Against Me! @ Paradise 6.9.11
by Emily Cassel (Journalism), published June 17th 2011
photos by Ryan Russell
“There probably won’t be a lot of moshing, right? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show at the ‘Dise where people were all-out moshing.” That was me, justifying my foolish decision to wear strappy gladiator sandals to Against Me!’s June 9th show to my much wiser, sneaker-clad friend. Well… I’m just gonna go ahead and file that under ‘Famous Last Words,’ because I greatly underestimated the Floridians’ live energy, and my feet got wrecked. So ladies (and gentlemen, if strappy sandals happen to be your thing) I’d like to present you with the five reasons you should NEVER, EVER be so cavalier about your footwear choices when attending an Against Me! show:
1. The pit. A no-brainer? Possibly, but it bears mentioning. Because, fun fact for everyone else out there who’s strictly attended indie rock shows at the Paradise: the entire ground floor of the venue will transform into a churning mass of bodies when you’re seeing a punk band. Seriously. As soon as the opening notes of ‘Cliche Guevara’ sprung from frontman Tom Gabel’s guitar, the place erupted into a slam-fest that didn’t stop until the final chords of ‘We Laugh At Danger (And Break all the Rules)’ rang out an hour and a half later.
2. The energy. Even if you manage to avoid the toe-crushing death trap that is the pit, you’ll be mad at yourself for the first 20 minutes of their set as you stand on the fringes and wish that you were enjoying life and hurling your body towards the other smelly, sweaty punk kids. And eventually, you’ll just give in and join the fray. Because when every audience member is singing along to a stellar set list that includes ‘Pints of Guinness Make You Strong,’ ‘Thrash Unreal,’ ‘Tonight We’re Gonna Give it 35 Percent’ and nearly every other Against Me! song you love, it’s pretty much impossible not to.
3. The pace. If you think you’re going to get a few minutes in between each song to regain your footing and catch your breath, think again. While Gabel might have paused long enough to grin and murmur, ‘Thanks,’ after one or two songs, the band never stopped assaulting their instruments long enough for the insanity to die down. Which reminded me of two things: I love this band, a lot, and I have to start going to the gym.
4. The drunk kid who isn’t so much moshing as getting pushed around and stumbling about. He will find you. He will step all over your toes. And he will spill beer on your feet (and your shirt, and your shorts, and impressively, your hair.) Keep a careful eye out for him.
5. Everything else about the set. Literally everything about the set will make you want to dance and jump around like a madman. Did the band include a classic cover? Of course ‘ an awesome rendition of The Clash’s ‘Janie Jones’ snuck into their encore. Did they play a new song? You betcha; the foursome unleashed ‘Russian Spies’ for the crowd’s aural pleasure. (Although they sold out of the 7′ right before I made my way to the merch table.) And did the crowd rule? Absolutely.
So there you have it ‘ the five reasons you should always carefully consider your footwear choices before an Against Me! show. Of course, should you find yourself en route to the show and realize you didn’t remember to change into your trusty Chucks beforehand, go anyway. Because while my toes were black, blue, and coated in beer by the time Against Me!’s hour-and-a-half long set drew to a close, it was still one of the best shows I’ve seen in a while. Totally worth it.