Feature :: Against Me! Is…Reinventing Awesome Fans

I wrote this article before Tom announced that he suffers from Gender Dysphoria and will now become female – Laura Grace. This event, and the response to it, has put Against Me! fans and the punk community in an interesting light.

You’ll notice the title of this article is “Against Me! is Reinventing Awesome Fans,” but the article speaks negatively of many ‘fans’ of the band. The title was originally “Against Me! is Reinventing Dickhead Fans”, but this situation has reminded me that despite a few bad apples, one of my favorite bands has a pretty great fanbase.

I will be referring to Tom as Laura from now on, with appropriately changed pronouns. I’ve seen a few people expressing complete disgust at those saying things like “RIP Tom Gabel” or just “Tom Gay-Bel,” but I don’t worry about it, because for every disgusting asshole I’ve noticed there have seemed to be a thousand punk rockers coming out of nowhere with raised fists telling that person to fuck off. I for one am proud to be an Against Me! fan right now.

However, to indulge some of the criticisms I’ve heard, and to bring this back to the point of the article: if you care at all to read this, it is because one or more Against Me! records have affected you in some profound way, and those records were made because Laura and the guys sought fulfillment. Now Laura will come fully into herself because she continued to seek fulfillment. On that note, I must support her, if only to repay the debt I owe for all the long nights spent being kept alive by records she made for the same reason she is now undergoing hormone treatments and electrolysis. If her voice changes and I never hear that beautiful howl again, so be it. She’s given us more than we ever had the right to ask for, and if this is what she needs to do, this is what we should all want her to do.

If you’re reading this, Laura, every Against Me! fan I know is right beside me saying that we love you, and that we wish you the best.

– Zack Fowler

“So, next time you feel the need to take it further than your place as a consumer of art, why don’t you put down the keyboard and find something constructive to do?”

So there’s this thing shitty fans do when they fall in love with a life-changing record where they put the band or artist that made it into this career gridlock. If their next record expands on the same idea, then “all of their songs sound the same.” If their next record is a departure from that style, then they’ve “lost their way” or, more commonly, “all your new songs are shit.” Perhaps the most important part of this outlook is that judgments are made independent of quality. They don’t care if the new record is good. In fact, they can never consider the new record adequate, because they’ve put the old one on a pedestal.

This is about as dramatic as I’ve ever seen with one of my favorite bands, Against Me!, though this certainly applies to loads of other bands as well. Everything Tom and the boys have put to tape since Reinventing Axl Rose has been called sellout bullshit, and I just think it’s ridiculous. Tom particularly has been harassed by former fans to an unacceptable extent. It’s not because the new records are good (though I think they are, and anyone who doesn’t feel something during ‘Ache With Me’ clearly has no soul), it’s because it’s logically impossible for any artist to please these people.

Take Reinventing Axl Rose, Born To Run, Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, The ’59 Sound, or essentially any record that someone heard and said, “This is it. This is what a record should be.” Once you’ve turned any work of art into the ideal within that medium, then logically any other work will not be as good. If Reinventing Axl Rose is your definition of perfection for a record – more specifically a punk record, or  a record written by Tom Gabel – then there is no fathomable way you will ever like another record as much without enduring some fundamental personal change (which, for “fans” like this, would be an improvement).

Now, deeming a record the ultimate fulfillment of a medium is perfectly fine; the problem is handling that. For example, while it’s alright to be disappointed in the direction a band has taken, expecting every record to be that good is unfair to the artist, because “good” in this context just means “like the other record,” and no great record can be made twice. Furthermore, if you acknowledge that Against Me! or any other band can make great records, even if you like them less than your particular favorite, but still are disappointed with their direction, there are ways to handle that too.

The best response to not liking a record your favorite band put out is obviously not buying the record. If they put out several records you don’t like, stop going to shows. We live in market economies, that means that not buying the record and skipping out on shows is all the “fuck you” you’re allotted without looking like a twat. If you have a blog or you write for some magazine, be a dick there, and we’ll use the supply and demand policies you’ve ignored to not read that blog. You should never decide to take time out of an artist’s day to treat them like their latest record is a personal attack on your musical integrity. If Tom Gabel asks you what you think, tell him, but he won’t because he doesn’t give a fuck, and tweeting him about how terrible you think White Crosses is personally robs him of the five seconds he could’ve spent not reading your bullshit.

I know it sucks when a band you love stops making music you enjoy, but if they’re past that point in their creative lives, then there’s nothing you or them could do to make them write another record exactly like the one you love but somehow better. So, next time you feel the need to take it further than your place as a consumer of art, why don’t you put down the keyboard and find something constructive to do?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go try to write a record half as good as White Crosses.

