Against Me!

Against Me!: live in Columbialive in Columbia (2010)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 2.5

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

Remember when? Well, I can. A time when all was well and nothing else mattered, but sweating your ass off in a small basement venue with your best buds holding each other's shoulders, blaring out the lyrics along with the band. Yes, indeed I am recalling old Against Me! shows. The concerts that w.

Remember when?

Well, I can. A time when all was well and nothing else mattered, but sweating your ass off in a small basement venue with your best buds holding each other's shoulders, blaring out the lyrics along with the band. Yes, indeed I am recalling old Against Me! shows. The concerts that were certainly unbeatable by any band, with memorable openers such as Epoxies, the Soviettes, Fake Problems, Riverboat Gamblers, etc... Ah, these shows were what made my high school youth. I fucking loved Against Me!.

The last time I had seen them before this show in Columbia was back in 2007, circa the New Wave tour. The ballet was amazing: World Inferno/Friendship Society up first, then Sage Francis, and ending with AM!. However, Against Me!'s set and performance was lackluster, other than their encore. Now, I didn't mind New Wave; I thought it was enjoyable. White Crosses, however, I cannot stand.

I wanted to see Against Me! before the album was released, but they never headlined a St. Louis show (my hometown) since '07, So, I drove about an hour and a half to Columbia, a college town. I thought maybe the White Crosses songs might sound better than the over-produced studio recordings. When I arrived, I was first in line. The fanbase was nothing that it used to be: the "oi-oi punkers" were completely absent, being replaced with frat boys, hicks and drunk girls.

The night opened up with a rockabilly four-man group, whose name I can't recall. They obviously enjoyed what they did, blaring out a kazoo solo at one point.

The Humanoids played second, consisting of outdated punk jams that were completely repetitive. I give them credit for being from St. Louis, but they didn't do anything for me personally.

And then it happened. Against Me! walked onto the stage. Tom Gabel looked dashing in his usual all-black attire and a giant grin on his face. I was surprised to see Andrew replaced by a skinny bass player I had never seen. Franz from World/Inferno took over the keyboards, along with James and George taking their positions. I predicted the opener, "White Crosses," which got a pleasing reaction from the crowd. The pit wasn't rough, but people did sing along to the words. "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong" was second. The infamous opening drumbeat by Warren wasn't the same by George, who slowed it down some. This song made me happy, though, as it was played well. I danced and sang, reminiscing the past.

They played A LOT of new stuff, adding in some old favorites such as "Miami" and "I Still Love You Julie." Tom even had to remind Franz the lyrics of "Miami," but he had no problem singing along to the White Crosses jams. I'm sorry, but that man is just as big of an annoyance as Butch Vig's producing. The New Wave/White Crosses songs were known by the audience, but the others not so much. It was almost torturing to watch the fans sing "I Was a Teenage Anarchist," which got the biggest reaction. What was surprising was the lack of attention received from "Don't Lose Touch." At one point I looked back, but just saw blank faces. The set ended with "Sink, Florida, Sink," in which it was pleasing to sing along with Tom, as he looked ever-so happy. The set was short, with no intermissions between the songs and no talking, other than a "Thank you." The encore opened with "Rapid Decompression," which made no sense what-so-ever. Second was "Cliche Guevara." I was surprised to hear it, but was quite pleased. As predicted, they ended with "Baby, I'm an Anarchist."

I miss the old Against Me! shows, but I'm not going to sit here and bitch about White Crosses any more than I have. I'm happy for Tom Gabel, who is doing what he wants to do. What upsets me is that after such a long time of not seeing the band, it was just a big letdown. The band didn't communicate at all with the audience and the audience themselves were just disappointing. If they come to STL, I'll go, in hope to hear one of those old tunes, but for now I'll just have to wait.

Set list:

  1. White Crosses
  2. Pints of Guinness Makes You Strong
  3. I Was a Teenage Anarchist
  4. High Pressure Low
  5. Up the Cuts
  6. I Still Love You Julie
  7. Borne on the FM Waves
  8. Don't Lose Touch
  9. Bamboo Bones
  10. Suffocation
  11. New Wave
  12. White People for Peace
  13. Stop!
  14. Miami
  15. Sink, Florida, Sink
  16. Rapid Decompression
  17. Cliche Guevara
  18. Baby, I'm an Anarchist


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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.
a_nice_young_man (September 2, 2010)

Saw them do a stadium show with Billy Talent a few months ago. It was very disappointing, the only song they played that wasn't on the last two records was "Don't Lose Touch" and i had to wade through ten year olds and their moms to get to the stage. AM! was the only reason i went and it was such a waste of $60.

