Against Me! will be headlining an all-ages show at the Viking Union Multipurpose Room on October 15 as part of Fat Wreck Chords’ Fat Tour 2005.
Against Me! might, without a proper introduction, seem like they’re just another punk band, but this quartet from the swamps of Gainesville is much, much more. The band started out as Tom Gabel’s acoustic solo act. In the beginning, Tom, who now performs the bands vocals and plays guitar, was an acoustic act who could oft be found playing in Gainesville’s laundromats. Eventually he got around to putting out his first official release, a six-song EP entitled “Crime As Forgiven By,” came out on Plan It X Records.
After “Crime As Forgiven By,” Gabel got some accompaniment— acoustic guitars and a stand-up bass— and released a self-titled second EP. This entirely acoustic EP is considered one of the definitive releases for the band.
This EP was followed up by the band’s first full-length album, “Reinventing Axl Rose.” The album was a shift for the band by incorporating electric guitars and basses into their sound, offering listeners a more traditional punk sound while still adhering to their acoustic punk roots on some of the more folksy tracks.
Their next release, “Disco Before The Breakdown,” further complicated their diverse sound with the addition of guest musicians and a horn section from No Idea Records. In addition to the new label, guest musicians, and horn sections, the band continued to further explore outside of the acoustic punk realm, journeying further into the sounds of traditional punk and rock.
After this album the band made the transition to their current home label, Fat Wreck Chords, where they released “As The Eternal Cowboy,” which offered a sound further from their acoustic punk roots than their previous offerings.
This brings us to Against Me!’s newest album, “Searching For A Former Clarity,” a mixture of the band’s newer, traditional punk sound, and a handful of eclectic influences. Sounds that range from the Clash’s bohemian-influenced sound to the twang of country rock can be found up and down the tracks.
The single from the album, “Don’t Lose Touch,” is an example of the diverse sound the album provides– providing listeners with stylistic choices ranging from early Specials and Clash all the way to an almost Buster Poindexter-ish gargle-voice— but is hardly representative of the album as a whole.
While listening to the album, I was reminded of a tremendous amount of different musical stylings, from Nancy Sinatra all the way to a more modern rock sound. Also, I would be surprised if I was the only person who was reminded of a Mountain Goats kind of vocal clarity in the opening lines of the title track. This is an album and, indeed, a band that is impossible to clarify and or cast into the bin of a specific genre.
Despite my desperate need for originality, however, my praises are not alone. Not only does the band have a massive, and sometime rabid, fan base, they’ve also been getting a tremendous amount of airplay and publicity; they were on Late Night with Conan O’Brien last Friday and will be opening for the ever popular Green Day at Carson, California’s Home Depot Stadium on October 8 and 9.
Against Me! will be playing with the Soviettes, Smoke or Fire, and local band Typical Ace. My prediction is that this will be the last tour for Against Me! in a format this intimate, so get your tickets fast because they’re going to go like hotcakes. It’s sure to be a fantastic occasion. Tickets are $10 for students and $12 for general admission. You can acquire tickets in person, or by calling 650-6146. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and the show will start at 8 p.m.