After cancelling a tour last October for personal reasons Against Me! returned to Australian shores with Epitaph heavyweights Off With Their Heads in tow. While Against Me! are no strangers to these shores, it was the first time Off With Their Heads had graced a stage in this country and it was a night few will forget in a hurry. On the first show of the tour in Brisbane Against Me! put all the cynics in their place with an amazing show. We were there and you can read the full show review here.
Off With Their Heads have found some success down under with their latest release, “In Desolation,” being heavily played on Australia’s largest alternative radio station. This success didn’t translate into bodies at the first show of their Australian tour with most punters clinging to the back of the room like there was an invisible force field between the band and the crowd. Did this deter Off With Their Heads? Hell no! The three-piece opened the show with “All I Can Do” and powered through their set with vigor despite their complaints of jet lag. Kicking straight into “Drive” was a crowd favourite which the 4 hardcore fans in the front sung at the top of their lungs.
The band were confined to the front the stage, coupled with their lack of energy meant they remained relatively still throughout the set. Guitarist and vocalist, Ryan Young’s gruff vocals were prime tonight and it’s hard to believe he saw the crowd at all with his eyes remaining closed as he sung the lyrics. The curse of the Hi-Fi meant that his guitar dropped in and out of the mix and was heavily distorted at times but when it made an appearance, that appearance was strong.
No onstage banter and few stops between songs meant that the band had powered through their set too quickly professing that they don’t usually play sets as long as the 30 or so minutes they had been allocated. After pondering the set list for a moment the band kicked on and “I Am You” saw drummer, Justin Francis singing along with Ryan. After a few more inclusions Ryan admitted “we’ve definitely thrown in the towel a lot earlier.” With “Falling Apart” and “Clear The Air” the set was done. It was solid set for the first Australian show the band has ever played and as a result many people eagerly await their return.
OFF WITH THEIR HEADS SET LIST
All I Can Do
Their Own Medicine
Go On Git Now
Fuck This I’m Out
Your Child Is Dead
Hard to Admit
I Am You
The Eyes of Death
Trying To Breath
That Must Be Nigel With The Brie
Clear The Air
I’m going to be brutally honest here. I’m one of those Against Me! fans who have become rather disenchanted since the band released “New Wave.” Do I think they sold out? No. Do I hate them for changing it up and moving down a path that is different from their roots? No. Is their new direction for me? No. The Hi-Fi filled with bodies from all demographics, a testament to the band’s newer records which have seen success on a larger scale. From the second Against Me! hit the stage they amazed and reminded everyone in the room just why they are such a successful and long running band in the punk scene. The short of it is that they really stuck it to the cynics in the room like me.
Against Me! opened the set with “Cliché Guevara,” and a high level of energy and enthusiasm that fueled the crowd which in turned fueled the band, like a tennis match of four versus a few hundred people. Kicking on the set with “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong” cemented this. This was their first tour to Australia with their new drummer, Jay Weinburg. Weinburg, for lack of a better description, is an absolute psycho on the pig skins. Smashing the kit in a manner that forced him to stand up at times, crazy eyes at other times and just his general show of excitement would have ensured a serious case of “bangers neck” when he woke up on Friday. He was awesome to watch and an even better drummer to boot playing everything almost half a beat faster than usual. But it sounded great.
Tom Gabel is the seasoned professional never losing the crowds attention. Not even for a second. Jolting his way through “Don’t Lose Touch” and “Miami” which the crowd sung louder than he did. James Bowman was savvy on his guitar duties but his back-up vocals were often lost in the crowds screaming additions.
There was a plateau in onstage energy toward the middle of the set which picked up again towards the end with “Reinventing Axl Rose” and “You Look Like I Need A Drink.” The set drew to a close with their encore and after “Sink, Florida, Sink” many people stood corrected. Against Me! never fail to disappoint live and the crowds reaction to both old and new material was evidence of that. Against Me! owned and probably always will.
AGAINST ME! SET LIST
From Her Lips To God’s Ears (The Energizer)
Don’t Lose Touch
High Pressure Low
White People For Peace
I Was A Teenage Anarchist
Rice and Bread
Reinventing Axl Rose
Walking Is Still Honest
You Look Like I Need A Drink
Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists
T.S.R. (This Shit Rules)
Sink, Florida, Sink
Thanks to Amy and Dave for contributing their setlist photos!
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