But ill be going to see them with the Flatliners this September. its a smaller venue and the openers are all amazing, so im cautiously optimistic but I'll probably be disappointed again because for three minutes ill have to endure drunk chicks singing Teenage Anarchist. god i hate that song.

I guess its fitting that the band that taught me to love punk would be the same one who taught me to be cynical about it.

sorryicrashedit (September 2, 2010)

Give him a break. This guy drove an hour and a half to see them. It's not like they were playing down the street. Beyond his (valid) reservations, he was obviously stoked to see this band. He's not the baggadouche working at FYE; making fun of kids buying AM! records. He's a dude that traveled to give a favorite band another chance. It just so happens that they blew it.

They've blown it for me too.

Here are my thoughts:

They did figuratively jump the shark. They've made a very clear progression that is not enjoyable to a large portion of their previous fanbase. Their song writing has evolved to more and more songs about "how shitty the record business is". It's what they asked for. Fat would have kept them forever. They chose to go this way because of 'X', and now they have to deal with 'Y'. I don't wanna hear about 'Y'. I want to hear about what got you to 'X'. I could relate to that.

They have a wafer-thin songwriting construct from the jump, so it's easily stressed by songs of a shitty caliber. The general songwriting rule is: A. It should rhyme. I mean, that's what you're shooting for. B. If it doesn't rhyme, there better be a good fucking reason. They usually pick B. Good on them. Now work for it.

'We Laugh at Danger and Break All The Rules' is a fantastic example of option B. It's written so well. It reads like a Vonnegut paragraph. 'STOP', on the other hand, is when option B. goes all wrong.

Stop! Take some time to think, figure out what's important to you.
You've got to make a serious decision.

(interjection: That's some Sesame Street shit right there. That's a song to 3 year olds. Blatant muppetry)

It could be me up there in stage lights.
It could be me on the TV in you living room.
It could be me jet setting with my band all across the world.
Appearing live in concert one night only, tickets sold out.

(As for this? All i hear is-BEVERLY HILLS. THAT'S WHERE I WANNA BE! gimme gimme LIVING IN BEVERLY HILLS. Get real.)

If you still like them, that's good on you. It doesn't make anybody any less enlightened because they don't.

NotPatriotic (September 1, 2010)

Does the band play "Unprotected Sex Wth Multiple Partners?" That would be cool. I read that they will not play "From her lips to gods ear" anymore.

jacknife737 (September 1, 2010)

Yeah, i'd echo the thoughts that Stop is fun live. Although, i wouldn't mind if they played a few more songs off SFAFC these days, other than the standard Miami/Don't Loose Touch.

As for the review: it seems a bit silly to go see a band on a tour aimed at promoting their new album, and then criticize them for playing new songs. And the band rarely seems to engage in engage in generic stage banter, they just let the music do the talking, and i quite frankly prefer it that way.

thepopeofchili-town (September 1, 2010)

"Stop!" is super-fun live. I was actually kind of bummed they didn't play it last time I saw them.

sloanedaley (September 1, 2010)

Why do they continue toi play "Stop!"? retire that shit already, you have a new album out fellas. Otherwise I think thats a pretty decent setlist.

necktattoo (September 1, 2010)

that is a rough set list

misterspike (September 1, 2010)

And since they're focusing so heavily on the new album, how about switching something out for "Because of the Shame"?

misterspike (September 1, 2010)

"The set was short, with no intermissions between the songs and no talking, other than a "Thank you." "

18 songs constitute a short set? AM! haven't really been ones to stand around and "rap" with the audience much. I've always considered them
to be a band that wanted to do as much as possible with their time.

e6c (September 1, 2010)

Andrew just had a baby a few weeks ago, I am pretty sure he is returning to the band...

welcome_to_1984 (September 1, 2010)

When I saw 'em in 2006 the venue (Headliners, Columbia, SC) was 600. Still not a basement show, but nice and intimate nonetheless.

pallmallpunch (September 1, 2010)

i'm sure someone already said it (didn't feel like scrolling down and watching everyone freak out) but to be historically accurate, those tours w/ the soviettes, fake problems, etc. were all in medium sized rock clubs and most definitely not basements.

ozmanx (September 1, 2010)

Epoxies sucked live. That is all.

pitchforkwriter (September 1, 2010)

I miss the days of seeing them with tour openers Gaslight Anthem and Two Gallants, at a crappy dive in Corpus Christi, to a crowd of about 100 people.

