01/24: Live Baltimore: Playground Etiquette, Cubbiebear, Dive, Rites of Ash, Mike Sharp @ Metro Gallery
Words by Morgan Fecto, photos by Farrah Skeiky
Can anybody tell me why God’s not Against Me!? Why Jesus never called on me to go see Against Me!? Why death is easier than living…without Against Me!?
Against Me!, Tony Molina and Big Eyes last Friday at Rams Head were truly rejuvenating (and reinventing.) The openers left the delicious flavors of a Blue Album-era Weezer and a lost Crutchfield sister in my mouth, respectively, but I’ll let Pitchfork sing their praises. Against Me!’s performance gave me pints and pints to discuss.
I still love you, Against Me! As a 14-year-old girl attending high school in a middle-class suburb, of course Against Me!’s anarcho-punk touched me and my jean jacket in a very personal way. On Friday, Laura Jane and the gang’s setlist seamlessly mixed beloved faves from Reinventing Axl Rose and As the Eternal Cowboy with their newer songs. Their newest Transgender Dysphoria Blues initially seemed to me a paler, more contented version of those earlier albums (the boob lasagna on the cover, it’s only saving grace,) but the sneaky splicing of songs made the catchy rock ditties on Dysphoria sound like old friends. Much like Laura Jane during the set, the songs from Dysphoria were at once energized and at-peace with themselves, and they excited the crowd just as much as the oldies. Now it wasn’t the other fans, because there were other bands, but the show reminded me why Against Me! is great live…and alone in my room.
Against Me! turned clapping hands into not-so-angry balled fists. Never had I seen so much smiling and love at a show full of pseudo-punks (myself included) in cargo shorts (myself not included.) When a pit-kid got tired of the sweaty pile and climbed on stage, Laura Jane hugged him, and welcomed the crest of a new wave of stage divers. Even the very obviously snap-chatted crowd surfing from one stage-diver wasn’t enough to dampen the mood. Even when the guy in front of me put his hardly pre-pubescent son on his shoulders and bounced his ass in my face for four songs, it was fine. Laura Jane reassured me (and crowd members chanting “Pints!”) that we had something to look forward to: “It’s okay, there’s gonna be an encore.” And everything was all right, especially after the frontwoman returned alone to the stage to sing “Baby, I’m an Anarchist,” with hundreds of her fans shrieking along. Take that, One Direction.
All sharpied Chuck Taylor flashbacks and crusty mohawk-wearing audience members aside, Against Me! gave their fans everything on Friday: exemplary sound, cheeky interaction, and new hits. Most essentially, they proved that moshing is still honest.