Zack Fowler

Moon & Back Session :: Franz Nicolay

“I like to stay one step ahead” – Franz Nicolay

Franz Nicolay might be the most talented person I’ve ever met. Not only is he a multi-instrumentalist (he plays guitar, accordion, banjo, keys and probably a few more), but he’s got a fantastic voice too. Having previously played in The Hold Steady and The World Inferno Friendship Society (and collaborated with Against Me!, Frank Turner, The Bouncing Souls and The Loved Ones, amongst others) Franz now takes to the stage as a solo artist and his live show is absolutely amazing.

On his recent tour with Chris T-T he was gracious enough to record a Moon & Back Session, playing two songs from his forthcoming 3rd solo album Do The Struggle. If you’re not a Franz fan yet, these next couple of tracks might just change your mind. He plays both songs on the banjo too which, at the very least, is something different. Check them out below, and look for a session from Chris T-T before the end of the year.

‘You Don’t Know I’m Here’

‘Live Free’

Interview :: Andrew Seward (Against Me!)

“…This band has been criticised for everything” – Andrew Seward (Against Me!)

Against Me! have been one of the most successful and revered punk bands in recent years. Having just come off a UK headline tour, the band took to the road with Frank Turner. Before the show we chatted to, bass player, Andrew Seward about the band’s transition from major label to self distribution, how the band had taken to Turner’s crowds and the possibility of re-recording Vivida Vis.

Gig Review :: Against Me! (w/ Crazy Arm) – The Cockpit, Leeds – 18/11/11

Tom Gabel of Against Me! - © 2011 Emma Stone Photography

“In short, it was a punk rock show…”

It’s been a while since I’d been to The Cockpit for a gig. The last time was for The Lawrence Arms and the sound sucked. It probably didn’t help that the sound guy kept walking away from the desk, and that the desk itself rolled away every so often. Let’s just say I wasn’t hoping for the best gig-going experience I’d ever have, but maybe it wouldn’t be so bad as to ruin seeing two of my favourite bands on one night.

After the disappointment of Against Me! pulling out of their 2010 UK tour, it was great to see that messieurs Gabel and co were down to make things up. Not only did they bring the Crazy Arm boys out on tour with them but, in a rare moment of on-stage banter, Tom Gabel took time out to apologise to fans who were excited to see them last year. They didn’t half make it up to us either but, before all of that, it was time for Crazy Arm to set the bar for Florida’s finest.

Following a great performance from Middle Finger Salute, Crazy Arm took to the stage with one intention; to tear the roof off The Cockpit. Opening up with ‘Blind Summit’, the band was met by a rapturous response from the crowd, something that continued throughout their short stint on stage. Setlist mainstays like ‘Still To Keep’ and ‘Broken By The Wheel’ were as well received as ever, an army of fans singing every word. Powerful political anthem, ‘Song Of Choice’ proved to be my highlight of the set, the unity displayed during ‘Tribes’ coming a close second. As the band closed out their set it became apparent that there was a bunch more Crazy Arm devotees in that crowd than before they started, and rightly so!

After a short break in proceedings, Against Me! took to the stage and were relentless from beginning to end. I’ve never seen a band play as hard as they did that night. Stopping once for the aforementioned apology, they remained tight up until the end. The crowd didn’t relent either. From the start of the first track, it was utter chaos. There were limbs flying everywhere, people crowd surfing (which didn’t seem to take with the ‘cool’ section of the crowd) and people jumping from the amps. In short, it was a punk rock show and anyone disputing the punk credentials of Against Me! needs their head testing. I screamed my way through ‘Walking Is Still Honest’, and was glad to hear a good amount of older material mixed in with newer tracks like ‘Russian Spies’ and ‘High Pressure Low’.

I walked away from this gig covered in sweat – both my own and that of other people – with bruises on my legs and back, cuts on my hands and a throat that felt like someone had taken a sander to it. It was just what I expected, and it was brilliant. I live for gigs like that, and it was one of the best I’ve seen all year. And you know what? The sound was fantastic!

Against Me! are now out on tour in support of Frank Turner. How’s he going to follow them? I have no idea.

Single Review :: Crazy Arm – Tribes

“…I can’t wait to hear what the Crazy Arm boys have in store for us in September.”

I’ve made it pretty clear in the past that Born To Ruin is one of my favorite albums in a long time. Crazy Arm’s brand of gruff, melodic, political punk was a breath of fresh air and I’ve been hooked ever since. The guys are gearing up for the release of their second album and, if ‘Tribes’ (and previous single ‘Ambertown’) is anything to go by, Union City Breath will be another top notch release from the Plymouth-based band.

