Against Me! at Nile Theater Last Night

Against Me!
Nile Theater
Friday, January 28, 2011

It was, I imagine, with a touch of irony that Against Me! opened their show at the all-ages and bone-dry Nile Theater with "Pints Of Guinness Make You Strong."

"And just like James, I'll be drinking Irish tonight," sang Tom Gabel which, of course is funny when the sign at the back of the carpeted venue says "SNACKS."

No one in the near-capacity venue needed alcohol to get their energy up, though. The diverse, mixed-age crowd -- a dude with a gray goatee stood to my right, a girl with a mohawk was a row in front of me -- was chanting for the band before the took the stage. By the fourth song, "High Pressure Low," a circle pit had formed.

​In fact, if there was a problem it was a little too much energy. On stage. Specifically, behind the drum kit where the band's new drummer Jay Weinberg (and I didn't remember he was new or a celebrity's son when I noted this, though it's mentioned in a piece from our music section this week) pushed the pace way too hard to start. The band rushed to keep up, their songs losing some of their anthemic quality in the process. The show was still solid, but the band didn't sound nearly as tight as they came through town pimping Kia cars in 2009.

Weinberg is the new cog in an otherwise established lineup, so hopefully he'll settle in over time -- maybe a little drinking Irish before he takes stage would help calm the nerves to start. By "New Wave," he'd settled in a bit and by "White Crosses" ("This is a pro-choice song," Tom said by way of introduction) he was fully in the swing of things.

"I Was A Teenage Anarchist," the other single off the band's new White Crosses album followed shortly -- unfortunately the band leaned heavily on New Wave after that which was probably a relief to many, since the new album hasn't been as warmly received by critics and fans.

On "White People For Peace," Weinberg was back at the races, a trend that continued through "Americans Abroad" and Crosses' "Because Of The Shame."

"Miami," a hit-piece on a city some us would like to see wiped off the face of the earth with a Katrina-like storm, was a late-set highlight.

Following a short encore break the band did, "Tonight We're Going To Give it 35%," honoring a request on a sign near the front. "Rapid Decompression," also made it into the encore -- a song that starts with with rhetorical question "How Much Is Too Much."

That, I don't know. But I know how fast is too fast. Settle down, Weiny.

Critics Notebook:

Last Night
: Against Me! at Nile Theater

Personal Bias: I'm a fan of the band -- especially the last two albums. I am, however, not with Coco though I had no idea Max's son was the drummer until after I got home and started writing.

The Crowd
: Surprisingly diverse -- that's what happens when glassy mags like Spin love your records, I suppose.

Overheard in the Crowd: I heard the opener, Cheap Girls, was really good, though I missed them. I'll be checking them out today.

Random Notebook Dump: "Packed good energy chant before they cane out and a big clap along at the start."

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Martin Cizmar
Contact: Martin Cizmar