Eight years ago, Against Me! singer/guitarist Tom Gabel was the poster boy for all that was pure about punk rock. Starting as a gutterpunk acoustic act with a homemade drum kit, the band exploded from DIY single act to Maximum Rock & Roll Poster Boys with "Reinventing Axl Rose" a ragged masterpiece which included the sing-a-long "Baby,I'm an Anarchist.
But the honeymoon with punk's purity league was short lived, as Against Me! jumped to bigger labels, first to NOFX's Fat Wreck Chords, and then to major label Sire Records. Cries of "sellout" have followed Gabel since 2003, which have only inspired him to make his music as radio friendly as possible. The first single from Against Me!'s new record, "White Crosses" is "I Was A Teenage Anarchist." The tune reflects on the police beat-down Gabel that radicalized him as a teenager in Naples, Florida. But now instead of calling for the smashing of the state, Gabel opines about his former politics being "too convenient" while the music video depicts one cop smacking him repeatedly with a baton.
While the lyrics to "I Was a Teenage Anarchist" are soaked in nostalgia like a punk rock episode of "The Wonder Years ("do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?" the chorus asks) Gabel and company milk the sentiment like champs and make the recollected vision from blood soaked spectacles one might get in a WTO riot seem more rosy than crimson.
Tonight, Against Me! open for the Silversun pickups at Sunset Cove Ampitheater in Boca Raton. Anarchy in Boca Raton seems unlikely, but the slam dancing will make an excellent cardio workout for the Hot Topic crew. Sure, the kids might get a few scrapes in the pit, but it's better for them than sitting on the couch all night and hogging the playstation.