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9 p.m., Juanita's. $10 adv./$12 d.o.s.
The grit is gone, but Against Me! hasn't gotten any less defiant. Long the standard-bearers for quick-strummed punk-folk, the Gainesville four-piece built their reputation on socially conscious barroom anthems and political rave-ups. In 2005, they signed to Sire and thereafter headlined the Warped Tour and recorded with super-producer Butch Vig (Garbage, Nirvana). Through the storm of cred questioning, the band last year put out one of 2007's most critically acclaimed albums. “New Wave” trades the punk and folk of old for tuneful rock, some of which you can even dance to. Breathe deep, old fans. This isn't a bad thing. The band hasn't left its ethos at the door. Lead singer/songwriter Tom Gabel is as considered and self-aware as ever, singing largely about the politics of making music. A rare chance to see Against Me! in a club setting, Thursday's show is the only club date outside of the arena tour the band is on with the Foo Fighters for the first four months of the year. Two of Arkansas's finest acts, alt-country-leaning singer/songwriter Cory Branan and barroom rockers Smoke Up Johnny, open.