Last Sunday Against me! returned to Portland, OR for a sold out show with The Dirty Nil and Bleached. The last time the band stopped by Portland was for a sold out show opening for Bad Religion at Roseland Theater.
This time Against Me! performed as the headlining act at The Wonder Ballroom. The venue which has the capacity of around 800 people, allowed the fans the freedom they needed to enjoy a high intensity punk show by ridding themselves of a guardrail and having security monitor the show from the sides of the stage. As the crowd grew larger and larger, a comradely between fans became noticeable. There were people from the age range of sixteen to sixty. Some were there to see the new Queen of the LGBTQ community Laura Jane Grace and to hear new songs from ‘Shape Shift With Me’. Others were long time fans, older dirty street punks, and anarchists. Be it what you were, what you considered yourself, at Against Me! the crowd became one when the band came to the stage, decked out in all black, a signature look of the band since their early days in Gainesville, Florida. From the moment ‘True Trans Soul Rebel’ began, the crowd never stopped moving. Bodies were immediately on the top of the crowd’s hands, hoarse and high voices sang back every word as if religious doctrine, and by the end of the first song sweat was pouring down the faces of Against Me! and their fans.
During ‘Up The Cuts’ my buddy launched me into the air and then five other fans. When the fans threw us on the stage, I noticed one of the crowd-surfers was a Grandma of at least sixty years of age, and like all the stage divers, she threw her body back on top of the crowd just like myself. During the encore fans who knew nothing about each other wrapped arms around shoulders and swaying back and forth during the sing along conducted to ‘Baby, I’m An Anarchist’. Some of the other highlights of the set include, ‘Cliché Guevara’, ‘New Wave, ‘Miami’, ‘Walking is Still honest’, ‘We Laugh at Danger and Break All The Rules’, and ‘Pints of Guinness Make You Strong’.
I had no worries that Against me would put on a phenomenal live show, they always do, that is their calling card, but like Laura Jane Grace said half way into their performance, “Sometimes the crowd makes the show”, and this was one of those rare times where Against Me! was feeding on the crowd’s energy instead of the other way around.
Below is the official music video For Against Me!’s ‘Black Me Out’.