Against Me! – Leeds Cockpit

By paul

A lot of people have had something to say about Against Me! in the months since they signed to Sire Records, and it certainly seems that many of them want to see if it?s affected their live performance in a positive or negative manner as The Cockpit is rammed full tonight.

If you?ve been reading Punktastic over the last week you?ll have noticed me professing my love for MILLOY in a recent review of their album More Than A Machine. Tonight I only manage to catch 3 songs as I had to rush off to interview Against Me! (which will appear on this month?s podcast), but what I heard was top class as usual. It would be unfair for me to score their performance having not seen all of it, but they dominate The Cockpit?s main stage with the same effortless grace that they do every pub in Leeds and have been doing for years. Their hard work is bound to start paying dividends very soon.

Quickly coming back from the interview I catch a good half of MURDER BY DEATH. Having neglected to check these guys out before I arrived, my mind was fairly open, and their brand of ?Western, desert rock? was fairly welcoming. Vocalist Adam Turla is very talented, there?s no denying that. His voice sounds like it?s been fermented by 20 years of whiskey drinking and his aura is one of conspicuous warmth. Cellist Sarah Balliet seems to alternate between firmly backgrounded and positively haunting. When she?s in full flight it only adds to the sound which gave me an impression of a dusty American drought-ridden prairie. Gruff, soulful, not-quite-staring-at-your-shoes introspection. Having listened to some MP3s since seeing them live, I can definitely say this is a lot more impressive and engaging in the flesh. 7.5

By the time AGAINST ME! take to the stage there?s a real hubbub of excitement. Quite obviously this was too much for some people, who proceeded to try and expend some of it by continually crowd-surfing and stage-diving throughout the entire set, but I guess there?ll always be idiots. Tom decries one of them taking a picture from the stage with his camera phone at one point which receives a cheer from certain (read: older) sections of the crowd. The band themselves are on top, top form tonight playing a decent mix of old and new, but thankfully sticking to the good ones from the (relatively) mixed bag that is the new record (Don?t Lose Touch, Miami, From Her Lips). You can criticise AM! from afar if it takes your fancy, but it certainly looks like the negative voices are fuelling a hungry desire from what I gathered by talking to them, and what was very evident for all and sundry in their live show. They?ve still got it. 8.5