“Hi. We’re the Flaming Lips…” smirked Against Me! ’s Tom Gabel before punching the first power chord of the Florida punk outfit’s energetic second stage Forecastle Festival set Sunday night.
It was a playful acknowledgement of the disproportionate amount of folks who had headed main stage to watch the neon circus freakout that is the Flaming Lips live show as Sunday waned down. But the small crowd did little to deter the band’s enthusiasm or performance.
On record, Gabel sounds like an angry old man, rasping out pointed lyrics against government, drugs and the right-wing. In person, though, Gabel has a baby face and wide smile he can’t help but let betray his gruff vocals. He led the 5-piece – and the passionate fans who stuck around – through a survey of the band’s material, including a slew from Against Me!’s latest effort, White Crosses.
While Flaming Lips and Against Me! may have little in common musically - or in this case, crowd-wise – what they both excel in is cultivating passionate fans. Whether the material was new and major label or old and independent, the majority of people present spouted off almost every word to every song. And while there was no neon on this lawn, there was plenty of old-school moshing.
Judging by the unshakable grins on stage, that is really all that matters to Against Me!
Photo: Brian Eichenberger