by WestCoast Weasel WestCoast Weasel and Photo Gopher
March 5, 2010

March 2, 2010

Rickshaw Theatre

Vancouver, B.C

From the lengthy conversation with Andrew Seward (Against Me!’s bass player) upstairs at Rickshaw Theatre to the pair of 7” records I scored downstairs, nearly completing my collection—it was already a memorable evening in the making.

The evening’s beloved headliners weren’t the only act I had high expectations for.  Cancer Bats were one of those bands I’d continually heard great things about, though regretfully had never experienced until tonight.  Setting the mood with a crimson medley of quotes from my favorite movie—Lost Boys—was a flawless initiation.

The seemingly large pit of fans dispersed immediately—separating the hardcore kids from the innocent bystanders (guilty as charged)—as the Bats made their descent.  A captivating, devil-locked front-man and his clan of gruff musicians unleashed a slaughter of Zack Wylde [Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society] approved guitar riffs along side a kindred N.Y hardcore sounding choral scorn.

Liam Cormier made friends quickly as he described his longing to be in Vancouver for the recent Olympic US & Canada hockey game.  He paid his respect both to opening act Jaguar Love—who played while my photographer and I stood, waiting in line despite our guest-listing—as well as the Against Me! camp.  Fan favorite “Pneumonia Hawk” was heard amid “Scared To Death” and a bone crippling Beastie Boys cover “Sabotage”—both from their newly released Sabotage EP and forthcoming album Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones.

Gainesville’s fab four soon surfaced while “These Boots Were Made for Walking” primed the walls of the sold-out theatre.  Testing new waters with a tale of anarchist past, Tom’s signature rasp cut through the pack with vigor as he disclosed “I Was a Teenage Anarchist” from the upcoming 2010 release White Crosses.  Instantly I felt a stronger connection with the band and crowd alike than at past performances.

Was it “White People for Peace,” “Don’t Lose Touch,” or future title track “White Crosses” that had my fist, my heart and—above all—my smile screaming within the set’s initial minutes?  While the latter is surely an enchanting instant classic regarding extremist fundamentalism, there is little room for awe outside of hearing the lyrics, “Turn gunshots and mortar blasts into a metaphor of how we are all the same / This is the party we came for” in “Cliché Guevera.”

Amongst Andrew’s signatory mannerisms, James’ trademark background cries and newcomer George’s bulls-eye drumming were amps with White Crosses style lettering.  One so boldly displayed what appeared to read “Fear breeds in honest men”—which is thought provoking at bare minimum.

“Because of the Shame” and “Suffocation” were the final pair of new material, the second being my least favorite of the bunch.  It did offer a ditty of a guitar solo; why they required a second (guest) rhythm guitar player is unknown.

Fresh from a handful of Florida home state club shows and a one-off stint in Seattle, they seemed genuinely at home in front of the significantly larger Canuck mob of 1000 faces.  “I wish Canada would adopt us,” he craved, with his command temporarily granted as they are set to embark on a country wide arena run with Billy Talent all month long.  Thankfully the Van-city vermin were the fortunate few who experienced an intimate tour opener as well as a setlist sure to rival the rest of the nation’s (in both length and song selection).  Hearing Tom’s recent solo cut “Amputations” along side classics “I Still Love You Julie” and “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong” provided a famously seasoned set as the clock turned to 11:00—a dreadful curfew for the city’s all ages shows.

Gratefully our southern souls returned, discounting the regulation and kicking into their (arguably) most triumphant tune of all: “T.S.R.”  “The party’s over / It was fun while it lasted / I hope everybody had a good time” echoed over the crowd who surely did. Cries of both surprise and endorsement rattled the room’s walls as the evening’s final number “Baby, I’m An Anarchist” assembled the crowd.  Originally a duet, in this instance it was a choir of all ages, races and (I’d bet) political stances.

Tom dodged crowd surfers and smirked at the scantily clad gal in the crowd, elevated with her back towards him.  Although it may have gone unnoticed to the chanting baron with whom I stood, I appreciated the contrast from the set’s opening take on anarchism to the closing radical anthem.  Showcasing the here and now, the career-planting seeds and all that flourished in between, Tom and his band of merry men avoid stagnation yet maintain relevance.  Well, boys, in spite of what fashion—it sure is great to know you.

…Weasel Was Here

HQ PHOTO ALBUM w/ Full Screen Option
Photographer: Kris “Photo Gopher” Mayor


Setlist:

  1. I Was A Teenage Anarchist
  2. White People For Peace
  3. Cliché Guevera
  4. Don’t Lose Touch
  5. White Crosses
  6. Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists
  7. Amputations
  8. New Wave
  9. Americans Abroad
  10. Because of The Shame
  11. I Still Love You, Julie
  12. Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
  13. Suffocation
  14. Miami
  15. Sink, Florida, Sink
  16. Stop
  17. Thrash Unreal

Encore:

  1. T.S.R
  2. Holy Shit
  3. Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious
  4. Baby, I’m An Anarchist

Visit Against Me! online:  againstme.net / myspace.com/againstme

“White Crosses” live

“Cliche Guevera” live

Comments

7 Responses to “Renegade Rock Review Vol. 17: Against Me! w/ Cancer Bats”

  1. Can’t wait to see them in Red Deer on the 11th… your review and the promise of lots of new material has me plenty more stoked than I was before I sat down at the computer to peruse westcoastweasel.com!

    Bee Keep’er up.

  2. roxrolz roxrolz says:

    The photo gopher is a great addition ,awesome pro shots

  3. [...] offerings). Not only was I privileged enough to interview Andrew Seward from Against Me! and review the show (with pro-shot photo gallery); Warner / Sire sent me a secure digital advance of White [...]

  4. telegraphrocks telegraphrocks says:

    Holy shit! I actually read an entire show review, a whole interview linked within, and actually liked both!

    Bravo, fuck-bucket! Bravo!

  5. jacknife737 jacknife737 says:

    Seeing this show on the 25th: i can’t fucking wait.

  6. red_eye_inc red_eye_inc says:

    Good review! I hope they squeeze Chicago into their schedule soon.

  7. PMAtill_imDOA PMAtill_imDOA says:

    everything about that show was retardedly amazing

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