Against Me! / Cancer Bats Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver, BC March 2

Against Me! / Cancer Bats Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver, BC March 2
Debuting "I Used to Be a Teenage Anarchist" from Against Me!'s forthcoming full-length, White Crosses, front-man Tom Gabel shouted: "Remember when you wanted to set the world on fire?" The lyric, set to a catchy punk rhythm, took the majority of the crowd off guard. After all, Against Me! made their name as DIY folk-punk anarchists, playing basements with a general distaste for the industry they were trying to break into. And now, months before their second release on a major label, they presented fans with a serious conundrum: Should we support this band and their artistic choices, or have these guys forgotten what it was like to feel some grit and fire in their belly?

Sure enough, the normally insane mosh pit took awhile to gain some steam. But the band dropped new tunes on the crowd early and often, including tracks such as "Because of the Same" and "White Crosses." And it was awful tough to get rowdy to these tracks. Instead, the new material presented a rollicking melodic feel, sounding a little more like Tom Petty rather than anything from Against Me!'s days with No Idea Records. Though they featured some weighty choruses that the crowd learned immediately, it was still something of a shock. That said, the melodies presented a welcome change from the trashing and often unlistenable sounds of openers Cancer Bats.

Soon enough, the smiles on the faces of the band grew wider, which reflected their set list choices. Deep cuts such as "Holy Shit" and old classics such as "T.S.R." gave the crowd redemption. Gabel lauded the audience and the entire country for their passion, and finished with a trio of tracks from Against Me!'s seminal Reinventing Axl Rose release. It was as if the band was beseeching the crowd to stick with them through their maturity, without letting them forget where they came from.