Against Me! @ Club Soda – 21st September 2016

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There’s a palpable sense of anticipation for tonight’s show; as if that wasn’t obvious from the packed venue tonight, then the huge cheer that greets the unfurling of the Against Me! stage backdrop removes any doubt.
As they bound on stage, frontwoman Laura Jane Grace simply says “Hello Montreal,” before diving into a set drawn heavily from the 2 most recent of their 7 studio albums, 2014’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues and this years Shape Shift With Me (accounting for 15 of the 22 songs between them). “True Trans Soul Rebel” kicks things off, sparking mass pogo-ing right off the bat, and a huge singalong. “333,” 12:03,” and “Dead Friend” follow, and are equally well received. “I Was A Teenage Anarchist,” from 2010’s White Crosses, takes things up another level, with the first batch of crowd-surfers launched from the back, and the crowd sings back “THE REVOLUTION WAS A LIE!” with as much ferocity as Laura does.

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After running through “Unconditional Love,” Laura promises all that although the new record was out last week, and they’re gonna play some new songs, “we’re gonna do some deep cuts too.” With that, they launch into the seldom-played “Tonight We’re Gonna Give it 35%,” from 2002’s The Disco Before The Breakdown. The set flies by at breakneck speed. New song “Delicate, Petite & Other Things I’ll Never Be” stands out, with its driving bass line, and a cover of The Clash’s “Train In Vain” gets everyone bouncing once more. Then the “deep cuts” arrive at once!

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“The party’s over…A CD skipping…” wails Laura on the intro to T.S.R., opener on 2003’s “As The Eternal Cowboy,” before the place sets off again, leading right into “Cliché Guevara” from that same record. “Walking Is Still Honest” from the 2002 “Reinventing Axl Rose” album comes next, swiftly followed by a raucous “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong” from that same record. It’s breathless stuff at this point! “Black Me Out” closes out the main set.

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A 4-song encore begins with Laura playing “Two Coffins” alone on an acoustic guitar under a spotlight; another great moment. The band rejoins for “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” and then “Rebecca,” before the show concludes with “Sink Florida Sink,” and one final mass singalong of “Whoaaaa, whoa – oh – oh – ah – ohhh” reverberating from the front of the venue to the back. The band leave the stage for good after 75 minutes. It’s a great set; only the lack of a single song from either of my two favourite Against Me! records (Searching For A Former Clarity and New Wave) precludes it from being outstanding in my book. Just not my lucky night though I guess; other shows on the tour have featured offerings from both. Nevertheless, a great return from the Florida 4-piece.

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Set List
1. True Trans Soul Rebel
2. 333
3. 12:03
4. Dead Friend
5. I Was a Teenage Anarchist
6. Unconditional Love
7. Tonight We’re Gonna Give it 35%
8. Crash
9. White Crosses
10. Haunting, Haunted, Haunts
11. Drinking With the Jocks
12. Delicate, Petite & Other Things I’ll Never Be
13. Train in Vain (The Clash cover)
14. T.S.R. (This Sh*t Rules)
15. Cliché Guevara
16. Walking Is Still Honest
17. Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
18. Black Me Out

19. Two Coffins
20. Transgender Dysphoria Blues
21. Rebecca
22. Sink, Florida, Sink

Review and photos – Simon Williams

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