"No more troubled sleep, there's a brave new world that's raging inside of me," howled singer Laura Jane Grace to open Against Me!'s show at the Trocadero last night, letting fans in on the massive changes that both the band and herself personally have gone through since Grace announced her transition in 2012. The world may remain transphobic, but judging by the smile plastered on her face last night, Grace is nothing but positive.
Their date at the troc last night was Against Me!'s first in Philly since Grace's transition and the release of the group's latest full-length, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, but in the ensuing time since then, very little has change. Age, gender, member changes—nothing has diminished Against Me!'s passion or capacity to perform. If anything, they've only gotten better in the face of any adversity that's come in the wake of Grace's transition, much to the delight of last night's packed house.
From "Walking Is Still Honest" and "Sink, Florida, Sink" to "Pretty Girls (The Mover)" and "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong," all the classics were there, inspiring an insane amount of energy from the audience. That energy didn't dip or waver with the inclusion of new tracks like "Black Me Out," "Unconditional Love," and "F**kMyLife666," much to the delight of Grace who at one point said she "loves Philly."
And Philly, perhaps not surprisingly, loves her back. Interestingly, the explanations that Grace attempted to provide for the more gender identity-oriented tracks were often drowned out by the cheering crowd, leading to an attitude that could best be approximated as "don't worry about it, let's just party."
Indeed, though, through all the self-loathing, doubt, and insecurity that seems to be the hallmark of much of Against Me!'s music, that does seem to be the point. Accept yourself, try to move on, and enjoy whatever you can as much as you can.
Based on their performance last night, Against Me! is still doing just that. The full set list is below:
Walking Is Still Honest
I Still Love You Julie
True Trans Soul Rebel
Don't Lose Touch
I Was a Teenage Anarchist
Turn Those Clapping Hands into Angry Balled Fists
Pretty Girls (The Mover)
Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Black Me Out