"Hearing the lyrics “Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?” being sung out anthemically by almost every person in the room made it a definite gig highlight."
Four-piece punk outfit from Florida, Against Me!, came onto the stage, asked how the fuck we were and received cheers in unison by the predominantly young crowd at Adelaide Uni Bar.
The band kicked off with FuckMyLife666. Lead singer Laura Jane Grace sang, “I don’t have the heart to match the one pricked into your finger,” and it reverberated through the venue. Cliché Guevara was next, the crowd’s energy levels moving up a notch, and then Pints Of Guinness Make You Strong had everyone subconsciously banding together. There were tons of smiles from the vocalist throughout the gig, giving the impression she was genuinely enjoying the crowd and the buzz of performing. Often, she was obscured by her long sweaty strands of hair, but not out of shyness. We were also treated to I Was A Teenage Anarchist, and hearing the lyrics “Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?” being sung out anthemically by almost every person in the room made it a definite gig highlight.
Grace gained the audience’s full trust as she belted out each song, pushing out each word like it mattered, particularly with tracks like the old-school punk rocker, Miami, and the melodious metal-ish Don’t Lose Touch. Thrash Unreal prompted some audience moshing and Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists featured a lengthy musical solo. The band switched into serious mode when performing The Ocean, notably different from their usual style with its Caribbean-does-punk feel. All of Against Me!’s songs are generally punk-based but then infused with a second genre: How Low?, a versatile highlight, was a striking example of a punk-blues infusion. Grace began a short thank you speech (and it was then possible to detect her slight Southern accent) before the band began to close out with Black Me Out and the unpretentiously rocking True Trans Soul Rebel. The band exited and the crowd chanted “One more song”, which got Against Me! out onto the stage again, the encore a grooving, feelgood cover of The Replacements’ Androgynous. The night ended with Sink, Florida, Sink, which is, surprisingly, a great live song (although one wouldn’t necessarily think it from the studio version) and a good choice to wrap up the evening given its poetic singalong feel (“we drown and what is lost can never be found”).
All in all, this gig showed that the band was in tight form and happily having a blast with an eager group of Adelaidians, all of whom appreciated a hearty serving of punk rock angst.
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