Summer time in New Haven is interesting because most of the Yalies have gone home and only true New Havenites remain in the city. Because of this, weekday shows are usually pretty poorly attended. I was surprised to see Toad’s Place more than half full when Against Me! took the stage around 10pm.
I suppose it should not have been much of a surprise. In the 11 years since their debut EP, Against Me! has gone from a folk punk duo into one of the best selling punk bands in America. Their latest album, White Crosses reached number 34 on the Billboard200. Perhaps that’s why it was no surprise that the setlist was a little White Crosses heavy. In their hour and a half long set, the group blazed through tracks like “Because of the Shame”, “Rapid Decompression”, “High Pressure Low”, “White Crosses”, and “I Was a Teenage Anarchist.” A good portion of the crowd knew and loved the songs but there were a bunch of fans that clearly had not followed Against Me!’s major label catalog. For those old school fans, there was more than a respectable mix of songs from their first three albums including favorites like “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong”, “Reinventing Axl Rose”, “T.S.R.”, “Sink, Florida, Sink”, “Miami”, “From Her Lips To God’s Ears (The Energizer)”, and “Don’t Lose Touch.”
While that might seem like a long setlist, I can assure you that that is not even the half of it. Against Me! has the stage presence similar to the Ramones; they rarely speak while on stage and just seamlessly transition from one high energy song to another. This is both exciting and exhausting to watch. The boisterous crowd had to pick and choose when to rest because even relatively young fans could not quite keep up with the band’s energy.
When the band left the stage, I felt like they took an inordinately long amount of time before coming out for an encore. At first I thought it was because the crowd was not exactly chanting for more songs but then I realized it was probably because Tom Gable and the boys needed a little breather before coming out an finishing up the set. The encore was a brief four songs, finally closing with “We Laugh at Danger and Break All the Rules.”
MP3: Against Me! “Don’t Lose Touch (Live)”