ACL Offshoot: Against Me!

Off tour night finds the Floridians destroying Stubb’s inside

On an off night from their tour with ACL Fest headliners the Gaslight Anthem, Against Me! packed the indoors stage at Stubb’s. The Florida punks would normally open a mosh pit in a sea of misfits outside. Sunday night, at the downstairs bar reeking of body odor and sweat, the quartet took to the inside stage and a mass of bodies hit the spin cycle still.

Launching an hour-long set with two tracks from January’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues (“Pints,” “Unconditional Love”) – a 28-minute glimpse into the mind of frontwoman Laura Jane Grace as she struggled to come out as a transgender woman to the band and its disciples – the festival-sized group redefined larger than life.

Laura Jane Grace (Photo by Shelley Hiam)

Photo by Shelley Hiam

Photo by Shelley Hiam

Live, the agonized lyrics of Transgender Dysphoria Blues virtually disappeared under Atom Willard’s punishing percussion. Grace’s long tresses covered her mouth in a mass of loose curls, but then the crowd didn’t need help with the words. From 2005’s Searching for a Former Clarity, “Don’t Lose Touch” banged heads and punched inked arms into the air.

A sign posted on the doors outside read, “No crowdsurfing. No stagediving.” No surprise that rule didn’t last long.

“Now we’re fucking rolling,” nodded Grace in the precious few seconds between songs.

Transgender Dysphoria Blues punk anthem “Black Me Out” (“I want to piss on the walls of your house/ I want to chop those brass rings off your fat fucking fingers”) reiterated its author’s knack for putting a wry, pugnacious spin on big ideas. Disheveled from her own stagedive, Grace surveyed the crowd, which seemed determined to tear the walls off Stubb’s. She looked utterly pleased.

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More Against Me!
Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Transgender Dysphoria Blues
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Abby Johnston, Jan. 23, 2014

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Against Me!, Laura jane Grace, Atom Willard, Gaslight Anthem, ACL Fest 2014

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