Like a lot of Crazy Arm’s material, ‘Tribes’ is a very socially conscious track. The line: “I don’t want to live in a fucked up world” opens up the song and perfectly captures the message the band are trying to spread. It’s a track that deals, primarily, with equality and promotes the idea that, no matter what sex or race a person might be, they have rights. It encourages morality, but manages to stray away from feeling overly preachy. When a song has such a clear message that can be hard to avoid and can often feel like it’s been laid on a bit too thick. That isn’t the case here. Musically, it’s everything you’d expect from a Crazy Arm song. The rabble-rousing track is driven by awesome, forceful, guitar playing and kept together by the solid rhythm section. The drums are particularly prevalent, but that’s no bad thing. The changes in pace are fantastic and, coupled with Darren’s fantastic vocal range, really help to drive the message of the track home.

The quality continues with the B-side. ‘Help For Heroines’ relies heavily on the the roots punk/country punk sound that differentiates Crazy Arm from the rest of the bands in the current UK scene. That being said, it doesn’t lay off on the intensity. It’s still fast paced and best played at full volume. If this is the quality of tracks that were cut from Union City Breath, I can’t wait to hear what the Crazy Arm boys have in store for us in September.

You can’t go wrong here – Two great tracks from a great band. Buy the single, go to the shows and support them any way you can. The band head off on their first ever UK acoustic tour later this month, with Cory Branan and Sam Russo. Following that, they’ll be touring across Europe with Against Me!, on their headline shows, in November. There’s details of their future touring plans here.

Interview :: Great Cynics

“It’s awesome to get a good review, but a review doesn’t make a band. What makes a band is individual people, and the live show.” – Giles Bidder (Great Cynics)

It’s been a big year for Great Cynics: The band adopted a new name, released their debut album and recently embarked on a short stint across the UK with The Living Daylights. During that time, I caught up with Giles, Iona and Bob in Liverpool. We discussed touring, the new album, playing Fest and what the guys have planned for the future.

Anthony Barlow: Hi guys, how’s it going? How’s the tour been so far?

GB: Good. But it’s been a mission to get to Leicester yesterday. Bob had to fly in from Prague.

AB:  That’s dedication!

Bob Barrett: It is, yeah! It is Giles.

GB: Yeah, a hundred and twenty quid.

BB: *laughs*

GB: Me and Iona drove up from Exeter. So yeah, it was alright. We finally got there in the end. I thought we were gonna die.

Iona Cairns: We got a Pimms at Kieran Kelly’s house.

GB: Oh yeah, Kieran Kelly’s mum’s house.

IC: He wasn’t there, but his mum accommodated us.

BB: Mrs Kelly

GB: Teresa Kelly

IC: She’s a great woman

AB: So, I’ve heard there’s seven people in the van. That must be fun?

GB: It’s a nice little sized group actually.

BB: Yeah, it’s not too squashed. It’s quite nice. It has only been one day though *laughs*

AB: You’re not all in eachother’s pockets then yet?

IC: Not yet

GB: I don’t know. There’s been a few big pinches of backy.

BB: That sounds like a euphemism *laughs*

AB: You’re in Liverpool tonight, are you expecting a good turnout?

GB: Well we’ve never played in Liverpool before. I personally have no idea.

IC: It’s a cool venue though.

GB: I know the promoter when he put on his first show, he put on The Arteries and The Living Daylights, he said there was a sweet turnout.

AB: Watch Commander are playing tonight

GB: Yeah. I’m really looking forward to seeing them, because I hear they’re fucking awesome. I know Si, Si’s a great guy. I heard a couple of songs on Bandcamp the other day, and they sounded great. They’ve done it a really cool way, because they recorded before they started playing shows, which I think everyone’s kind of learned from. Everyone’s made that mistake before, I think.

IC: Realising you’re songs are shit once you’re up there. That’s happened to me *laughs*

AB: So the album’s been out for about a month

BB: Just over, yeah. About a month and a week.

AB: Did the name change have any damaging effects on the release, aside from the LP jacket stuff?

GB: I think, for the first week, it was a massive bummer.

IC: I haven’t really noticed it, other than people saying “the new name’s rubbish”

BB: Yeah I get that a lot, and I always kinda go “too little too late”

GB: I think the name’s pretty fucking rad.

AB: What’s the response been like?

BB: It’s been really good.

IC: The few people that have heard it have been positive

BB: On a review basis, it’s been quite good. It’s been accepted very warmly, which is nice.

GB: We got some really cool reviews from AlterThePress, which is an awesome UK Zine, and Alternative Press in the US. And Rocksound which is cool, because I think it’s awesome that we’ve got these reviews of the record, but we haven’t really started to tour that much yet. I’m really excited about this tour especially. We got the reviews, and even if we got bad reviews, I don’t think I’d think of it that much. It’s awesome to get a good review, but a review doesn’t make a band. What makes a band is individual people, and the live show.

AB: We’re you expecting such a good response?

GB: I’ve no idea because, when you go through the process of writing a song and then recording it, you hear it yourselves and you get so close to it that you can’t really take an outside view of it.

