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Friday’s Against Me! show at Rams Head Live in Baltimore was a party on many levels: It was a celebration of the week’s end, of being with friends, of being understood. But mostly, it was a celebration of music and being alive to enjoy it.
It’s hard not to admire the hell out of frontwoman Laura Jane Grace. When Grace came out as transgender, she did it in the public eye, as the face of a highly visible band in a genre that’s very dude-centric, and she did it with tremendous dignity and poise. Then, she wrote the band’s current release, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, and got back to the business of what she does best: rocking the hell out. “I live for this shit; I hope you do too,” she said toward the end of the set.
The songs on Dysphoria are powerful on record, but live, they were an explosion of sound. Grace and the guys wore ear-to-ear grins most of the night, and on many of the band’s older songs, like “Sink, Florida, Sink” and “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong,” she let the audience take over singing en masse. She also announced that the shows on this tour are being recorded for an upcoming live record.
At one point during the show, a young audience member wearing a “Fuck Gender” shirt got onstage with the band. After the show, he told me that he’s also transitioning, and that before he got offstage, he shared his gratitude with Grace. Whether they were grateful for Grace’s personal honesty, her writing ability, or the entirety of Against Me!, everybody was celebrating on Friday night.
See show photos in the gallery.