Line Out Music & the City at Night

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Against Me!, Jaguar Love, and Cancer Bats at Neumos

Posted by on Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 12:37 PM

"Is there anyone in this room that wants to have a motherfucking good time?" screamed Cancer Bats' frontman Liam Cormier. Of course everyone did. And the Cancer Bats made it happen. The band thrashed through their songs—headbanging, encouraging circle pits, saying the word "motherfucker" every chance they got—and the crowd ate it all up. While their newer stuff is a little more stoner metal than I remember them being in the past, a lot of their songs were still delivered with a good-time/party vibe, like a hardcore band that had been listening to a lot of Appetite for Destruction during the song-writing process.

The highlight was when they delivered a bombastic cover of the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage," a song I used to love but (as Segal with and his relationship with "Love Will Tear Us Apart"), it's a song I always thought I never ever needed to hear again. Especially when being played by another band—a Canadian metal band. But it was awesome—huge energy, playful but still bad ass. With it, the circle pit grew. By the time the Cancer Bats were done, everyone in the first half of the crowd was smiling and sweaty. That was the way to open the show.

Jaguar Love—ex-Blood Brothers Cody Votolato and Johnny Whitney (with an unidentified live drummer, anyone know who that was?)—didn't receive such a warm reception. As they set up on stage, a group of teens behind me were already taunting them, yelling out zingers like "What is this, Owl City?" and "They're gonna do a Flock of Seagulls cover!" There were a few "Fuck you!"s and "You suck!" too.

Things didn't really get better once they started playing. Johnny Whitney's notoriously bratty vocals sounded even whinier than they did in his Blood Brothers days, as he competed with JL's metallic, buzzing synth riffs. It was a sleazy punk rock disco, but hardly anyone was dancing. I don't know if it was Whitney's over-teased hair and shiny high tops, or the dance beats mixed with shrill screams, but I was starting to have one too many Brokencyde flashbacks. The crowd, save for the first few rows of kids against the stage, was starting to turn on them more and more. Halfway through the set, the boos began to overpower the cheers.

The turning point was when they did a cover of their own. It wasn't Flock of Seagulls, but maybe that would've been a better idea. They trashed Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart," a song generally reserved for drunk soccer moms at the office karaoke party (number two to Stevie Nicks' "Edge of Seventeen). Their dirty synth crashed into the song's classic melody and Whitney yowled out "Coooome on, coooome on, take it!" I did not like it. I do not want to hear it again.

The sold-out crowd was understandably restless by the time Against Me! took the stage—the band could've farted on a snare drum and they probably would've moshed to it, so they happily made up for any energy the band lacked at first.

Tom Gable didn't say a word as Against Me! took the stage and blasted into their opening song, "Because of the Shame," a new tune that will probably be on their upcoming record White Crosses. It sounded a lot like a Gaslight Anthem song. (You can hear a shoddy recording of them playing it last year here.)

Gable and Co. went straight into one song after another. They didn't even introduce the keyboard player they had tucked off to the side of the stage (and why he was there, exactly, I'm not sure—I heard keyboards only once, in the intro to another new tune called "Modern Life in the Western World"). They played stuff from Reinventing Axl Rose, Searching For a Former Clarity, one song from Gabel's solo release ("Amputations"), and a few more new tunes that were pretty good but not great (I feel like they've been listening to more Springsteen than ever before).

The only time anyone on stage spoke was when Gabel gave one quick introduction for the new "High Pressure Low" ("This song's for anyone out there who feels like they're losing their mind") and one obligatory "Thanks for having us." But despite the lack of on-stage personality, Against Me! still sounded great. They always have, they probably always will. Even if their newer material sounds more polished and less passionate. It was obvious that they had been playing these songs night after night for forever, and the songs were delivered with enough energy to appease the raucous crowd. But sometimes the band made it look so effortless that they ended up looking bored, like a band for hire. Which, essentially they are, I suppose. But they don't have to rub our faces in it.

Only when they came back for an encore, in fact, did they give any sign at all that they were having a good time. Gabel told a somewhat lengthy story about the last time he came to Seattle and almost OD'd... on Red Bull. And he talked about how Cody Votolato from Jaguar Love sat with him in the Emergency room while doctors pumped saline into his body to stave of dehydration. He praised Votolato for being a good friend and thanked Jaguar Love for playing, and everyone cheered. There was a lot more cheering for that, in fact, than there was for any of Jaguar Love's set.

Against Me!'s setlist:

1. "Because of the Shame" (new song)
2. "New Wave"
3. "I Still Love You Julie"
4. "Don't Lose Touch"
5. "White Crosses" (new song)
6. "Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists"
7. "Amputations" (from Tom Gabel's solo EP Heart Burns)
8. "Pints Of Guinness Make You Strong"
9. "Reinventing Axl Rose"
10. "High Pressure Low" (new song)
11. ???
12. "Rice and Bread" (maybe?)
13. "Americans Abroad"
14. "Modern Life in the Western World" (new song)
15. "Miami"
16. "Sink, Florida, Sink"
17. "Stop"
18. "Thrash Unreal"


19. "T.S.R. (This Shit Rules)"
20. "White People for Peace"
21. "Walking Is Still Honest"
22. "Baby, I'm an Anarchist!"


Comments (18) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
excluding a house show in bellingham...this was the best i've seen Against Me! play
Posted by kc on March 2, 2010 at 1:04 PM · Report this
J. Burns 2
I think the drummer might have been the dude from Nazca Lines. I know they dropped off a show they were going to play with us a year ago, so dude could go save the Jaguar Love tour when J. Clark quit.
Posted by J. Burns on March 2, 2010 at 1:10 PM · Report this
Love the Cancer Bats!
Posted by brokn2pieces on March 2, 2010 at 1:45 PM · Report this
I think at this point most people can agree that Against Me suck/don't matter. Reinventing Axl Rose and As The Eternal Cowboy are two of my favorite records, but everything after that is laughable

What i find interesting is the Past Lives/Jaguar Love situation. As someone that saw the Blood Brothers from pretty much the beginning to their end it's kind of intriguing to see how the split of that band is working out.

I'll admit that i think Past Lives are pretty great and Jaguar Love are pretty awful, but I think it's also pretty interesting how obvious it was which band would be jocked by local media. You have to give Jaguar Love credit for doing something different. I'm not into it, but I think it's worth mentioning that Past Lives is pretty much the Blood Brothers without Johnny and Cody. Not just the people in the band, but the sound as well. That doesn't mean that they don't kick ass.

I don't know if I really have a point here other then The Stranger being predictable, I just find it interesting.
Posted by Cappelletti on March 2, 2010 at 2:44 PM · Report this
T 5
This show gets a resounding "meh" from me. Cancer Bats were alright, but not my thing. Jaguar Love was uncomfortably reminiscent of shit like Brokencyde (I'm embarrassed to admit that I own their first EP and album). Side note: I'm generally not a fan of booing shitty bands, but I'm even less of a fan of people shouting "faggots" and "homos" at a shitty band. But Against Me!'s crowds have gotten frattier and douchier with each passing year, so I was fully prepared for Jaguar Love to get that kind of reception.

As for Against Me!, the new songs were totally boring and I'm now officially wary of White Crosses (but then again, I hated New Wave when it first came out). The old stuff didn't have the same passion behind it that it used to. "Walking is Still Honest" was played at about 75% speed and felt like a totally different song. The band played just fine overall, but they don't feel like the same band anymore (though they never were a very chatty band on stage).

Anyway, 2 corrections Megan:
1. You spelled Gabel as "Gable" in a couple places.
2. The story about OD-ing on Red Bull happened the last time they played Neumos, not Seattle (they've been back a couple times since their last Neumos appearance). I remember because they were playing with the Blood Brothers, and I think it was the release show for Crimes, so Blood Brothers were actually headlining over AM!. Anyway, I definitely remember that Tom looked like shit at that show. It was back in late 2004, I think.
Posted by T on March 2, 2010 at 2:44 PM · Report this
T 6
@4 I'd say The Stranger's coverage of Jaguar Love and Past Lives has been pretty even. Past Lives has actually had at least 2 articles printed in the paper that I can think of; can't think of a single Jaguar Love piece that's been printed.

While I agree that Past Lives is basically the Blood Brothers without Johnny and Cody, I'd also go a step further and say Jaguar Love is basically the Blood Brothers without Jordan, Morgan, and Mark. Past Lives took the sneering post-punk/post-hardcore route while Jaguar Love got the snotty pop and dance-punk sensibilities. If you go back and listen to Young Machetes (and to a lesser extent Crimes) in the context of the bands that followed from their breakup, it's easy to see how these two groups came out of the Blood Brothers' breakup.

