Against Me! Played a Midnight Show on a School Night at Baby’s All Right

Drew Kaufman September 15, 2014 Live, Reviews, SIMGEssentials No Comments

Against me brooklyn

I did not get enough sleep last night, but if I could spend the rest of my life seeing Against Me! play midnight shows on Sunday nights, I would.

After opening for The Gaslight Anthem and Jimmy Eat World on Saturday at New Jersey’s PNC Bank Center, the Florida Foursome announced that they would be playing a midnight show at Brooklyn’s Baby’s Alright the next day. And, with less than 24 hours notice, the show sold out.

Laura Jane Grace attacked the stage as her face was adorned with Jack Skellington make up, growling the words to “Pints of Guinness to Make You Strong”–one of the many anthems from Against Me!‘s first album, Reinventing Axl Rose. As her make up smeared and turned from muddy grey to a pool of dark sweat on her clavicle, Laura pushed her way through songs from all six Against Me! albums with minimal stopping.

Somehow, Laura and friends have managed to balance the dichotomy of old and new Against Me!, from teens on the run from cops to adults running around the world. Earlier this summer, Laura posted a photo to Instagram celebrating the 2oth anniversary of  her and guitarist James Bowman’s friendship. In her own words:

“We met on the first day of high school in 1994. A year later we had both dropped out to play in punk bands. Look at us now! Fuck you, Naples High School and I love you, James!”

Even now, over a decade later, these songs never feel disingenuous because they’re about struggling. Between the politics, the social issues, and identity, there will always be a fight worth screaming about. Not to repeat myself, but Against Me! shows are important. They offer a place of comfort for those who need a place to be themselves;  more-so than any other band making music today.

I saw a young boy with shredded jeans and a black bandana around his neck glide over the crowd like Bush had never left office, all while “How Low” from 2005’s Searching For a Former Clarity was being sped up from cowboy’s pony-ridin’-anthem to a  fucking rock and roll attack dog. I also saw a young trans-woman with blue hair make it to the front of stage and Laura stopped “True Trans Soul Rebel” to give her a hug.

The addition of a smiling Inge Johannson (the DeeDee Ramone-lookin’ Swede formerly of Refused and The (International) Noise Conspiricy) on bass and Atom Willard (Rocket From the Crypt, Alkaline Trio, the Offspring, Angels and Airwaves, Social Distortion–holy shit, this dude was in everything!) on drums, has added in a new energy. Maybe it’s the added age and experience of two musical mercenaries working along with a punk rock Thelma and Louise that have added to the unrelenting saga of Against Me! They all see this sort of thing every night and keep the locomotion rolling.

During the encore, as the band was about to start a song, our blue haired friend shouted “Drinking With the Jocks!” Laura looked down at her and said “okay!” charging into an unplanned song with fervor. Finally ending the show with “We Laugh at Danger (and Break All the Rules),” a mass of people jumped on stage to sing along. When the song ended, the crowd kept jumping onstage, creating an impromptu meet-and-greet around Laura Jane Grace. We were all tired and sweaty, it was 2 am on a Sunday and most of us had work in the morning, but no one wanted to go home. Laura stayed onstage and hugged everyone even as security guards tried to clear out the venue.

I wish I could ruin my Monday mornings like this every week.


  1.  Encore:
  2. (Laura Jane Grace Solo)


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About The Author

Drew Kaufman is a comedian, cartoonist, and the last living ska fan in Brooklyn, NY. He also co-created Two Minutes to Late Night: the world's first heavy metal-themed talk show.

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