Then New Wave came out, and shit has been awful ever since.

welcome_to_1984 (September 1, 2010)

I don't even know what Columbia the reviewer is talking about. Columbia? Not a dateline city. The review was horrible (I should know, I've writting my fairshare). The setlist makes me sad. I haven't seen AM! live since 2007 in Cologne and there was only two songs from New Wave and they played Impact during the encore. Most of those songs won't get my fingers tapping, let alone dancing pumping my fist.

southernlovin (September 1, 2010)

Actually, even know I've discovered a good many great new bands because of the decidedly OMG DIFFERENT bands they tour with now. Future of the Left being the biggest one, but I mean cmon man... they almost always play with great bands. Their last headlining tour in the US had Dead to Me, Moneybrother, the Menzingers for fucks sake. That's one insult you can never lob at them.

I couldn't tell if I liked Franz so much when I saw them last, couldn't really hear em honestly.

scorpiondeathlock (September 1, 2010)

pretty solid set list. if they found a way to work we laugh at danger and because of the shame in there itd probably be perfect for me.

Anarchypants (August 31, 2010)

Of course it's not going to be heavy on their old stuff so in that sense it's a pretty good set list.

nickyno (August 31, 2010)

They play Baby, I'm an Anarchist! and I Was a Teenage Anarchist in the same set because they both have similar ideas. People forget that Baby... is Anarchist satire, making fun of the movement. Teenage Anarchist recalls how the movement failed..so, as you can see both songs have similar meanings and compliment each other.

Now if they played Burn..or most pre-RAR and Teenage Anarchist, that would be a problem.

yummygrass (August 31, 2010)

Woah beans! Look at this hate flowin' in these comment boxes!

And I'm certainly not miserable, pretty happy in fact. We all got to rant sometimes! :)

Hey, I guess I'm just another "Livin' in the Past-Against Me!-Fan-That-Should-Stop-Bein'-A-Bitch."

Oh, well, keep the hateness comin'. It really REALLY is enjoyable to read. Maybe better than the hate on an MGMT review I did. :)

Love ya all.
-Kisses and Cream!

MichaelD (August 31, 2010)

Pretty hilarious review. This bud seems miserable.

salty (August 31, 2010)

Wahhh. They don't play any of the older stuff anymore. Wahhh. They aren't the same band I knew back in high school. Wahhh. Tom doesn't talk to the audience as much as he used to. Wahhh. Wahhh. Wahhh.

raveneffect (August 31, 2010)

Why do they play "I Was A Teenage Anarchist" and "Baby I'm An Anarchist" in the same setlists? Silly people.

thepopeofchili-town (August 31, 2010)

However, ghere is one (and only one) thing in this review I agree with: Franz needs to go.

He was great in The Hold Steady and World/Inferno, but he doesn't belong in Against Me! I HATE what he adds to their sound.

thepopeofchili-town (August 31, 2010)

I'm with eazy. Well, maybe not on the part about the Columbians, but the other part.

NotPatriotic (August 31, 2010)

I am planning on attending an Against Me show in a few weeks in a venue that holds 500 people max. Hopefully it turns out to be a rad show! Not a big fan of the new album, but hopefully they'll break out some old jams, I Still Love You Julie!

swiftjustice (August 31, 2010)

None of those bands you mentioned opened for them on anything close to "basement shows", I went to all of those I think and the smallest one was 800 people

letmesleep (August 31, 2010)

Talk shit on Against Me! all you want but The Humanoids? Really? Screw off.

niveK82 (August 31, 2010)

wah wah wah

Bryne (August 31, 2010)

Average or low-scored live show reviews are a rarity around here. In fact, I can't even remember reading another one before this one.

k-dubs (August 31, 2010)

i wonder what happened to andrew

eazyd2 (August 31, 2010)

shame on punknews for posting such a dumb ass bitch ass review

eazyd2 (August 31, 2010)

i fucking hate columbians

facetofacereunion08 (August 31, 2010)

They were great at Lollapalooza, super fun show

chadreligion (August 31, 2010)

setlist is ok, minus the abundance of crappy songs from the last two records

drunkwithpower (August 31, 2010)

I knew what kind of review this was going to be after reading the first few sentences. Go tell it to your livejournal, you fucking pussy.

inagreendase (August 31, 2010)

A pox on you for talking smack on the Humanoids.

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