Against Me! and The Cult at Marquee Theatre, 6/22/12
Last night's lineup was strange, to say the least.
Noise rockers The Icarus Line drew comparisons to Iggy Pop while Against Me! played its first Phoenix show after singer and guitarist Tom Gabel announced the decision to start living her life as a woman, going by the name Laura Jane Grace. Headliners The Cult toured in support of Choice of Weapon, which fit right in with the band's illustrious catalog.
Triumph was in the air as Florida punk rockers, Against Me! took the stage to the Rocky theme song and tore right into two new songs dealing with Laura's transgender identity- "True Trans Soul Rebel" and "Transgender Dysphoria Blues." Both songs sounded like an extension of the White Crosses material, and will probably become anthemic singalongs once fans learn the lyrics.
Maria Vassett Against Me!'s Laura Jean Grace
Last night wasn't all that different from previous Against Me! shows. Sure, Laura had longer hair and was wearing a flowing black shirt and some make up, but her voice hasn't changed. Against Me! shows have always been an energetic good time, but Laura has never looked so happy to be on stage. She got sassy during "Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists" and "The Ocean," shedding the guitar and give giving her plenty of room to grab the microphone with both hands and maintain a charismatic stage presence.
The audience unleashed some teen angst by starting a circle pit during "I Was A Teenage Anarchist," which is "a song about the pasts I've lived," according to Laura. The raucous energy continued through "White Crosses."
A few fans cheered when they recognized the opening riff of "The Ocean," and the rest showed their full support by loudly cheering along to the "If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman, my mother once told me she would have named me Laura" line, showing that Against Me! fans are very supportive of her decision.
The band's set ended on a high note with "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong" and the electric version of "Sink, Florida, Sink", which prompted fans to crowd surf and sing along.
The setlist may have been a little scant when it came to material from As the Eternal Cowboy and Reinventing Axl Rose, but there's no denying that Against Me! is still a fun band to see live, especially now that fans have shown such overwhelming support of Laura Jane Grace's a momentous, life-changing decision.