At any rate, I have no problem with bands trying something "different," but that alone doesn't automatically deserve praise, especially when the results are as awful as Jaguar Love. For the record, I actually kind of liked Jaguar Love's first EP when it came out, but I think that was because it wasn't long enough to wear out its welcome. Past Lives is the better band by far.
Posted by T on March 2, 2010 at 3:15 PM · Report this
Jaguar Love drummer - Zach Richards. New to Portland, from Dallas where he played with numerous bands (Halto Bravo, Evello, etc.) Also currently plays with a new Portland electro-indie band called Party Girls.
Posted by jrlacyjr on March 2, 2010 at 4:43 PM · Report this
Isn't the time of screamy electro-pop over? It's not like Jaguar Love was ever visionary, but it's an idea/format that is completely past its time. It's a shame to see Cody V. (an absolutely INSANE guitar player who makes the Jesus Lizard look boring) go to total waste on disposable music like Jag Luv.
Posted by Casual_Observer on March 3, 2010 at 2:37 AM · Report this
I thought this show ruled. I'm surprised by the negative comments. 95% of the crowd was going nuts unlike where so much of the time they stand there with their arms crossed. Everybody was singing along to most every song. Love the new stuff. I want them to evolve and change it up. I don't need the same records over and over again. Also, they said they had a blast and love playing Neumos and Seattle. It's one of their favorite places in the country. We'll just have to agree to disagree that Against Me! has always and will always my mind at least.
Posted by Steven Severin on March 3, 2010 at 7:18 AM · Report this
dan10things 10
@8 - I loved the Blood Brothers, but totally cannot agree that Cody makes the Jesus Lizard look boring. Different types of bands and music, and in punk rock history, the Jesus Lizard will certainly be remembered for making a much bigger impact.

Am I the only early Against Me! fan that really likes "New Wave?" I find these days I play it more than the first two LPs because I've played those to death already.
Posted by dan10things on March 3, 2010 at 12:04 PM · Report this
Megan Seling 11
@10 You're not alone. I really like *most* of New Wave. "Thrash Unreal" is a great song. (Even if the "No mother ever dreams that their daughter will grow up to be a junkie" line always makes me think of that anti-drug ad in the ’80s.)
Posted by Megan Seling on March 3, 2010 at 12:16 PM · Report this
I thought it was a totally awesome show. The energy from AM! and the crowd worked well. Neumos shines when a fun crowd and great band show up the same night. The AM! reminded me of how great the venue is. Security was there to help but everytime someone in the crowd fell down two or three people picked them up. Thanks to Neumos for making these events happen. BTW, they played almost the same set in Vancouver at the Rickshaw last night.
Posted by larrylove on March 3, 2010 at 12:25 PM · Report this
Jaguar Love was fucking genius. Most AM fans wouldn't know good music if it smashed them over their neanderthalish skulls.
Posted by Brian100 on March 3, 2010 at 1:44 PM · Report this
dan10things 14
@13, you probably could have left the second sentence out if you wanted anyone to take your opinion on music seriously. Note to self, Jaguar Love is horrible.
Posted by dan10things on March 3, 2010 at 3:10 PM · Report this
LEE. 15

I've often wondered that about Cody Votolato as well... without the Jesus Lizard bit. it might have to do with the fact that the guy is kind of a doucher. talented, yes. but a doucher.
Posted by LEE. on March 3, 2010 at 4:15 PM · Report this
Against Me has the balls to still play "Reinventing Axl Rose" live with a straight face? Wow.
Posted by Nick on March 5, 2010 at 11:28 AM · Report this
T 17
@10 You're definitely not alone. I hated New Wave at first, but it really grew on me and is now my second favorite behind As The Eternal Cowboy. I still maintain that "Animal" is one of the worst songs they've ever written though, and I'm not too crazy about the song with Tegan or Sara.

As a side note, I listened to SFAFC for the first time in a long time before the show and there are a lot of totally forgettable songs on that album. I actually find it hard to believe I liked so much when it first came out.
Posted by T on March 5, 2010 at 11:43 AM · Report this
@Dan10things I am not saying that the Blood Bros will ever be as "legendary" as Jesus Lizard by any means. Just comparing styles (both busy as hell and captivating in their own weird ways...), and saying the guy has amazing chops that I totally adore(d). The fact that Cody V is wasting them on Cap Hill ironic neon coke party soundtrack jizz is a total waste of talent.

I have nothing to say about Against Me.
Posted by Casual_Observer on March 5, 2010 at 5:15 PM · Report this

Add a comment


Want great deals and a chance to win tickets to the best shows in Seattle? Join The Stranger Presents email list!

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy