Pinnacles of punk: Against Me! rocks Reno

Tony Contini
Laura Jane Grace leads a sonically and thematically fused set in Reno.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Tony Contini
Against Me! pounded in true punk form, slamming through songs from its seven-album discography at Cargo Concert Hall in the Whitney Peak Hotel on Wednesday. At times, they’d group two or three songs from an album. The set was sonically and thematically fused. When they reached songs from “Searching for a Former Clarity” where frontwoman Laura Jane Grace screams at former President Bush and Condoleezza Rice, they stopped and had a moment with the crowd. “It’s crazy how I wrote these songs over 13 years ago, and they’re still relevant today,” Grace said. She dedicated a song to anyone who’s suffering. She said she suffers all the time, and music always helps, whether you’re making a song to put out into the world or putting on your favorite record. She played one of her favorite songs, “Shivers” by Rowland S Howard. Immediately after thanking Reno for all the positivity in a world full of bullshit, someone shouted “fuck you” – a comical juxtaposition. “That’s fine too,” Grace said through a smile. “I’m not above that.” Against Me! has remained the pinnacle punk band. Through personal and lineup changes, they have kept their edge and relevance. Grace is a beautiful open wound who reveals her struggles to connect with others and make the world a little better. Chris Farren opened for the punk juggernauts and was hilarious. He’s a one-man-band who plays guitar, sings and controls the beats, backing music and light show with foot pedals. “If you’re excited to see Against Me!, let me hear you say ‘Chris Farren’,” he shouted. “I just have 45 more songs, then they’ll take the stage.” He told the audience the headliners are his favorite band. He thanked them for “closing for him tonight.” He was comically pompous, but his music backed it up. It was heartfelt and driving. Poppy and ambitious. His setup allowed him to easily put down his guitar and roam around the venue with microphone in hand. He said many people have called his new album “Can’t Die” the best of all time. “But that’s not true,” Farren said. “Because I’m going to make more records.” He left the stage to run his own merchandise booth and mingle with new and old fans.

-Tony Contini

Tahoe Onstage
Tahoe Onstage photos captured by Tony Contini

Chris Farren

ABOUT Tony Contini

Tony Contini
Photographer and journalist Tony Contini graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in art photography. He loves working with bands and telling stories. Photography portfolio: https://www.TonyContini.com

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