Sound: It's rare when you go to see four bands play and they are all musically adept and great showmen. From the second the opening band, Dick Nasty started, I knew this night was going to be special. I know very little about Dick Nasty (apart from the fact they are legends of the Brisbane hardcore scene but I was very impressed with their sound, much of which stemmed from their downright incredible drummer. He hit the tubs like the son Keith Moon and DH Pellegrio on speed and an acid trip, yeah, it was incredible. Also, for such a small club that looked as well used as The Rev, the sound quality was top notch. I guess it was one of those nights when everything just gelled. A Death In The Family, with their more subtle blend of punk took advantage of the great sound set up, utilising the buildings natural dynamics to create a very mature, catchy and honest pop-punk sound remiscent of the good old days of Hot Water Music. The Disables, yet another different type of band too were at home in the set up, warm rousing choruses, three chords and a bass player who looks like he trained by watching Matt Freeman play the solo's to 'Axiom' and 'Maxwell Murder'. For me, however, with everything else aside, Tom's voice perhaps was the very biggest musical highlight of the show, ranging from the sound of a chainsaw cutting through rusted steel to a soothing but eeiry moan. He really puts everything he has into it, I swear the vein in his neck was about to burst even as early as 30 seconds into the set. The crowd matched it and the band backed him up. It created such an atmosphere of unity and complex musical sounds all of which were downright amazing. // 10
Perfomance: The night started with local hardcore heroes Dick Nasty who I had always heard were pretty awesome. I had heard right as they thrashed out a rapid fire set of blistering Aussie Dischargesque hardcore that had the crowd thrashing around like mad bastards. Next up were another Aussie band (whereabouts they were from I don't know) by the name of A Death In The Family. At first, I thought they were gonna be a lame screamo act with a name like that but they turned out to be a totally catchy, actual 'emo' band in the vein of Jawbreaker, later Husker Du, Avail and Face To Face. Totally different to Dick Nasty but still totally decent and the crowd seemed to get right into them after their first couple of songs. Next up were the Godfathers of the '90s Brissy punk scene, The Disables who I have already seen a number of times. Think Stiff Little Fingers meets Sham 69 via The Dropkick Murphys and 90's Rancid. Basically, they are one of the best live acts I've ever seen (and I've seen a few) and tonight was to be no exception. They opened with crowd favourite and current single, 'Asio' and relentlessly tore through a slew of singalong punk classics like 'Reason For The Treason' 'Damned If You Do' and 'The Lackey Country' as well as a couple of covers including one of 'Dirty Ol' Town' by The Pogues. As they left the stage after the damn catchy 'Girls don't like us (cause we don't play football)' and I greedily snatched up their setlist the slow chant of Against Me! began.
It didn't seem at the time if anything could follow have followed The Disables up, but out came Against Me!, already begining the opening bars of 'From her lips to god's ears (the energizer)' from their latest album 'Searching for a former clarity'. And follow up they did. Right from the outset their performance was relentless - a mix of caustic emotion, fantastic musicianship, anger, urgency and a warm fuzzy feeling of joy as the crowd screamed 'Condoleeza!' straight back at guitarist Tom Gabel. Drummer Warren Oakes pounded away like some form of skinny, hairy insane space monkey with mouth wide open, screaming along to the lyrics despite the fact he didnt have a mic yet. I have never seen a drummer dance while playing so god damn hard! Tom screamed white hot musical fury down at the audience who yelled along to every word while Andrew and James thrashed their bass and guitar with merciless power and precision while bouncing around the stage completely out of control. It was a spectacle to behold. The band tore through crowd favourites like 'Pints of Guinness Make You Strong', 'TSR' and 'You Look Like I Need A Drink' as well a few new tunes off SFAFC including the yellalong classic 'Miami' and the crowd matched every word of every song which seemed to suprise the band (this was their first ever australian show)who reacted by playing even harder. After an hour of pure folky punky energy, Against Me walked offstage to the sound of 450 odd kids screaming for more. The lights went down and just as I was going to start pushing my way out, Tom came back onstage alone (joined by the band later) and played 'Joy', in my opinion on of the best songs Against Me! has ever written. It was a suiting way to end such an amazing show, there truly was 'joy in all I could see'. // 10
Overall Impression: Against Me! - The Disables - A Death In The Family - Dick Nasty at The Rev in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia on Saturday the 11th of February. I'd never been to The Rev before this expedition but I was very impressed from the moment that I walked through the door- it looks like in a previous life it was a church or something because of the huge doors, crumbling stone walls and stained glass windows. A very cool venue with a bunch of really friendly bartenders and relatively cheap beers. But the best part was the stage. The bands literally stand only slightly above you. I myself spent the whole night with my arms resting on the center-left foldback rack. There are no barriers as you usually get in bigger venues so the show really becomes a face to face experience. And the whole effort only cost $22 bucks a ticket. I have paid much more to see bands before and left only half as impressed as I did this night. I also really appreciated the mix of styles the show incorporated - the hardcore of Dick Nasty, the poppy maturity of A Death In The Family, The spirited streetpunk/oi of The Disables and the incredible blend of folk punk and rock that makes Against Me! Freaking amazing show, great atmosphere, great bands, great crowd. Top Notch Effort - if Against Me! ever come back I will be sure to go check them out again. As for the support acts, particularly The Disables, I will be sure to catch them again next time I wander up to Brissy. // 10