Concert Review: The Gaslight Anthem and Against Me! @ Sound Academy – Toronto

On September 19th, Against Me! opened for Gaslight Anthem at Sound Academy. Before that, Northcote—the folk-punk work of Canadian Matthew Daniel Goud—kicked off the night. Goud’s set contained a sampling of the work off of his latest record (2013’s self-titled album), including “How Can You Turn Around?” and “Counting Down the Days.” Gould was a particularly appropriate opener, his rough voice akin to the tone of Against Me!’s 2001 acoustic EP.

At roughly nine, Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace threw a flower into the crowd, and raced into “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong,” the crowd immediately singing along, swearing to God that they’ll love you forever. That was the last, though, of Reinventing Axl Rose.

Instead, much of the night was a celebration of Transgender Dysphoria Blues, the band running through at least half of the album—the titular track, “True Trans Soul Rebel,” “Unconditional Love,” FuckMyLife666,” “Paralytic States,” and “Black Me Out”.

The crowd surfing picked up during “Don’t Lose Touch,” with repeat surfers getting back to the middle of the crowd and back up into the air at an astounding rate, in their sweaty, stained AM shirts and managing to sing along throughout. The crowd, in fact, was particularly polite: the rowdiness was confined to the front and centre, people only took quick pictures with their phones, and when a surfer tried to jump back over the pit railing and into the mass of people, he first motioned for me to watch out (it ended up being unnecessary; security pulled him back down by his belt).

Mid-set, for “Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart,” Laura brought Talli Osbourne on stage to sing Tegan Quinn’s lines, bringing about some of the most enthusiastic applause of the night.

“Black Me Out,” a favourite from Transgender Dysphoria Blues, was a good choice for one of the last songs of the night, as there’s really nothing more cathartic than hearing a venue full of people scream, “I want to piss on the walls of your house, / I want to chop those brass rings off your fat fucking fingers.”

The Gaslight Anthem were up next. They opened with “Stay Vicous,” an apt choice, as it’s the opening track of their newest album, Get Hurt (2014). One guy, though, managed to ruin the show early on, instigating a fistfight (which security noticed, then ignored) with two girls; he continued to call out sexist slurs through much of “Handwritten.” A handful of people (myself included) opted to give up a good spot in the crowd to avoid the ruckus, watching the rest of the show from the back of Sound Academy. This seemed to be where the older, happy-drunk people were: they used the open space to dance; they yelled out lyrics with their arms slung over friends’ shoulders; and (after the band closed with “Meet Me by the River’s Edge”), sang every word of “The ’59 Sound,” a perfect encore song.

Click here for our interview with The Gaslight Anthem.

Review by Leah Edwards ()

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