IC: From someone that came in later, having heard the album and not being a part of it, I really liked it already. So I really expected it to be liked. I’m on the same side as the people listening to it, I guess.

AB: Do you or can you actually listen to it?

GB: Yeah, I can listen to it and not puke up. I’m happy with that.

IC: Isn’t it your ringtone Giles?

GB: No, that’s the EP.

IC: He was listening to his EP on his phone, and it just went off.

GB: I’ll tell you what fucking happened! You know on a Blackberry if you hit the play button, even if it’s on lock, it plays the song on your music list.

IC: And you were listening to it because?

GB: When I got my Blackberry the first thing I put on was the acoustic EP, which I’d just recorded like six months ago, and then I lost my USB cable. So that’s the only thing I’ve got on my Blackberry. So, yesterday, I was getting something out of my pocket and I accidentally pressed the play button and it started playing the acoustic EP *laughs*.

BB: We have also listened to the album whilst driving to a gig.

GB: But I believe that was to learn it, and practice.

AB: How was it that “Great Cynics” became the new name then?

GB: I was in Sainsbury’s in Camden…

AB: As every good story always starts

GB: …I think I thought of ‘Hate Cynics’ and hate rhymed with great, but we’ve settled on the name and we’re happy with it. There’s no point looking back. I mean, we don’t even think about it. As soon as we changed it, I didn’t put a second thought to it.

BB: I always think that the band becomes the name after a bit anyway. People sort of overlook it after a while. Because of that, I think it won’t matter.

AB: Are people still throwing the Against Me! comparisons about?

GB: Yeah, but I think that’s always gonna happen.

BB: Probably less though, I’d say.

IC: Just because of the way you started on your own…

GB: Yeah. I started playing acoustic on my own, and then we became a band. I think no matter who does that, they’re gonna be compared to Tom Gabel and Against Me! I personally think it’s fucking awesome for our band to be compared to Against Me! At the same time, it’s like reviews, it’s cool that it happens, but it’s not worth thinking about is it? We just get on with our shit.

AB: You’ll be playing on the same bill as Against Me! this year too, at Fest 10. Are you excited?

IC: Yeah

BB: It’s gonna be awesome.

GB: I’m fucking well excited

BB: I still can’t really believe it.

AB: Giles you’ve already played Fest before, right?

GB: Yeah, I played acoustic last year.

IC: It’s nothing to him, is it?

GB: Fuck off. I think ten people were there last year. So maybe we’ll get eleven this year.

AB: There’s a lot of British bands playing, so you’re gonna have a good group around you.

GB: I think it’s awesome that there’s quite a lot of UK bands going over to play, because you’re friends are already there and how fucking cool is it to see your best friednds’ band play on the other side of the world and to be up front singing along? It’s a great feeling.

AB: So what’s the plan between then and now?

GB: After this tour, we’re doing a four date house show tour. We’re taking a PA and van, setting up in our friends houses and playing a show. It’s probably gonna be two quid donations and bring your own beer. It’s just gonna be a party for four days straight. After that, we’ve got a few things in the pipeline. Nothing confirmed yet.

BB: And then a bit of a tour in America on the way down to Fest. We’re flying in to New York, and then traveling down.

IC: So, hopefully, we’ll get a few shows on the way down.

GB: If it ends up that we can’t get a show every day down the East Coast then it’s be a fucking great holiday anyway. The Fest 10 is the big thing for us.

AB: Not thinking of a Great Cynics headline tour anytime soon then?

GB: I don’t know. I don’t think we warrant it.

BB: I think we need to tour a bit more.

AB: So Don’t Need Much is out. People can buy it. I was wondering if you’d be willing to donate a percentage of the profits from the album towards commissioning a Chuck Ragan fishing show, produced by Dicking Around Productions and Geoff Rickly from Thursday? Like that Robson Green show, but with Chuck Ragan.

BB: That sounds excellent.

IC: I’d like to watch it.

BB: [To Giles] Go on, give em some money.

IC: You’re such a bastard, Giles.

GB: *laughs* Alright, yeah, I’ll pay fifty percent.

AB: *laughs* Great. Thanks for this guys.

GB: I’m excited.

Podcast :: Under The Bridge #23: Who The Fuck Is Dave Smith?!

