Less than two weeks into their headlining tour, Against Me! displayed a career spanning set at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Fans were blown away with a barrage of hits and rarities, in a night filled with wall to wall punk rock.
Fans received a look at a rising-star band with the opener, Canadian trio The Dirty Nil, kicking off the night with their own brand of alternative/punk rock. The high-intensity rockers “Know Your Rodent” and “F$cking Up Young” woke the crowd up while heavy and melodic “Wrestle Yü To Hüsker Dü” had the crowd rocking and swaying to the beat. The band closed their set with the punk-driven “No Weaknesses”, with a little help from Fat Mike of NOFX singing on the end chorus.
Hailing from Los Angeles, the almost all-girl punk outfit Bleached took the stage and completely owned the crowd for their entire 40-minute set. A mix of Joan Jett meets Green Day, with a punch to the face of melody and harmonies. Not only did they capture the audience with their performance but also as musicians. The use of the punk standard I-IV-V chord progression let them breathe as musicians, showing off their soloing and ability to jump in and out of the pocket. Highlights of their set included “Sour Candy” , uniting the crowd into a hand-clapping beat, a no-holds-barred cover of Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings” and groove-heavy closer “Dead In Your Head”.
By the time Against Me! came to the stage, the ballroom was packed with fans. Throughout the 27-song set, the band let the music speak. The opening riffs of “True Trans Soul Rebel” sent the audience into a frenzy. The jam-packed hour and half long had the crowd singing the entire night; “I Was a Teenage Anarchist”, “Miami”, “Haunting, Haunted, Haunts”, “Unconditional Love”, and the whole show could be considered a highligh. Other than singing, vocalist Laura Jane Grace only addressed the crowd introducing a song or giving a “thank you” to supporters of the band and herself. Fat Mike also came out to sing on the night's closing number "Sink Florida Sink".
Although, yes, several songs' subject matter reflect Laura Jane Grace's transition from male to female, everyone in the audience, regardless of orientation or gender identity, felt connected to music, whether the lyrics were talking about transitioning, or broader subjects about being an outsider and overcoming obstacles. Grace recently was awarded the icon award at this year's Alternative Press Music Awards recognizing her as a forward-facing figurehead of the culture. With all fairness as well, this was in San Francisco, home to one of the largest LBGTQ communities and supporters in the nation, if not the world, but that night it didn't matter because everyone was just a fan.
Against Me!'s tour is only two weeks in and should be considered as a must-see for any fan of punk music. After California, the band will make its way through Texas, Illinois, Canada, and throughout the east coast before wrapping up in Florida in October. Check out all the dates on the band's website.
- True Trans Soul Rebel
- I Was a Teenage Anarchist
- ProVision L-3
- From Her Lips to God’s Ears (The Energizer)
- New Wave
- Up The Cuts
- Jordan’s First Choice
- Walking Is Still Honest
- Haunting, Haunted, Haunts
- Delicate, Petite & Other Things I’ll Never Be
- Androgynous (The Replacements cover)
- Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious…
- Unconditional Love
- Dead Friend
- Transgender Dysphoria Blues
- The Ocean
- Tonight We’re Gonna Give It 35%
- T.S.R. (This Shit Rules)
- Cliché Guevara
- Black Me Out
- Thrash Unreal
- Two Coffins
- Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
- Baby, I’m an Anarchist!
- Sink Florida Sink