Against Me! returns to Billings

Lead singer for Against Me Tom Gabel in the group’s 2007 performance at Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co.

Gainesville, Florida-based punk rock band Against Me! returns to Billings on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 6, performing at the Railyard. The group appeared in Billings twice before, most recently in 2007 on the heels of their major label debut, New Wave.

Against Me! has modest roots, started as an acoustic solo act by lead singer Tom Gabel, who at age 17 began playing shows around Gainesville.

A decade vested in the political punk scene, Against Me! was propelled from cult punk band to national buzz-worthy stars when they left their long-time punk label home, Fat Wreck Chords, for major label Sire Records to release New Wave.

With sugar-coated intensity Against Me! dropped 10 danceable protest-tunes, uncluttered by glam and overproduction. The group followed up their major release with White Crosses in May 2010, following a similar formula.

The band again collaborated with acclaimed producer Butch Vig (Nirvana’s “Nevermind” and Green Day’s “21st Century Breakdown” are among his high-profile work) to produce “White Crosses.”

The album is ripe with catchy folk-inspired punk ballads and opens with the title track “White Crosses,” establishing a common theme of skepticism, doubt and symbolism throughout. The album single “I was a Teenage Anarchist” follows, featuring a sonic atmosphere fit for mainstream radio.

Gabel’s distinct and engaging vocal style poses questions throughout, as in “High Pressure Low,” where Gable doubts a future and asks, “What is real, what is fiction?”

Just as Against Me! ended the previous album, the final song is a slight departure from the rest of the album. Though “Bamboo Bones” is much more rollicking than “Ocean,” it retains the standout melodic intensity and ascending melody.

Notable changes to the band include the addition of drummer George Rebelo (formerly of Hot Water Music).

The group performs Billings on Super Bowl Sunday at the Railyard, and doors for the performance open at 6:30 p.m. Of drawing a crowd of more than 400 during their last appearance at Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co., concert promoter Sean Lynch advised to get tickets for the Feb. 6 performance in advance, as the Railyard holds fewer people. Tickets are available at Ernie November, Rimrock Mall, online at or by phone at 800-514-ETIX.

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