SHAPE SHIFT WITH ME
I discovered Against Me! during my junior year of high school, in between quoting anarchist text in class and mulling around Tompkins on my lunch break, waiting for something to happen. It was their initial sound, the late nineties folk punk discourse on “Reinventing Axl Rose” that shot ’em out of Gainesville and across the states. It was a commentary and a vow, and by “White Crosses” and “New Wave”, that bare promise to honesty remained, shadowing changes in the band’s ideology as well as their sound. Their most recent album, the one Saturday’s Rough Trade show was centered around, is titled Shape Shift With Me, entailing the changes, tangible and conceptual, that have fueled the group for over two decades.
Rough Trade has a steadily advancing reputation as a venue and record store, settled off of Williamsburg’s Kent Ave., on a block that I remember as a nondescript strip of warehouses back when the neighborhood was still teetering on the eve of its own renown, caught between bohemia and big money. This particular show, on a humid east coast afternoon, was as intimate as it gets, and the venue’s atmosphere was one of inclusion and general support for new music and its fans, before, during, and after the show. Against Me! took the stage at two o’ clock on the dot, which is something I always appreciate- that way, the audience isn’t made to feel like their attendance is a privilege as opposed to a simple demonstration of support and unity.