“I would absolutely not do it with Davey Havok” – Chris Farren

Everyone knows that Under The Bridge is “the podcast Chris Farren hates most”, so it was quite a surprise when he agreed to come back on the show. Of his own free will, no less. Moon & Back Music’s, Cara Moore joined our Floridian friend to complete this week’s line up. Though we did get Kieran Kelly (of Moving North and Throwing Stuff) on the phone to talk about the upcoming Crazy Arm/Cory Branan/Sam Russo tour. There was also a rap battle…

Go on, have a listen…

Under The Bridge #23: Who The Fuck Is Dave Smith?! (download/stream or subscribe on iTunes)

Music – William Shatner

  • Common People
  • Has Been
  • The Real Slim Shady
  • I Can’t Get Behind That (Feat. Henry Rollins)


  • Against Me! and Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo to support Frank Turner
  • Hot Water Music sign to Rise Records
  • Horrible Crowes preview new track
  • Morrissey talks label troubles
  • Brendan Kelly is making a new record
  • Muppet movie soundtrack to contain: Alkaline Trio, Atreyu, Ok Go and Weezer
  • Jim Ward to compile EP’s for a new full-length
  • Crazy Arm new single coming August 1st. Touring with Sam Russo and Cory Branan.


Where Can We Find You On The Internet?



  • Facebook – Harmonica Frank
  • Blog

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Moon & Back

Feature :: The Art of Selling Out

Gene Simmons, the man who invented Gonorrhea.

“….either grow up, or have a wank.”

You’ve been listening to the band for the past few years. You love them, you’re their number one fan. You watch them play every possible opportunity and love the fact that the gigs they do are in such small venues you could literally touch the singer if you wanted to. After their third record they sign to a major label, get a single out with a high budget video and pretty soon every little prick who watches KERRANG! are telling you how much they love your favourite band. So what do you do? What else can you do? You turn on the computer, get on the googles and start posting on every possible blog you can about how the band have “sold out the REAL fans” and that you “were there since day one” and remember when they only “played basement shows, instead of high capacity venues.” You denounce the band and verbally insult them as much as you possibly can over the internet because HOW DARE your favourite band sell out? If you’ve just read that and feel you completely agree and can relate to that situation so much, then you either haven’t had sex in so long the pent up energy is too much and you’re finding any way to release the pressure, or you have the mind of a selfish child. So either grow up, or have a wank.

Admittedly, I should of wrote this a while a go, when these issues had just come out, but I didn’t and I still feel they’re relevant as they still come up in conversation and the points I’m putting forward can be adapted to most situations of bands “selling out.”

Against Me!'s White Crosses album

The first band I’d like to bring attention to is Against Me! who have got a lot a shit in recent years, ever since the release of “New Wave” and intensifying with the latest album “White Crosses.” I’d like to first point out that these are both REALLY good albums, but neither of them are my favoured album by the band. In most cases, with most bands, I do prefer the older, more raw sounding releases. But this isn’t the point. The band Against Me! have been called “sell outs” by countless supposed fans because the later releases are far too commercial and not sticking with the punk rock ethos that they began with. This is because, and it might shock the readers who are pissed at Against Me! and their current sound, the band started in 1997 and it is now 2011. As crazy as it might sound, people can change their likes, views and aspirations in the space of over a decade. Can you honestly say that you think and feel the exact same way as you did in 1997? If you can, you’re a liar or you live in a cave with no access to anything in the form of media, be it books, television, radio, etc. In fact, singer Tom Gabel actually clarifies my point in White Crosses first single, “I Was a Teenage Anarchist,” when he sings the lines “I was a teenage anarchist, but then the scene got too rigid. It was a mob mentality, they set their rifle sights on me. Narrow visions of autonomy, you want me to surrender my identity” and though yes, this is in reference to Anarchism, not Punk Rock music, the point is that Gabel is openly expressing his development throughout his life as a person, a change of his views and beliefs and goals as an artist and a human. But even all of this is irrelevant, because the point is this, musically Against Me! ARE pretty much the same band they always have been. It is still simple, four chord punk, with aggressive vocals, a hard hitting back beat and politically tinged lyrics. The only difference is now the band can actually afford to go into a studio and record, instead of using someone’s garage. That is basically the only difference. They haven’t signed to a major label and been told to write hit after hit and change their sound, they’ve done it because they wanted to not because they were made to, and any change in sound or style is the bands decision entirely. I’ll leave the Against Me! factors with a quote from an April 2010 interview with Brendan Kelly of the Lawrence Arms as we discussed these very things, “It’s the people in the fucking band that go ‘you know what I want to broaden our appeal. We’ll sign to a major label, because that’s an opportunity we have, and we are going to write songs that are more populist as a result of our new found ambitions’.”

Alkaline Trio's Nike shoe and a potential cover for their next album?

The next band I’d like to call upon is Alkaline Trio, and I’m gonna focus on the fact that the band brought out a shoe in cahoots with Nike. My main point is, so fucking what? I’ve seen many posts and such about how Alk3 have “sold out” because they have signed merchandise deals with the likes of Nike, Hurley, etc. It really is irrelevant because it doesn’t affect the actual song writing process in any way. The fact they have merchandise deals with big name clothing companies isn’t going to influence how they make music, the next Trio album won’t be called “Go Out and Buy Our Nike Trainers” and it won’t feature songs such as “Eighty Dollar Hurley Jeans.” They’ll still be writing songs of a punk rock sound with darkly tinged lyrics, and if they don’t, it will be because they have wanted to change their sound, not because Nike have told them too (an Alkaline Trio cover of the Misfit’s Nike A Go-Go would be fucking brilliant right about now.) The band KISS, whose ultimate arsehole sexpest singer Gene Simmons is the image for this article, have “sold out” more than any band in terms of merchandising with items such as KISS Kondoms, KISS hot pants, a KISS leather embroidered cheque book, KISS doormats and of course, the ever popular, KISS  Kasket for a trip to Satan’s doorstep that’s “Hotter Than Hell” (bad joke, I know.) The point is, KISS have all this bullshit, pointless waste of money crap for the more pea-brained of fans to buy and you know what? It hasn’t changed the band as a musical unit one bit. They still do kick ass live shows and rock harder than practically all of the cordial bands that have appeared in past ten years. Their merchandise has absolutely fuck all to do with the band as a band. Not one iota. And to be honest, if Nike came up to me and said, “HEY! Wanna make you’re own fucking shoe? It won’t cost you anything, in fact, you’ll make some money and you’ll have YOUR OWN FUCKING SHOE!” I’d totally do it.

Now that’s not to say bands don’t ever sell out musically. I’m pretty sure the Offspring releasing songs like “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” and “Original Prankster” isn’t the band wanting to take a new musical step so they can express themselves as musicians in a way they have been previously unable to, but in fact, releasing some trite radio play horseshit to make megabucks whilst compromising their music (though the point remains, even though they did this, THEY did this, not the label. THEY still wrote the songs.) My point is don’t be another fucking moron who, as soon as a band has more than four fans and doesn’t record in a ditch, calls their once favourite bands arseholes over the internet because THEY don’t like the new direction the band has taken. I’m all up for freedom of speech but goddamn it’s wasted on some people. I’ll end with a quote from the previously mentioned Californian outfit the Offspring, “….and if it offends you, just don’t listen to it.”

Podcast :: Under The Bridge #22: “I Don’t Even Lift Cows”

“I’m going to write opinionated pieces about how much of a twat I am” – Ian Critchley

We were out of action for almost a month, but this week marks the return of Under The Bridge. This week’s a pretty good one, though it is marred by a few technical issues. We, again, recorded the show in the same room, something that seems unlikely to change any time soon. The change of scenery and increased alcohol consumption resulted in us calling up a few people we know. James Hull (Leagues Apart) makes a, half asleep, appearance on the show this week. His appearance was followed up by Great Cynics’ vocalist Giles Bidder, who was more than happy to accept our call and egg us on to call more people. However, because we called from a mobile, the interference is pretty bad. You can still make out what everyone’s saying but it’s pretty bad. Other than that, it’s a good show. Enjoy!

Go on, have a listen:

Under The Bridge #22: “I Don’t Even Lift Cows” (stream/download/subscribe on iTunes)

Music – Great Cynics

  • Nightcaps
  • All The Time Every Time
  • Not Saying Sorry
  • Moorhen


  • Frank Turner Minute
  • Menzingers’ short UK tour
  • Morrissey debuts new songs
  • American Idiot: The Movie
  • Riots at Against Me! show
  • Alkaline Trio debut new/old track
  • Members of Mastodon, The Mars Volta, Janes Addiction and Dillinger Escape Plan to form ‘supergroup’
  • Mariachi El Bronx to release second album
  • Great Cynics’ Don’t Need Much is out!


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The Podcast

Moon & Back

Feature :: Dear Diary, Krazy Fest Was Awesome

“Oh yea, and I slept some but not much of that is done at these things.”

I had a four hour drive from the St. Louis area to Louisville, Kentucky for Krazyfest 2011. I can say, confidently, that I would have driven much, much farther. I got Louisville early Friday morning and was able to explore the downtown area some. The Louisville slugger museum (StL representing the top of the Central division was posted resulting in ‘St. Louis!’ calls and disapproving looks) and some resale shop ran by an eccentric veteran and his dog were the highlight of that.

So, as a result of being in Louisville entirely too early, I was able to see the very first band play at Krazy Fest 2011. There were, roughly, 30 other people who shared this pleasure, excluding the merch table people and the crew. Lions, Lions were the opener. I think it would be terrible to be the opening band, and they were a pretty average harder band. They were really happy to be there though and high energy, so good for them. Next was Reading Group, who I enjoyed. They were new to me and were pretty unique. The singer has a nice melodic voice but the music is fast and has plenty of edge. I explored the merch booths and venue after that while other bands that didn’t grab much of my attention played. Krazy Fest was held at Expo Five. It is a flea market/airport hanger/big ass parking lot area. There were three stages, two outside and one in the hanger. To someone driving by it looks like a carnival, kind of, the singer/guitarist of Lemuria even expressed her displeasure at the lack of sweets and cotton candy being sold. Pretty cool. I, too, love me some funnel cake. I suppose that wasn’t the point though, back to the set up. There was a cluster of tents set up in the middle of the two outside stages as well as around the fencing leading to the parking lot. Most of the booths had exclusive interviews, signings, merch, and various other goodies and freebies to promote. There were a couple tents that were devoted to drinks and food outside and a full bar inside with the inner stage.

