Punk Rock is not dead. Not that anyone said it was. But Against Me! demonstrated just how alive it can be.
Although I was harboring some resentments about missing Fake Problems and SUFFERING through Cheap Girls, I managed to pull out of it when Against Me! descended onto the crowd. The previously meandering crowd rushed forward, thrashing stragglers aside when AM! hit the crowd hard with "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong." And I hope it does, because the floor remained a raging pit for most of the next 25 songs - yes 25 songs!
Tom Gabel belted out song after song with not so much as a pause between them, thumping his chest and laughing with the crowd. It was surprising that you could hear him at all over the singing of the masses. AM!'s high energy fueled the pit as as many people floated on top of the crowd as remained on the floor. The band was impeccable, with old timers James Bowman and Andrew Seward representing. The new drummer, Jay Weinberg, was f*%king awesome; he hit so hard you could feel it way in the back where the cowards (like me) danced safely out of the crowd's way.
"White Crosses," "I was a Teenage Anarchists," "The Ocean," "Thrash Unreal," "Miami," and "Sink, Florida, Sink" were amongst my favorite (shortened list), but I don't think they played a song the crowd didn't know and love. I was thrilled when they came out with "Up the Cuts" as their first of four encores - because yes, I am thinking what they are, and yes, I am restless like them. During the encore, avid fans jumped on stage, sang with the band, and stage dived back into the crowd unmolested by security. Punk rock.
This was one of those rare shows where I was not only concerned for the safety of my good friend crowd surfing in the pit, I also wanted the band to play on all night, regardless of the safety of said friend.
Very well done.
SET LIST (with videos, not of show):
Photo by P. Viani