Against Me! / Off with Their Heads - live in Knoxville (Cover Artwork)

Against Me! / Off with Their Heads

live in Knoxville (2009)

live show

After seeing the Bouncing Souls with the Gaslight Anthem last December, I couldn't think of a better representation of established bands putting on a show with a band that could be their equal within just a few years. Enter Against Me! playing some shows with Off with Their Heads. While I've never weighed more than 170 lbs, AM! has still been there through every shitty breakup, among other milestones in my life. Long story short, I was compelled to drive from Pennsylvania to Knoxville, TN to experience this firsthand.

I was shocked when I walked into the Cider House and discovered it was a relatively small venue, holding only a couple hundred people. Work conflicts always prevented me from seeing Against Me! at the Church in Philly before they released Searching for a Former Clarity, so I was excited to see them in a more natural environment.

The 76ers' comeback victory over the Magic completely distracted me from seeing/hearing/even acknowledging there was an opener. Shortly after I had made my celebratory phone calls, Minneapolis' Off with Their Heads took the stage. They opened with "I Am You," and then went on to play a number of other songs off From the Bottom. Ryan and the gang seemed to joke around and be more natural than they were when I saw them last November in Wilkes-Barre. After they closed with "Die Today," I couldn't help but get the feeling that these guys will one day be headlining their own major tour (If they feel like it, of course). After the show, I talked with their merch guy, and sorry folks, we'll be waiting a while for The '69 Sound, with no plans for its release in the immediate future.

Ever since the 2006 Warped Tour when I saw Against Me! play the majority of New Wave, I've gotten the impression they aren't afraid to play anything at their shows. When they took the Tennessee stage and opened with "White Crosses," I had a feeling we'd be in for a special night. Along with the opener, they played two songs I've never heard before, "Western World" (a mixed tempo number I could only compare to Weezer's "El Scorcho") and another song, marked "Bob D." on the setlist. "Anna Is a Stool Pigeon" and "Amputations" from Tom's solo EP were also pleasant surprises in the 16-song set. "Don't Lose Touch" was the only entry from SFAFC, while As the Eternal Cowboy received a nice representation with four songs. By the time the encore of "White People for Peace" into "Walking Is Still Honest" was complete, I knew my voyage had been worth it.

I'm excited to hear what the band has in store after this summer's Original Cowboy EP, anxious to see what steps Off with Their Heads will take in the future, and would love to see these guys tour together again.