I paid a full $50 ticket fee to see a six song opening set of one of my favourite bands, Camp Cope, last night. Seeing them perform their short but sweet set was well worth the price of admission alone and was made even better when they performed a new track for just the second time ever. Performing at the Brisbane Hotel for the second time in three months, the crowd loved seeing them perform and it was clear that love was reciprocated. By the end of Camp Cope’s set the crowd had doubled in size as there was a quiet anticipation in the room for what was to come.
What came was a 27 song set from Florida punk rockers Against Me!.
It seemed as soon as lead singer lead singer Laura Jane Grace entered the stage and sang this first line from their track “True Trans Soul Rebel”, fists were raised, the crowd yelled along and brave souls began to surf the crowd.
The crowd remained in this euphoric mood throughout the entire 27 song set of almost two hours, belting out the words to almost every track. The band members, fresh off a show in Brisbane the night before, were full of energy (and sweat).
As someone not too familiar with their work or hard punk rock in general, I was definitely pleasantly surprised. Their tracks were joyous, meaningful and not the kind of loud I was expecting. Songs like “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong” and “I Was a Teenage Anarchist” felt like trademark punk rebellion while almost bordering on classic rock and roll and even a track like “Rebecca” speaks to a surf-rock influence.
Upon re-entering the stage for the encore, Grace announced the next song would be a cover by one her favourite songwriters, John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. Her cover of “Going to Georgia” was a personal highlight for me and is reflective of the eclectic style of punk that has made Against Me! An international hit.
On a Thursday night in Hobart after a five song encore and a 27 song set, the crowd still chanted “one more song”, which seemed almost more of an expression of their appreciation than a request they expected to be fulfilled. After 27 songs, they were still left wanting more.