The Lancaster Pride Festival is coming up this Saturday and will include – well, you know the drill (if you don’t, no worries! Check it out here.) Don’t limit yourself to that, though. Some experiences – some voices – don’t always quite get the audience they deserve..
If you want to hear one of those many, many voices – or if you’re just looking for a completely killer show – then check out Against Me! on Saturday at the Chameleon Club. The events are not necessarily mutually exclusive; you could totally stay to the end of Pride, then walk from Buchanan to the Chameleon, and still have time to fight your way to the front of the stage. If you do stop by, you won’t regret it. Come on, how can you not love a band that declares “This night is gonna end when we’re damn well ready for it to be over?”
Of course, in the Internet world of armchair managers, the sellout/no-sellout debate rages on with Against Me! Hell, it happens with any band that uses the label “punk” at any time in its life and then goes on to achieve even the smallest level of success. Whatever. Here’s your humble columnist’s unofficial opinion on the matter: Against Me! is punk. Very punk – so unequivocally punk that the frontwoman, Laura Jane Grace, literally took a microphone stand to her front teeth in 2012 due to an accident with some crowdsurfers. When was the last time somebody from Alkaline Trio got their teeth knocked out in the line of duty? (Never. The answer is ‘never,’ if you’re wondering – at least that the ol’ Google machine can find. No shade at that band, of course – just mentioning them for comparison purposes.)
Need convincing? Their next live album (which you can and should preorder on iTunes or Amazon) is called 23 Live Sex Acts. It’s a collection of 23 live performances from their 2014 “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” tour, and if the preview is anything to judge by, it’s gonna be sick.
The very core of punk is, of course, authenticity, which Against Me! has in spades. Their sound has been pretty consistent, even through changes in the lineup and increasingly innovative lyrics. That sound, by the way, is loud and unapologetic, but never crosses the line into pure noise. The guitar and drum lines never overwhelm the vocals; every component comes together perfectly, even in heavier songs. In addition, Laura Jane Grace, the band’s vocalist and guitarist, came out as trans in 2012. She has since weathered public scrutiny, major changes in the band’s lineup (including, but not limited to, Inge Johansson coming on as the band’s bassist) and – of course – that one incident with the mic stand, and even developed True Trans, an AOL series on her experience as a trans woman.
Through it all, this band has consistently delivered awesome shows with incredible music, and they show absolutely no sign of slowing down. Right now, they’re touring with Frank Iero and the Cellabration (yeah, that Frank Iero) and getting ready for the release of 23 Live Sex Acts.
Word to the wise – check ’em out this Saturday. Tickets are $20 in advance and $22 at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show is all ages.
Here are a couple of AM!’s greatest live hits from their last few years to help get you in the vibe: