Against Me! / Cancer Bats

Against Me! / Cancer Bats: live in Vancouverlive in Vancouver (2010)

Reviewer Rating: 5

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

From the lengthy conversation with Against Me! bassist Andrew Seward upstairs at Rickshaw Theatre to the pair of 7" records I scored downstairs, nearly completing my collection, it was already a memorable evening in the making. The evening's beloved headliners weren't the only act I had high expe.

From the lengthy conversation with Against Me! bassist Andrew Seward upstairs at Rickshaw Theatre to the pair of 7" records I scored downstairs, nearly completing my collection, it was already a memorable evening in the making.

The evening's beloved headliners weren't the only act I had high expectations for. Cancer Bats were one of those bands I'd continually heard great things about, though regretfully had never experienced until tonight. Setting the mood with a crimson medley of quotes from my favorite movie--Lost Boys--was a flawless initiation.

The seemingly large pit of fans dispersed immediately--separating the hardcore kids from the innocent bystanders (guilty as charged)--as the Bats made their descent. A captivating, devil-locked frontman and his clan of gruff musicians unleashed a slaughter of Zack Wylde-approved guitar riffs alongside a kindred NY hardcore-sounding choral scorn.

CB frontman in question Liam Cormier made friends quickly as he described his longing to be in Vancouver for the recent Olympic U.S. and Canada hockey game. He paid his respect both to opening act Jaguar Love--who played while my photographer and I stood, waiting in line despite our guestlisting--as well as the Against Me! camp. Fan favorite "Pneumonia Hawk" was heard, as well as "Scared to Death" and a bone-crippling Beastie Boys cover, "Sabotage"--both from their newly released Sabotage EP and forthcoming album Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones.

Gainesville's fab four soon surfaced while "These Boots Were Made for Walking" primed the walls of the sold-out theatre. Testing new waters with a tale of anarchist past, Tom's signature rasp cut through the pack with vigor as he disclosed "I Was a Teenage Anarchist" from the upcoming 2010 release, White Crosses. Instantly, I felt a stronger connection with the band and crowd alike than at past performances.

Was it "White People for Peace," "Don't Lose Touch" or future title track "White Crosses" that had my fist, my heart and--above all--my smile screaming within the set's initial minutes? While the latter is surely an enchanting instant classic regarding extremist fundamentalism, there is little room for awe outside of hearing the lyrics, "Turn gunshots and mortar blasts into a metaphor of how we are all the same / This is the party we came for" in "Cliché Guevera."

Amongst Andrew's signatory mannerisms, James' trademark background cries and newcomer George's bullseye drumming were amps with White Crosses-style lettering. One so boldly displayed what appeared to read "Fear breeds in honest men"--which is thought-provoking at bare minimum.

"Because of the Shame" and "Suffocation" was the final pair of new material, the second of these songs being my least favorite of the bunch. It did offer a ditty of a guitar solo; why they required a second (guest) rhythm guitar player is unknown.

Fresh from a handful of Florida home-state club shows and a one-off stint in Seattle, they seemed genuinely at home in front of the significantly larger Canuck mob of 1000 faces. "I wish Canada would adopt us," he craved, with his command temporarily granted as they are set to embark on a country-wide arena run with Billy Talent all month long. Thankfully, the Van-city vermin were the fortunate few who experienced an intimate tour opener as well as a set list sure to rival the rest of the nation's (in both length and song selection). Hearing Tom's recent solo cut "Amputations" alongside classics "I Still Love You Julie" and "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong" provided a famously seasoned set as the clock turned to 11:00--a dreadful curfew for the city's all-ages shows.

Gratefully, our southern souls returned, discounting the regulation and kicking into their (arguably) most triumphant tune of all: "T.S.R." "The party's over / It was fun while it lasted / I hope everybody had a good time" echoed over the crowd who surely did. Cries of both surprise and endorsement rattled the room's walls as the evening's final number, "Baby, I'm an Anarchist," assembled the crowd. Originally a duet, in this instance it was a choir of all ages, races and (I'd bet) political stances.

