Against Me! / Dead to Me / Moneybrother - live in Farmingdale (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Against Me! / Dead to Me / Moneybrother

live in Farmingdale (2010)

live show

This lineup seemed promising and concise, and even for a Friday night that felt refreshing to not have to sit through a never-ending four-hour show or what have you. (Thanks for once, Crazy Donkey!) Plus, I hadn't seen Against Me! in some time and despite mixed feelings about what little new material I've allowed myself to hear, the greatness of their back catalog always makes for engaging live sets.

Moneybrother played a good hour and change after doors had opened yet the venue still looked pretty sparse. Those there were treated to the Swedish act's rustic, classic-style punk with an incredibly heavy Clash influence. I mean, yeah, all three bands here obviously nod to the magnificent four, but the title frontman clearly worshipped Woody. It was loveable, though--a warm familiarity that resonated well in light of Dead to Me's more spiky offerings and Against Me!'s sprawling palette. I enjoyed 'em to a relative extent.

I've only seen Dead to Me in bits and pieces, I think--the last time was a song or two from their Fest 8 set. Here, fans got treated to a nice mix of stuff from their two full-lengths, plus a cut from the fan favorite EP, Little Brother--all played with plenty of enthusiasm. I noticed Jack Dalrymple's absence more early on in the set, as similar as the quaver in guitarist Nathan Grice's voice can be. But by the time the band delved in later in the set, they had filled out his void well with their efficacious, energetic sound and a rather warm reception from the crowd. Chicken asked us how the fuck magnets work--referencing a certain viral video--but otherwise kept the banter to a friendly minimum.

Set list (7:47-8:23):

  1. Splendid Isolation
  2. Cause of My Anger
  3. Nuthin Runnin Through My Brain
  4. Arrhythmic Palpitations
  5. Something New
  6. Cruel World
  7. Liebe Liese
  8. Three Chord Strut
  9. A Day Without a War
  10. I Dare You
  11. Don't Lie
  12. X
  13. By the Throat

All I really wanted from Against Me! was a small handful of pre-Clarity material to sedate me--then they could play all the new jams they want. That was probably a feeling reflected by plenty other crowd members, and in any event, the band were certainly receptive to it. They played six of the 10 tracks on White Crosses, and several had big reactions, with plenty of singing along despite the album having another five weeks until its street date. While I liked most of New Wave, these songs had their moments but I did feel largely like they could be generic and repetitive ("White Crosses") or a little slower and boring ("We're Breaking Up") without showing the progressive bite they've shown to be so capable of ("Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists").

But, by no means did the lesser quality of these damage the set as a whole. Nor did the partially hidden third guitarist/keyboardist nestled in the back next to drummer George Rebelo. He only added a subtle layer that I suppose kept the sound consistently big.

Remember how Tom Gabel used to lead the band through an incredibly straightforward, straight-faced set without a single pause among songs and nary a word to the crowd? Well, while the band's certainly plowing through their set pleasingly with barely any sort of real break for themselves, he looked much happier here and managed to get a few words to the crowd here and there. He cheekily dedicated new song "Rapid Decompression" to the punks with a smile on his face that really never left it for that hour and 10 minutes, while the other black-clad fellas looked similarly joyous.

The songs that received the biggest reactions proved the interesting divide in the fanbase: the few Axl Rose tracks; "Sink, Florida, Sink"; and probably "Thrash Unreal" reacted in the most rambunctious push pits and fisted salutes.

Set list (8:55-9:57):
  1. High Pressure Low
  2. Don't Lose Touch
  3. New Wave
  4. White Crosses
  5. Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
  6. I Still Love You Julie
  7. Up the Cuts
  8. We're Breaking Up
  9. Amputations
  10. Teenage Anarchist
  11. The Ocean
  12. Miami
  13. Sink, Florida, Sink
  14. Suffocation
  15. Stop
  16. White People for Peace
  17. Thrash Unreal
    Encore (9:57-10:08):
  18. Rapid Decompression
  19. Cliché Guevara
  20. Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists
  21. Baby, I'm an Anarchist!

Against Me! lost me a bit at points, which was to be expected, but reeled me in plenty enough to sustain my interest and enjoyment better. There's a couple dates left, so if you haven't totally fallen off AM!'s wagon, this is probably a good tour to catch them on before they hit the (way) bigger places with Silversun Pickups, and then...well, who knows where.