It’s been a while since Florida punks Against Me! Rolled through Baltimore, but they came back with quite a vengeance on May 2nd at Ram’s Head Live. The show featured support from Seattle-based Big Eyes, and Tony Molina. When Against Me! finally took the stage around 11pm, the crowd was chanting their name, and raring for action.
The band is currently touring to support their sixth and latest album, Transgender Dysphonia Blue, which was released on January 21st of this year. The album is brutally honest, delving deep into frontwoman Laura Jane Grace’s struggles with coming out as a transgender woman. It’s safe to say a lot has changed with Against Me! since the release of their fifth album White Crosses but their sound and presence have never been more powerful. Transgender Dysphoria Blues is arguably one of the most important rock albums of the decade, exploring territories that were previously taboo to the music industry.
Their 22 song set kicked off with “Fuckmylife666” off their latest record, a whirling anthem that set the tone for the rest of the night. The band switched off between songs off their latest album, including its title track, “Dead Friend,” and “Black Me Out” (the latter of which just had a music video dropped) and older favorites like “I Was a Teenage Anarchist,” “New Wave,” and “Thrash Unreal.”
Between songs, Laura Jane Grace noted that “everyone in this room is an honorary trans sympathizer…if you see anyone being homophobic or hateful towards someone else, stand up for them.” Grace grabbed the taboos of gender by the horns and threw them out for the night, telling the audience to “fuck gender stereotypes.” With each speech, the audience cheered louder, and towards the end of the set, the lucky few audience members who made it past security were granted with hugs from the band members, and a stage-diving experience they will never forget.
Throughout their entire set, the entire band seemed to have permanent smiles plastered upon their faces. It was one of the rare occasions where the band seemed to truly enjoy being on the road, without showing any cracks that may form from the stresses of touring. Their whirling guitars and heartfelt lyrics never lost intensity throughout the entire performance. The crowd fed off the band’s energy through the whole night, with intensity peaking at the end of their set, only to settle down with a three-song encore, finishing off the night with the perennial classic “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong.”
With all of the turmoil and change the band has endured over the past years through a revolving door of musicians, it’s hard to tell. Their latest tour has shown them at their best. Check out our exclusive gallery below for shots from the show by Alex Messick: