O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
August 29, 2015
Even the casual observer must have sensed something brewing as a mass of tattoos and plaid shirts descended on Shepherd’s Bush Green on Saturday night.
The tattooed arms rose and the crowd surged as one the moment Against Me! took the stage. After framing the set with a list of the inequalities and -isms they stand against, the band let the music speak for itself. Powering through 13 hardcore punk songs at break-neck speed, Transgender Dysphoria Blues was a particular highlight. Lead singer Laura Jane Grace was so often lost in a blur of hair, but nothing could hide the smile as she watched the word-perfect loyal fans reaching out.
Against Me! made it hard to remember that they weren’t the headliners – at least until The Gaslight Anthem appeared. The reason fans had flown in from all over the world. The reason they’d queued in the rain since the early hours. For this was the band’s last headlining show for the foreseeable future, having recently announced a hiatus to pursue other projects.
It was no wake, though. The night unfolded as a joyful retrospective of the band’s 9 year career. Whether taken from the band’s latest album, Get Hurt, or their earliest EP, each song was greeted jubilantly and the band seemed genuinely touched. Highlights amongst the 24 tales of little victories and private despair were Boomboxes and Dictionaries and a surprise duet of Great Expectations with Frank Turner.
When it was over, the crowd dispersed happy to have been a part of an unforgettable evening with a band that means everything to them…to us. Stay lucky, see you on the flip side.
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