Tom dodged crowd surfers and smirked at the scantily clad gal in the crowd, elevated with her back towards him. Although it may have gone unnoticed to the chanting baron with whom I stood, I appreciated the contrast from the set's opening take on anarchism to the closing radical anthem. Showcasing the here and now, the career-planting seeds and all that flourished in between, Tom and his band of merry men avoid stagnation yet maintain relevance. Well, boys, in spite of what fashion--it sure is great to know you.


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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.
Luke12 (April 22, 2010)

Suffocation is one of the worst songs they've ever written. There was an original version on youtube somewhere before it got Butchered and he took out every last ounce of rawness, and that was actually quite a decent song.

westcoastweasel (April 18, 2010)

Well, despite that one mistake (that I included in the post) I think the interview was rather decent and certainly not "painful." Decent enough to warrant free merch from Andrew based on what he called "a great interview" and Warner sent me the digital advance of the album the next day. But, to each their own.

ohcanaduh (March 13, 2010)

Decent show review, but your interview with James on your website is one of the most painful things i've read in quite awhile. "It‚??s great to see you take a break from your arena run with Alexisonfire and Billy Talent." Ya think you would have known that tour hadn't even started...brutal.

losetorefuse (March 11, 2010)

Cancer Bats >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Against Me!

overdefined (March 11, 2010)

Interesting review. Show reviews are hard so I appreciate your different-styled take on it.

LosPeptobismol (March 11, 2010)

Why is there a picture of a blank CD for show reviews?

PMAtill_imDOA (March 10, 2010)

everything about that show was retardedly amazing

red_eye_inc (March 10, 2010)

Good review! I hope they squeeze Chicago into their schedule soon.

teaessare (March 9, 2010)

that's a pretty awesome set

thepopeofchili-town (March 9, 2010)

sweet, thanks dude! that looks amazing.

westcoastweasel (March 9, 2010)


1. I Was A Teenage Anarchist
2. White People For Peace
3. Cliché Guevera
4. Don‚??t Lose Touch
5. White Crosses
6. Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists
7. Amputations
8. New Wave
9. Americans Abroad
10. Because of The Shame
11. I Still Love You, Julie
12. Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
13. Suffocation
14. Miami
15. Sink, Florida, Sink
16. Stop
17. Thrash Unreal


1. T.S.R
2. Holy Shit
3. Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious
4. Baby, I‚??m An Anarchist

thepopeofchili-town (March 9, 2010)

This is a good review, just wish it included a full setlist.

Also, SFAFC is their best album.

westcoastweasel (March 9, 2010)

Yeah, Searching definitely has its filler, as did New Wave. I have an advance copy of White Crosses but will keep my take on it until it's released.

misterspike (March 9, 2010)

Great review. I was at the second of the FL shows in Ft. Lauderdale. Great show, but questionable crowd. Loved the new material, and remember "White Crosses" as being particularly strong. Always hard to remember when bands play new songs that you've never heard before. And Tom Gabel knows Mah Jongg.

fattony (March 9, 2010)

Caught the Seattle show. AM! still plays well enough, but their passion for their older material was non-existent. Also, they played like 5 new songs, and none of them sounded particularly enticing. I'm officially wary of White Crosses. On a related note, I listened to SFAFC for the first time in a while before the show and that album has a whole lot of forgettable songs on it.

westcoastweasel (March 9, 2010)

I am a moron. I should have included such witty, skilled writing found in your (eazy2d) one and only review:

"As was ‚??That song from Tony Hawk‚?Ě as my mate called it. They didn‚??t play ‚??Here in Your Bedroom‚?Ě for some reason, but I wasn‚??t complaining because it was a sick show."

Sorry you missed the asshat from MXPX. And what business do under-18's have at a Goldfinger show? Probably the demographic in which the band appeals.

barleypat (March 9, 2010)

I'll second the "Good Review"

jacknife737 (March 9, 2010)

Seeing this show on the 25th: i can't fucking wait.

ZachLeg (March 9, 2010)

good review

telegraphrocks (March 9, 2010)

Holy shit! I actually read an entire show review, a whole interview linked within, and actually liked both!

Bravo, fuck-bucket! Bravo!

eazyd2 (March 9, 2010)

wow did you get them to sign your chest?

also do you really need to post lyrics?

also, you're a moron.

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