Tag Archives: against me

Hope Show 115 – the lowdown

Hope Show 115 – the lowdown



Hope Show 115
1. Black Bank Folk w/ Damien Dempsey – Aunt Jenny
2. The Clash – White Riot
3. Paranoid Visions – From Dublin With Love
4. Against Me – Pints of guinness makes you strong
5. The Three Johns – The World of the workers is wild
6. Half Man Half Biscuit – National Shite Day
7. The Redskins – Lev Bronstein
8. The Neurotics – Take Strike Action
9. Hard Skin – The Kids Are Innocent
10. The Ex – Walt’s Dizzyland
11. The Evens – All These Governors
12. Fugazi – Merchandise

Starting off tonight with local Dublin folksters who have just released an album celebrating the events of Easter Week in 1916 in Ireland. Damien Dempsey has a song on the record celebrating the joint effort put in by women that somehow has been erased from that fight. The invisible ink is reappearing and thanks to songs like this (and the events themselves) they are getting noticed once more.
As the Rebellion was pretty much a riot why not get the Clash to celebrate it. Actually tonights show whilst coinciding with 100 Easter festivals since the Rising in 1916 is more of a ode to a list of favourite albums that i was asked to compile. I found it almost impossible to limit to double digits never mind fourteen. I tried but in vain. The Clash were top of that list though, no question.
Top Irish band is Paranoid Visions, hands down. Steadily releasing on the button songs reflecting the thoughts of a generation, a generation being ignored. From Dublin with love is from their 1983 demo.

Against Me made my list – their Reinventn’ axl rose album really is a class record. When I first heard it I was ready to follow their revolution but really you need to make your own. ‘Pints of Guinness makes you strong’ is not really encouraging you to drink guinness, sure it’s not even vegetarian.

One thing that has really struck me this week is how quick people are to dismiss a group of workers on strike if it means inconveniencing them. Our Luas (tram) drivers are on strike for better pay and conditions. The latest offer recommended by mediators was dismissed 99% by the workers. That shows a committed and united workforce. So they won’t go to work on Easter Sunday, they will stay home, eat easter eggs and not get paid. Many people will wish to get into the city to see the Easter Parade, celebrating the work of James Connolly and other Volunteers who gave up their life to create a republic. Some of these people would have travelled by luas and now they can’t. Is that reason not to support workers in their struggle?

The Redskins would have always supported strike action, as would have the Newtown Neurotics. These bands, along with the three Johns and Billy Bragg gave me a musical introduction into trade unions. I then moved on to Woody Guthries and other
traditional songs but these bands took the music I listened to and said, workers whould be in unions and picket lines should always be respected.

Hard Skin were near to my list of albums, didn’t quite get there but i thought you’d like to hear the kids are innocent.

The Ex did make it and could have been in there a few times. A more recent, if 2001 can be classed as recent, release made the list. Dizzy Spells is 12 classics mixed into an overall great. Walts Dizzyland is top of my mix when dj’ing too.

The recorded output of Dischord records could have made up my top 10, it certainly is one of the seminal labels. I’ve taken 2 with an Ian McKaye mix but there’s a lot more that could have been in here.

I’ve left it short as I need to start walking to town đŸ™‚


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Bands That Changed a Life – Against ME

Bands That Changed A life – Against Me

The title of this is slightly misleading. Some bands provided direction in my life at a very young age. Some pointed me down certain roads and offered me the chance to travel with them. Some had great music. Some I was ready to die for.

Well not really but figuratively so. The first time I heard Against Me was their debut album on No Idea Records, Reinventing Axl Rose. This was 2002 and I’d already spent a life sentence listening to punk rock. I’d formed my ideas, I’d chosen the independent road road of veganism, no alcohol and diy but when the first note of that first song, ‘pints of guinness make you strong’ cam on, I was completely blown away.

The songs were stories of the day – with the politics of starving and it’s lines “It’s time for real world politics, economics, history, math and english. there are some of us who have, and some go without” My daughter had just turned three and we used to sing along wildly to those ‘Anarcho Punks are Mysterious’.

Hope had just published ‘Document: A story of Hope’ and I needed to get over to some shops in the Uk with it so I co-incided my trip to Bunker records, brighton, with an Against Me gig. It was a small packed to capacity venue that had no need for stage or barrier and the whole couple of hundred of us sang at the very very top of our voices “We rock, because it’s us against them, we found out own reasons to sing, and it’s so much less confusing when lines are drawn like that, when people are either consumers or revolutionaries, enemies or friends” I was ready for the fight. I was ready to be led a new way.

I was as excited as I had been when seeing the Pleasure Cell all those years before, or Fugazi in McGonagles.

This was THAT good.

And then I went home and spread the word. Soon after they came to Ireland. City Arts Centre was the venue as they sang of the revolution. We booked a babysitter for the night and sang strong. Against Me were the band where we all sang along, together as friends. That feeling of energy is hard to capture in words but it is an exhiliration that happens infrequently with music. It is our drug, I suppose.

More and more people wanted to listen to Against Me and the band felt that No Idea records wasn’t able to cope with the demand and they brought out the next two albums on Fat Wreck – As the Eternal Cowboy and Searching For a Former Clarity. With the second Fat Wreck release there were signs that things were changing.

In Unprotected Sex with Multiple Partners Tom (as she was then) sang of “how long is this really going to last” as it became a band that needed to write songs to pay their bills. You could feel the pressure coming on and it finally popped when Sire Records signed the band. The backlash hit hard and heavy. I was disappointed they went off my road but it was totally their choice and I respect any band for that. I find it ironic when people in full-time jobs or those who have made lifestyle choices rally against a band because they have chosen a route not agreeable to them. Especially those who believe in freedom of choice.

I’m torn as to whether it’s a pity or not that their debut major record label release is their worst. On the next album, White Crosses Tom (still Tom) explained “I was a teenage anarchist, looking for a revolution” and we sang along “Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire” but he then goes on to say “the scene got too rigid, it was a mob mentality, they set their rifle sights on me” which is such a shame. What a horrible way for someone who wrote so many great songs to feel. But tom was searching out for her real identity and finally emerged after leaving Sire Records as Laura Jane Grace. She had been dealing with gender dysphoria since childhood and in 2012 finally came out as transgender. Their next album (most recent studio one too) was entitled Transgender Dysphoria Blues and is a concept album about a trans prostitute.

Against me still play sporadic gigs and Laura Jane has a solo tour coming up. I still remember that gig in Brighton and when I need to give an explanation of what music can achieve I hark back to 200 people in a packed room of strangers ready to embrace as if we had seen the greatest sporting achievement of our lives.


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