Against Me!, Big Day Out (20 January 2013)

against me

Against Me! played on the same main stage that the Red Hot Chili Peppers would eventually close at the end of the night. But where the Chili Peppers’ sound was sketchy and inconsistent, Against Me! sounded bold and perfectly mixed, with heavy percussion, boisterous guitars and precisely mixed vocal levels.

On their early records, Against Me! had a more rambunctious, erratic sound, like a shaky pub rock band rattling the rafters. Their sound is more polished now (live and on record), leaning closer to punk rock than punk, and their set began with these more recent, poppier tracks like “Americans Abroad,” “White Crosses” and a favourite of mine, “New Wave.” Laura Jane Grace (formerly Tom Gabel)’s performance of “True Trans Soul Rebel” with lines like “I should have been a mother/I should have been a wife” carried an emphatic resonance.

The last few songs of the set showcased some of the band’s earlier work, with “Walking Is Still Honest” and “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong,” both from their debut, Reinventing Axl Rose, echoing through the Gold Coast Parklands (I would’ve loved to hear “I Still Love You Julie” as well, but it was good to hear any early stuff).

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