Monday, October 25, 2004

Blood Brothers, Against Me! / Bowery Ballroom / Oct. 25, 2004

As I exited the subway at the Bowery stop on the JMZ, I saw a kid skateboarding down the platform towards the up escalator. Yessss, I thought, this show is going to be SO AWESOME. Alas, ‘twas not the mosh-fest I expected. Perhaps everybody’s energy had been used up at Sunday night’s show (which was sold out; this one was maybe three-quarters full), but the frenzy level was far from red alert. I arrived halfway through Against Me!’s set, to find the stage crowded with kids shouting along to “Baby, I’m an Anarchist!” In an neat little twist of fate, the members of the band were wearing all black and the kids were wearing bright colors. It was probably the most beautiful thing I’ve seen all week, and it made me wish that I was still a carefree 14-year-old who did that type of thing. But besides the sing-along, a few body-surfers (including one in an Interpol t-shirt!) and an anemic pit, the crowd was about as active as the audience at a Sigur Ros show.

Against Me! were way more straight-forward punk rock than I anticipated. Everything I’ve heard by them has sounded like Billy Bragg leading a sports bar full of people cheering for the Red Sox, or something like that. But in the flesh, they were less Dropkick Murphys and more Anti-Flag.

Between sets, the dulcet sounds of various Phil Collins hits wafted over the PA. Oh, the irony! “In The Air Tonight” succeeded in making Blood Brothers sound even more intense than usual. I love these guys because they are such “girly-men”, as Ah-nold would say. The two singers have very effeminate mannerisms, wear tight clothes and say stuff like “This next song is for my new friend Sasha, because he brought me ice cream!” And, of course, they scream like little girls. Little girls hacking up their lungs in Dadaist bits over ADHD rhythms and melody-free guitar shredding. How the hell did this band ever get a major-label deal?