The rest of my Friday was spent meeting new people (I Hate Punk Rock Records) who, ironically, live 20 minutes from myself and provided a place to stay for the evening, and picked back up watching the shows with Kevin Seconds. He is a nice acoustic act with a pretty surprisingly falsetto voice. Next was Bane, HUGE change from Kevin Seconds. There were circle pits and hardcore fans going crazy. And rightfully so.  Tigers Jaw was next up and those boys can put on a show. I just recently started listening to them and their show was loud and the singer was so humble. He was having some guitar issues apparently but if he hadn’t said so I wouldn’t have really notice. Really enjoyable. Then I listened to Chamberlain. Those guys sound so incredibly good live, but they are admittedly hard to watch, kind of a boring show. I caught some of Small Brown Bike and wished I could have seen more but had to retreat to get some food, we were given wrist bands and allowed to go back and forth from our vehicles. The last bands of the evening were By the Grace of God, not really by style but a lot of people really dug them, and Against Me! Strike Anywhere had some traveling issues and didn’t make it. Against Me! was easily Friday’s main attraction. They were so high energy the crowd responded from their first chord. Tom was doing a little dancing on stage and the crowd fed into it. He was grinning the whole time and played lots of favorites. The set ended with Thrash Unreal and the crowd begged for an encore but due to ‘curfew issues’ we were left without. I went and drank lots of wine and got a lot of inside jokes from the hotel room after the show. Oh yea, and I slept some but not much of that is done at these things.

Day 2, Saturday, easily the BIGGEST and my favorite day of the festival.  Pre-show I went and ate in an Irish pub complete with genuine accents and memorabilia. I also happened across a little antique collectors’ place. I saw place because he was very outwardly NOT selling anything.  He did give lots of information about his collection and its history and his history with it. I walked away with a horseshoe off of a filly that had run in the derby complete with dirt and rust.  Always a good story and now hangs, u-up, in my room. The distraction led me to miss Hostage Calm, Native and Pianos Have Teeth all who I wanted to see. I got there just in time for Former Thieves though and they were really good. Fireworks were next, I had never seen them but at a recommendation I checked them out and I am so glad that I did. They were excellent, high energy and easy to bounce around to. Defeater opened with an acoustic song, one of, if not, my absolute favorites from them. Defeater sounds really good live, I was certainly impressed. They were on the smaller outside stage and the crowd resembled and overstuffed chair spilling out onto the sides. It’s kind of hard to write about any elaboration of their sound because it’s exactly like how they sound in recording. Lemuria sounded really good live too, this was another new one for me. Female lead of a three piece band. She absolutely shreds the guitar, she is pretty tiny and it makes for the way she plays to look awkward to me. It certainly did not affect the sound though. Make Do and Mend played inside the hanger and they were pretty mind numbing and amazing. There were a lot of new fans that walked away from that set. Anti-Flag were the last band to play outside due to the storm that was presumably the Rapture falling short. I think it’s safe to say that they are the most punk rock band that played. They played their classic, and the first song of its style I ever remember hearing, Die for your Government. Staying true to their roots, they covered The Clash and I lost my shit. It was awesome. Another mold breaking moment happened when they brought their drum set down into the crowd and played amongst everyone. I got a sweaty high-five as he walked away and passed the sweat on by high-fiving someone else. Pretty monumental for me. I saw a small part of La Dispute before moving to the next stage in an attempt to secure a barricade spot for Hot Water Music. La Dispute looked too young to be sounding as good as they did. Then I got drenched waiting by the barricade as Chuck Ragan tried to convince us all to go inside and wait, that we would get our spots back. That man is such a dear person. Eventually everyone did go inside because the rain/lightening/God-smiting was relentless and the stage was a wreck. So the line-up changed and Touché Amore played next. They, I don’t even know what to type next they were so good. Jeremy, the singer, was all over the place. He expressed his gratitude at not having to follow Hot Water Music and proceeded to blow faces off. He got in the crowd and passed his mic on to the crowd and adoring fans. He ended the set by climbing one of the side speakers while the mic was elsewhere. He’s crazy. In an absolutely-only-ok-in-punk-rock way. Which I adore. Next was Title Fight. Their baby faces had me confused and fooled. They rocked hard. The label switch had me curious and had other people suspicious, I overheard. Regardless, they delivered. I almost mistyped and wrote lastly just now because the next band was Hot Water Music. Having held a spot at the barricade through Touché Amore and Title Fight, I was ecstatic. Those men act like they are unaffected by age and I suspect they truly may be. Every single member is an outstanding musician. They were joined on stage by members of the Bouncing Souls, at one point being outnumbered by them. Phe-fucking-nomenal. Their last song was Trusty Chords, naturally, and I really could have died happily. 7 Seconds, who received a shout-out as being a founding inspiration to the Bouncing Souls later on, were up next and they don’t look how they sound, to say the least. Truly a don’t-judge-a-book-by-it’s-cover situation. A group of larger older men who covered 69 Sham’s 99 Red Balloons, ok by me! The (actual) last band Saturday was Cave In. I could probably just leave it at they sold a boat load of records that night. Disembodied had some traveling issues and could not play.

