Against Me!

Chameleon Club presents

Against Me!

The Sidekicks, The Shondes

Sat, January 11, 2014

7:00 pm

Chameleon Club

$15.00 - $17.00

This event is all ages

Against Me!
Against Me!
For Against Me! frontman Tom Gabel, sometimes you have to get the hell, out just to find your way back in. The past 12 years have seen Gabel rise from acoustic folk-punk gunslinger in the dives of Gainesville, Florida to releasing Against Me!’s four searing, blood-smeared slices of scrappy punk. The last of which, 2007’s New Wave, was the major label debut, one that Spin magazine anointed as their Album Of The Year. And while Gainesville was home, Gabel felt the walls closing in when touring for New Wave came to an end. So he split. With his wife, he left behind the “didja-hear-about-so-and-so” insular Gainesville world for the sleepy beach town of St. Augustine, wandering the streets and driving dusty back roads: searching, pining, hoping for inspiration.

He found it in spades. The result is White Crosses, as powerful and as bold a rock record as one can imagine. The band -– Gabel, guitarist James Bowman, bassist Andrew Seward and new drummer George Rebelo – roar like fighter jets screaming over a stadium on the anthemic title-track (with its shout along line about smashing the 4,000 crosses on a local church’s lawn, ones that signify the number of babies aborted each day in the U.S.). Joining that is the escapist fury of “Spanish Moss,” and the short stick of dynamite, “Rapid Decompression.” New Wave eschewed some of the roughness of the band’s earlier efforts, but White Crosses goes even further in filling out the band’s wallop. With its twinkling piano and a glorious whoa-oa chorus, “Because Of The Shame” could be an outtake from Bruce Springsteen’s classic Born To Run. “Ache With Me” is a slow-jam that would make Paul Westerberg blush, while “High Pressure Low” is Billy Idol meets fellow Gainesville native Tom Petty. “This is my Florida record,” says Gabel. “"I spent a lot of time writing this record while driving directionless on forgotten Florida state roads, highly caffeinated, with albums like [Petty's] Full Moon Fever blasting on my stereo."

Producer Butch Vig – who also helmed New Wave – pushed the band to make White Crosses more dynamic while retaining the bruising roundhouse rights they’ve thrown since their 2001 debut Reinventing Axl Rose. "Looking at it now I think [Vig] was a little conservative with New Wave. He didn't want to come in and scare us, says Gabel. "I think it was an unspoken agreement this time around that we were going to push ourselves farther than we ever had before. No direction was off limits. I'm not afraid of melody. I have visions of playing these songs in stadiums, looking out and seeing an ocean of people singing along."

Every band talks about their new record being that giant step forward. It’s one of the most hackneyed clichés in rock & roll. And few bands have the chops to back it up, but Gabel can, due to his growing maturity as a songwriter. Many of his previous lyrics were screed n’ splatter, so acutely in tune with his own and his band’s emotions that they were tough to penetrate. A sign of a great songwriter is one who takes something specific and makes it universal without resorting to tired tricks. On White Crosses, Gabel delivers. “New Wave was very much about my band and the music industry and once I had a little distance from it, I realized that it didn’t connect with some people,” he says. “With White Crosses, there was a real desire to abandon the storyline. I just wanted to wipe the slate clean and not think about any of that.”

Gabel’s writing prowess is most apparent on White Crosses’ centerpiece track, the sparkle-to-a-scream “We’re Breaking Up.” Ostensibly about the demise of Against Me! but it’s couched vaguely enough so that it could be gleaned as a tear-soaked ode to the demise of a romantic relationship. “It’s very much about what we were going through as a band over the past year,” says Gabel. "I was drawing from those experiences but at the same time I didn't want the song to be relatable to by only us. I wanted to open the sentiment up into something more universal."

That passion and verve is something that has never wavered with Against Me! Fueling that is the notion that Gabel hasn’t drawn a line in the sand for just himself, but also for his wife and infant daughter (Seward is also expecting his first child in August). "It gives you a different sense of purpose. It's always going to be important to me to question authority. But I want to do so in a way that is smart and honest to myself." he says. "If we were to come out now with our fifth record, screaming fuck the system! Now we really mean it! I'd feel like I was pandering to a scene I no longer feel a part of. I want to write without limitation. I want to let every thought in my head pour out onto the paper. Take a step back and figure out what I'm trying to say."
The Sidekicks
The Sidekicks
The Sidekicks are a punk band from Cleveland, Ohio. They are currently signed to Red Scare.

Matt- Drums....
Steve-Vocals & Guitar.. ..
Matt- Guitar & Vocals...
The Shondes
The Shondes
From its explosive, opening violin line, The Garden demands your full attention with a rhetorical challenge that makes you want to hold your head a little higher: "Who told you to give up on the garden?" Loss, recovery, survival, and hope take center stage in the title track, and then wind their way through all 11 songs in this defiant collection. Thematically grandiose? A bit. But disarmingly genuine at the same time, as is the hallmark of this band that has honed an uncanny ability to write inspirational anthems with a sense of humor that keeps them
believable. Indie rock irony is finally dead and The Shondes offer a potent
alternative. Rousing and raucous, sincere and spirited, this is what happens when the legacies of Bikini Kill and Bruce Springsteen join forces in Brooklyn's hardest-working band.
When powerhouse vocalist Louisa Rachel Solomon sings "I need a dream for right now" (Nights Like These), you believe her. The line doesn't come off as a pop cliché, but instead as an honest plea on an album that unapologetically dreams of a brighter future, and convinces you to take it seriously. Says
Solomon, "If there's one thing I learned from Riot Grrrl when I was really young, it's that you shouldn't censor your sorrow, rage, and joy in your songs... even if you're afraid it'll sound super cheesy." And so The Shondes invite you and your cheesy feelings in, too. The Garden is, after all, all of ours, a well-worn
metaphorical landscape that the band embraces to its fullest populist potential.
Nothing More Whole Than a Broken Heart is a fist-pumping paean to growing up, and borrows its refrain from a Yiddish proverb (befitting a band whose
moniker is Yiddish for "disgraces"). Solomon explains "The Garden is an album about the kind of growing up you do over and over again." And indeed, the band's fourth outing seems emblematic of fully coming into their own.
Described by Producer Tony Maimone (founding member of seminal
experimental rock band Pere Ubu) as "a band of scrappers," they have certainly fought for their recognition, building a devoted fanbase over eight years on the road, reliably offering their sweat and heartfelt emotion up night after night.
The Garden, recorded at Brooklyn's Studio G, may finally be the album that
captures the signature live energy that makes this band so special to their fans.
Peter Ames Carlin says "The Garden has the same wild finesse and seething
humanity of the Shondes' earlier work -- except now it sounds better than
ever....These power-punk-whip-smart- Brooklynites are the real thing, and then some." The album's photography was shot by iconic rock photographer Frank Stefanko, best known for his portraits of Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen (including the beloved covers of The River and Darkness on the Edge of Town). Stefanko says The Garden "takes hold and sticks with you," a vote of confidence The Shondes were honored to receive.
Venue Information:
Chameleon Club
223 North Water Street
Lancaster, PA, 17603