AGAINST ME! @ Rosemount Hotel gets 9.5/10

Against Me! @ Rosemount Hotel
w/ Camp Cope, Hope Street
Friday, May 12, 2017


The refurbished band room at the Rosemount Hotel was given a good workout with the solid turn out for Against Me! Punters felt like they were closer to the stage than ever before with vantage points being easy to find in the new orientation of the room.

Hope Street

Local punk outfit Hope Street were the first band on offer and they plugged away manfully with a one paced set that chugged along at a reliable rate. Hope Street are old school in their approach, sounding at times like a less dynamic Leatherface without any of the associated humour or political clout.

Camp Cope

Melbourne trio Camp Cope were playing their first pub gig ever in Perth and were somewhere between anxious and excited to see so many people who knew their songs inside out and upside down. Hard hitting drummer Sarah Thompson sets the scene with her take no prisoners approach to the music, while the exquisite bass runs of Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich give the band much of their melodic drive. Their short tenure hasn’t limited the amount of ‘hits’ that the band have produced with Done and Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams showing their pulling power. Georgia McDonald (daughter of Redgum singer Hugh McDonald) is a powerhouse vocalist, with a volume that belies her small stature.

Latest single Keep Growing was clearly benefitting from some radio attention and showed another side of the band who realise that not all of their songs need to be played at breakneck speed to hot the mark. Lost: Season One showed the rocking roots of the DIY outfit who kept the banter to a minimum as they let their music do the talking for them. They may have only had half an hour to strut their stuff, but it was more than enough time to stamp Camp Cope as the most exciting young band in the country.

Against Me!

There is something truly unique about an Against Me! show. Groups of burly and hairy men hugging each other through transgender anthems like True Trans Soul Rebel doesn’t happen every day. There was a clear appreciation that the band had bothered to not only make the effort to return to Perth, but to also put recent illness aside. It was only three days prior that Laura Jane Grace had been so ill that she was unable to sing and the Melbourne show had to be cancelled, but there was no lingering after effects with the tattooed singer giving it her all.

I Was A Teenage Anarchist was an early example of the quartet’s stadium rock appeal with Dead Friend not too far behind it. Songs were pulled from all parts of the bands career, but the new album did get a fair airing. 333 has the type of melody that you can’t shift, even through ringing ears and Haunting Haunted Haunts was a muscular rockabilly shuffle. Grace paused to make sure that the crowd were all looking each other despite their sweaty activity, and reminded each other about the connection of community before a rapid Transgender Dysphoria Blues saw punters work themselves to a frenzy.

Against Me!

James Bowman and Inge Johansson are far more present than they are or the records with strong backing vocals being one of the cornerstones of the super tight band, particularly on the rapid fire Rebecca. Georgia McDonald was invited back to the stage to duet with Grace on The Replacements tune Androgynous. There was awkward dancing and charming harmonies aplenty for a lightweight moment of the set. Things arced up again with Bamboo Bones, which opened the floodgates for the people bouncing around in the ‘pit’ up the front.

Grace appeared without the rest of the band to play a song by John Darnielle, who she described as one of her 5 favourite songwriters. The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton was kept pretty faithful to the original with Grace’s deep voice being the main point of difference. A more predictable influence was payed homage to when the band returned for Train In Vain. The encore continued for 20 minutes before ending on one of the bands great sing along moments, Black Me Out. The energy did not wane for one minute during the 90 that Against Me! spent out on the stage. There would not have been one soul that left the venue disappointed.


Photos by Linda Dunjey