Against Me! - live in Birmingham (Cover Artwork)

Against Me!

live in Birmingham (2007)

live show

First of all, I apologise for those interested in a review of Steriogram and Future of the Left. I did not get into the venue until after Steriogram had finished and I paid little attention to Future of the Left. I could certainly appreciate how people could like them, but as a band they did not interest me.

There were two things of interest during FOTL's performance however. Firstly, I met Warren (AM! drummer) as he was standing on a chair behind the merchandise table watching the performance. Surprisingly, he wasn't recognised by many people but he definitely seemed to be enjoying the band. Secondly, FOTL spent a lot of time moaning about how bad the audience were. To be fair, their musical style is notably different of Against Me!'s, so to expect the audience to be interested might be asking too much. They left the stage with "You've been a great audience. C+... and that's being generous" and not many new fans.

Against Me! Are a band who through label upgrades and musical style changes have managed to divide their fans. One thing fans can unanimously agree on, however, is the intensity of their live show.

They opened up with "New Wave" (which actually sounded better live) and never let go. I was disappointed that "Pints..." wasn't the opener and I worried that we weren't going to hear it. Thankfully, it was the second song and the crowd went suitably crazy.

Those who were disappointed with New Wave would have been similarly disappointed here. At least seven songs from it were played ("Borne on the FM Waves" wasn't and I can't remember "Up the Cuts" or "Piss and Vinegar") and they took up a large part of the set. Luckily, I happen to really like the album and I'm glad that more songs were played from New Wave than Searching for a Former Clarity.

However, it must be said that it's a shame that they no longer play as many of their 'classics.' As the Eternal Cowboy was quite well-represented and "Sink, Florida, Sink" stole the show as it usually does. Sadly, Reinventing Axl Rose was limited to just one main set song: "Pints."

AM! fans know that they are not famed for their crowd banter and here was no different; they whistled through their incredibly well-rehearsed set with no delay. It's apparent that considerable effort has been put into making the live show as good as possible and the only mistake was Tom messing up the lines on "The Ocean."

After leaving the stage the band returned for the obligatory encore, I was incredibly annoyed that "Miami" was the first song they chose to play. Sure, it's a good song but there are at least 15 songs I would have rather that they'd played, with "Impact" being my personal choice. The final encore song was "We Laugh at Danger and Break All the Rules" -- a perfect song for an encore, its rousing sing-along vocals cannot help but put a smile on your face and leave you with the impression that you have just witnessed a special band.

Sure, they don't play all the songs we wish they would, but Against Me! Are still the band that captured imaginations when they first started. They have grown and matured but can still make you jump up and down with your fist in the air and believe that nothing else but that moment matters.