A Review of the Against Me! And Laura Stevenson Concert at the Neptune on March 25th
Against Me! has been glorified lately for its controversial lead singer Laura Jane Grace. Laura, formerly known, as Tome Gabel is the transgender front woman of Against Me!. Tom becoming Laura has gained Against Me! a lot of new fans as well as has lost them some fans. Either way, in the punk community Laura has become the center of attention. Having seen Against Me! perform at Warped tour a few years back and watching Laura perform this summer and further into her journey this week at the Neptune I am simply amazed by her and her band. Against Me! has been able to find a wonderful ground where Laura can write songs about her journey without changing Against Me! classic punk sound. The band dynamics may seem to have changed having all of the attention being put on Laura, but in reality they act as the same band that they were when I saw them play at the Warped Tour in a few years ago. There is still a strong punk sound produced with very playful interaction with the audience, allowing for a great mosh pit that consists of hundreds of smiling faces yelling the “oh’s” of Sink Florida Sink. The show that Against Me! gave me so much wonderful Nostalgia while also showing so much new energy and hope for the future, it is simply beautiful.
Laura Stevenson is one of my favorite artists and I am not sure if there is anything that will taint that. Opening for Against Me! is an opportunity that any punk musician would die for, however, I think for Laura it was a very weird experience. Laura is a folk punk artist moving in the direction of just folk music. This transition has been very hard for her. Being a former member of the folk punk gods Bomb the Music Industry! and then releasing two amazing folk punk albums with her back up band The Cans, she has grown up in and has been entrenched in the folk punk scene. With her new album The Wheel dropping The Cans off of her name and adding in instrumentalists that have worked with artists like Bon Iver, Laura seems to be showing a push into and individual folk career. It must have been her dream as a punk artist to open for Against Me! but to be offered this during her transition period meant Laura had to make some changes. The changes I noticed were the tempos of the songs. Laura played with the Cans and played all of her songs sped up. This did make here a more effective opener for Against Me! But did take away a little bit of her slow melancholy charm. To a listener her songs sounded rushed and didn’t allow for Laura’s amazing long held out notes that are showcased on all of her albums. Despite these things however, with an accordion on stage and herself playing guitar she through a wonderful set showing her fun and anxious personality and ending with a perfect performance of A Master of Art that got the crowd cheering like crazy.
The shows highlight was when Laura Jane Grace asked Laura Stevenson to help her sing Against Me!’s classic Born on FM Waves of the Heart which is normally sang by Against Me! and Tegan Quinn of Tegan and Sara. Seeing both Laura’s, one experienced, seasoned and in her prime and the other a nervous but amazingly talented folk punk powerhouse was amazing and simply beautiful.
Marcus Shriver/ An Legendary Goose Boxer/ KSUB Community Outreach and Social Media Director