Artist: Against Me!
Album: Americans Abroad!!! Against Me!!! Live in London!!!
Comments: I am usually opposed to live CDs. I feel like they are just re-releases, shitty re-releases. Essentially you pay $15-$20 for the same songs you bought before except this time the songs are a lot sloppier. Although I’m opposed to live cds I still buy them out of support if one of my favorite bands happens to puts one out.
This past august Against Me! put out their first live cd and their last cd on Fat Wreck before moving on to Sire Records. The cd starts with the recording of “A Brief yet Triumphant Intermission” and immediately breaks into their most recent single “From Her Lips to God’s Ears”. I was surprised to find that they had slowed the song down unlike most artists, who tend to speed everything up when they play live. Even more surprising however is how tight the band sounds you almost get the impression that the live cd was done in Blink-182 fashion (recorded in a studio with a crowd mixed in afterward).
The next two songs on the cd are short but hard hitting. “Rice and Bread” serves as a great set up for fan favorite “Reinventing Axl Rose”. After that quick blast, comes the one new song that the band did for the cd, “Americans Abroad”. If you liked Against Me!’s last studio cd, Searching for a Former Clarity, then you’ll like “Americans Abroad”. The new song, about the insecurities of being an American in another country, starts witch just guitar and drums quickly picks up in Against Me fashion to pound the song home.
Then the band play “Those Anarcho Punks are Mysterious” followed by “Miami” the opening track for Searching. Then the band plays their most commercially successful song, “Don’t Loose Touch”, followed by the most unique song Against Me! has written, “Unprotected Sex with Multiple Partners”. Most people would never guess that Against Me! would ever write a song like Unprotected Sex, when the song starts it sounds like a Franz Ferdinand rip off band, but by the end of the track it is still clear Against Me! hasn’t abandoned their folk-punk roots.
The next five songs are all high-energy crowd favorites mostly from “As the Eternal Cowboy”. In the middle of that block they play “Turn Those Clapping Hands into Angry Balled Fists”, one of the high points on the cd. Clapping Hands starts as one of the slower song on the cd and is a song that is about everything from what most houses are made of to insulting the drummer, Warren Oakes’ drum beats. As the lyrics finish it almost seems like the band that had been unbelievably tight until now breaks down. The bassist isn’t actually playing anything, the guitars are out of time and out of key with everything, the only part of the song that hasn’t gone to hell is the drums, and just when you’re wondering just how much more you can take the band snaps back together to finish the song like nothing happened.
The band finishes the regular set with their most beloved song “Pints of Guinness Make you Strong” and even though the band has been at it over forty minutes they still sound as fresh as they did at the beginning of the cd. The boys of Against Me! come back for their encore with more energy than ever, starting the extra songs with “Cliché Guevara” and ending the whole show with “We Laugh at Danger (and Break all the Rules)”. When the band starts We Laugh at Danger the crowd who had been more then audible the entire cd explodes, especially at the end of the song where the crowd sings and claps on their own, putting a smile on your face and making you feel like you were at the show.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Key Tracks: “Rice and Bread”, “Reinventing Axl Rose”, “Turn Those Clapping Hands into Angry
Balled Fists”, and :We Laugh at Danger (and Break all the Rules)”
Worth the Money: Only if your already a fan, if not buy Reinventing Axl Rose first
Note: Big thanks to John for kicking off Listen Up!'s first ever guest week. John is the lead singer, bass player, and primary song writter of one of western NY's most up and coming punk bands, Back For Seconds. Their first album "Get Awesome" is avaialbe through the band's myspace. Here's the adress: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=12504920