Following Saturdays shows at Expo Five there were multiple after party shows. Bane (Dane according to the strip club, supposedly all the ‘Bs’ had all been used to spell out various body parts to attract customers) played with some others at a strip club that was so packed it was rumored that not even the Bouncing Souls were allowed in. That show ended with cars being towed to make people leave. I went to a smaller show, in the pool room with max depth of 4.5 ft, at the Ramada Inn. Mikey Erg and Mixtapes played. It was really awesome to see them play in that setting, I felt like, and it became, a private showing amongst friends. There were covers and requests and sing-alongs and USA chants (ok, I really just threw that in there because I started it and it was hilarious). Turns out a case of the cheapest beer makes you a lot of friends. There was also a Mixtapes exclusive alley show with more covers and drunken dances. We sang Teenage Dirtbag, the defining song of my youth. Glorious. On a scale of 1-10, it was not bad. Followed by another small amount of sleep and really cool hang outs with new friends.

Ahhh, now we arrive at Sunday. Daytrader were the first band I saw.  They sounded pretty excellent live. Next was A Great Big Pile of Leaves. Really odd name in my opinion but they were the kind of chill sound that I needed to nurse me into the scene. Then I ventured inside to get my spot to see Dave Hause. Little did I know that One Line Drawing was actually Jonah Matranga. Lucky me! He plays, self-proclaimed, whiny covers. I thought it was excellent. That man’s voice makes me wonder why he is even using a mic. So much passion and such a truly humble, approachable person. At one point he was joined by Tucker on the drum set. That was pretty cool. Next, Dave Hause. I cannot get enough of this man. Absolutely wonderful. He broke two strings during his set, quickly blamed jamming with Chuck Ragan previously and told some stories while he changed them. I could go total fangirl on Dave Hause’s music but I’ll contain myself. He played a healthy mix of Loved Ones tracks and those off of his new album, Resolutions. He ended with my personal favorite off of Resolutions, if I had to pick, C’mon Kid. Whew. That is all, just whew. Hot Rod Circuits’ reunion was up next. I am endlessly impressed by musicians’ ability to be able to play older songs many years later and still sound wonderfully the same. I popped in to catch Frontier(s) last song and was a little disappointed that I hadn’t caught more. Coalesce played next to almost a cult of fans. I initially was turned off by their set but by the end they had won me over. I missed Ensign to get a good spot for the Bouncing Souls. It was an amazing set. Lots more gushing required here that I cannot express. They called out for rare requests and played them. Dave Hause joined them on stage and I went nuts, it resulted in a lot of worthless pictures as I tried to get a decent one. I had never had the pleasure of seeing them before and my middle school years were finally satisfied. They were really amazing. Greg isn’t much of a mover on stage but his voice remains and I did enough moving for him.  Samiam was next inside and I hadn’t listened to them much before and I have no idea why. They were excellent. The final band was Lucero. Seriously, and I hate when people say that because it automatically makes it not serious but it needs to be stressed somehow, the most perfect closer. Their full band was present and my Sambas were instant dancing shoes. Saxophone, trumpet, piano, guitar, really good blues rock tunes were had. By the end of the set I couldn’t tell if I had lost weight from ridiculous amounts of sun exposure and dancing or gained from alcohol consumption. And I was completely satisfied either way. Lucero were ridiculously good. Absolutely perfect ending and they got to play the only encore! For whatever reason the cover of Gin and Juice was blasted over the speakers as we retreated to our vehicles and I saw Chuck H. jump-hug Scott Heisel. I’m not sure how but it was a fitting ending. I made so many long term and distance friends and have a new collection of terrible pictures and good music to listen to. In closing, roughly 3 pages for 3 days is probably too much anyway, Krazy Fest 2011 had a wonderful comeback and certainly delivered. It’s been tagged the best fest of the Midwest. Riot Fest has The Descendents coming and other to be announced still so we will see.  I’ll be attending Krazy Fest, regardless, next year fur sure.