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Against Me! / Cheap Girls / Fences: live in Spokanelive in Spokane (2011)
Reviewer Rating: 4.5
Contributed by: thepopeofchili-townthepopeofchili-town
(others by this writer | submit your own)
When I first heard Against Me! were touring with Cheap Girls this winter, I was extremely excited. My favorite band touring with one of the best up-and-comers of the past couple years—how could I lose? Just a few months earlier, after a cancelled European tour with no explanation, many, including myself, were doubting if the band even had a future. This was great news. However, when the dates were announced and I learned that the tour wasn't coming to my home state of Colorado, I was pretty bummed. I really didn't want to have to settle for seeing AM! play a measly opening set for the Dropkick Murphys in a 5,000+ capacity venue. After learning one of my closest friends was attending the Spokane date, I figured it’d be worth biting the bullet, grabbing some plane tickets and making the trip out.
After what seemed like forever, Against Me! finally made their way to the stage, new members Jay Weinberg and Tom Gabel’s long hair in tow. They came firing out of the gate with the 1-2-3 punch of “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong”, “From Her Lips to God’s Ears (The Energizer)” and “Cliché Guevera”. The crowd exploded.
Against Me! has always been a great live band; it’s a huge part of what attracted me to them in the first place, but this just may have been the finest show I've seen them play to date. Weinberg’s energy seemed to have lit a fire under the group’s collective ass, and you could tell they were having a great time. They were all smiles, as was the crowd. It was the exact opposite of Fences’ set earlier in the evening. From the Reinventing Axl Rose-era material to the few songs from last year’s divisive White Crosses, every song was well-received by the crowd, who were singing along, fist-pumping, finger-pointing, and above all, smiling.
The band stuck to their usual motif of playing as many songs as possible with little-to-no breaks in between, and giving the crowd their money’s worth. Tom did pause to pose for a photographer who ran on stage (who was then promptly escorted out by security), and to thank the other bands and fans for coming out, but that was about it. After an amazing batch of closing songs, they said goodnight, before coming out for an even more amazing batch of closing songs. They ended the night with the first two tracks from 2002’s The Disco Before the Breakdown EP and two tracks from Reinventing Axl Rose: “Baby, I’m an Anarchist” and “We Laugh at Danger (and Break All the Rules)”. I left the building with sore ribs, my voice gone, and a smile on my face. After witnessing how powerful this new lineup is, I’m considering going to that Dropkick Murphys tour after all.
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