Recap: Against Me! at Durty NelliesPhil Collins - April 7, 2014
Friday night Against Me! headlined a show at Durty Nellies in Palatine. The band is on tour in support of "Transgender Dysphoria Blues," the excellent new album they released in January. This album is significant on two fronts, the first being that this is the first album Against Me! has released since lead singer Laura Jane Grace came out as a woman. Second, the band released "Transgender Dysphoria Blues" on their own Total Treble Records after putting out their last two albums on Sire, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records. So, this album cycle marks a new era in Against Me! history, likely the fourth era (pre-"Reinventing Axl Rose," "Reinventing Axl Rose" and the Fat Wreck Chords years, the Sire years, and the current era.) There seems to be more positive buzz from the punk community around "Transgender Dysphoria Blues" than there has been around the band for quite some time, and for good reason. The album is catchy, incisive and angry. It embodies what excited so many people about Against Me! in the first place. They played the majority of the album at Friday's sold out show, opening with "FUCKMYLIFE666" and blasting through "Unconditional Love," "True Trans Soul Rebel," "Drinking with the Jocks" and "Transgender Dysphoria Blues." The album's closer, "Black Me Out," was a raging anthem toward the end of the set. The band recently released an interesting shadow puppet video for that song. Check that out below.
Against Me! played plenty of older songs as well, closing the night out with "We Laugh at Danger and Break All the Rules," a still resonant anthem of DIY tours. They also played "Walking is Still Honest," "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong" and "I Still Love You Julie" off "Reinventing Axl Rose;" "Cliche Guevara," "Sink, Florida, Sink" and "Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists" off "As the Eternal Cowboy;" and "Don't Lose Touch" and "Miami" off "Searching For a Former Clarity." An unexpected highlight was "Ocean" off of "New Wave." I completely forgot about this song but it has a neat Latin bounce and the band performed it with passion.
Seeing Against Me! in such an intimate venue felt special. The other times I have seen them were at Warped Tour in 2006, the House of Blues in Chicago in 2007, Lollapalooza in 2010 and Riot Fest in 2013. Durty Nellies, of course, is the smallest of those venues by far. The band put on a great show each time, but this show had a more intimate feel simply because it was in a smaller room. Openers Laura Stevenson and the Cans and Cheap Girls put on fun sets to start off the night. Against Me! recently announced more tour dates, including a show at The Rave in Milwaukee on May 14 and a show the next day at Castle Theatre in Bloomington.