walk back to my car. It's 9 P.M.


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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.
bluexmaslights (November 25, 2008)

You should have given him a wet willy

elephantdwarf (November 25, 2008)

wow... most of you need to get your head checked.

vocalyouth (November 24, 2008)

the pittsburgh show was pretty good.

drericmiller (November 24, 2008)

i saw him play at the space in hamden, ct and he played armageddon, 8 full hours of sleep and what we worked for.
the set ended with everyone on stage singing baby im an anarchist.
his guitar stopped working halfway through the song and we all kept going with it.
if i was hit by a truck directly after the show ended i would have been alright with it.

HOISTDATRAG (November 23, 2008)

Still can't get over how amazing this show was. SO incredibly good. I want to be there all the time. One might say that there is no place else in the world and this is where I've always belonged.

Sorry.. Tom has been one of the most (the most) important song writers in my life.

punkinohio (November 23, 2008)

Easy fanboy dont blow your load

Jelone (November 23, 2008)

Would I suck Tom silly? Maybe, but I'd have to get permission from my girlfriend/his wife. And maybe get to know him a lil better, ya know? "Know 'em before ya blow 'em," my granpappy used to (not) say. HOWEVER, I would like to see a "Gay for Gabel" t-shirt. Someone artsy make that happen.

Furthermore, if you were at the NYC show, you are a lucky fuck and I envy you mightily. MIGHTILY!

ilikenothing (November 23, 2008)

I was at this show and if was absolutely phenomenal. Everything I could have hoped for. I'd go gay for Gabel.

holy_balls (November 23, 2008)

is Emilyn Brodsky hot? if so, i want to do her. if not, i don't.

thedude (November 22, 2008)

amazing setlist, and EXCELLENT review. seriously, probably the best review i've ever read on this site. i'm sure the fact that this show was as awesome as it was contributed to the excellent prose, but this was absolutely stellar work.

vocalyouth (November 22, 2008)

seeing this in a really small show space here in Pittsburgh tomorrow night. i will post back to you, the reader, my findings.

thrilhouse (November 22, 2008)

damn that nyc show.

kokoro (November 22, 2008)

fucking awesome setlist

telegraphrocks (November 22, 2008)

17. Burn W/ Kevin

Matt Skiba and Kevin Seconds FTW!!!

HOISTDATRAG (November 22, 2008)

saw this in Connecticut last night. Probably the best show I've seen since AM! back in 2004. We got pretty much the same setlist, but replace "Sink" with "Baby im an anarchist." I fucking love TOm Gabel

givemenewwave (November 22, 2008)

so did you blow him or what? Tom Gabel is a douche.

eazyd3 (November 22, 2008)

needs more gaybell

Bigfoot (November 22, 2008)

This sounds fucking amazing. These are the songs I've always dreamed of hearing Tom rip on acoustic. I hope I get to see one of these shows.

genebuonaccorsi (November 22, 2008)

i dream of shows like this

ohcomely (November 21, 2008)

that set fucking rules.

maxstern (November 21, 2008)

fucking stoked for the cleveland date.

Problematiclogic (November 21, 2008)

Score is for that setlist.

elephantdwarf (November 21, 2008)

maybe you should ask if he wants to fuck and get it over with...

iruineverything (November 21, 2008)

Set list from NYC show:

1. Bob Dylan (New Song)
2. Random Hearts
3. Amputations
4. Joy
5. Harsh Realm
6. Anna Is A Stool Pigeon
7. Wagon Wheel
8. Jordan's First Choice
9. Tonight We're Gonna Give It 35%
10. Walking Is Still Honest W/ Kevin (original drummer)
11. What We Worked For W/ Kevin
12. Those Anarcho Punks W/ Kevin
13. I Still Love You Julie W/ Kevin
14. Shit Stroll W/ Kevin
15. Impact W/ Kevin
16. Ya'll Don't Wanna Step To Dis W/ Kevin
17. Burn W/ Kevin
18. We Did it All for the Don
19. 8 Hours Of Sleep
20. Sink Florida Sink W/ Kevin

preston (November 21, 2008)

Yeah, Generation Records show was awesome, though, I wanted to a full set...guess I shoulda gone last night too.

xshoutoutx (November 21, 2008)

The Generation Records show last month in NYC was better!

seth_uber_alles (November 21, 2008)

My jaw dropped when I saw a video of him performing a song with Kevin. Very surreal. Cool.

damo (November 21, 2008)

good review - sounds like it was fucking mint! not read a review with so much genuine excitement in it before

good man!

lostandclowned (November 21, 2008)

Last night, he played "CRiME as Forgiven By" in its entirety with Kevin. "Shit Stroll" too. It was great.

Torgo (November 21, 2008)

Very good review, I should have gone to the NYC show.

ExtraCheesePizza (November 21, 2008)

This was one of the better shows I've been to this year. I just wish they didn't end the show so early.

inagreendase (November 21, 2008)

Ugh. I really should've gone to the NYC show.

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