To preface with how much I love Against Me! as a band, the day before this concert, I had moved my sister to Vermont and drove back just in time to make it for the show. I made it for the end of Franz Nicolay's set. He made jokes about math rock while playing math rock and had to tell the audience that a story about a rat eating his t-shirt was indeed true. He then said that if you're going to write songs, make them up because they won't hurt anyone. My advice to him would be don't write songs that aren't true and people will believe your stories without you telling them to. His musicianship was solid and voice more storyteller than singer.
Up next was Mina Caputo, a 40 year old trans person, who if you google, oddly enough still comes up Keith. Now I want to stress how weird of a show this was. You see everyone came knowing full well that Laura is trans, yet people still had the nerve to make fun of Mina and talk during her set. It didn't bother her- she said she was used to it and would gladly take the blame. I admired Mina's ability to shake it off like nothing and play a decently long set- long, honest, simple, almost with a classic rock vibe (think The Eagles but simpler). The people that weren't rude seemed to enjoy it and I just kept staring at her guitar thinking how much my mom would like to have a butterfly guitar like that. Sadly my concentration was broken many times while viewing people's odd looks and whispers about both Mina and her fellow transgenders in the audience and that really weighed on my mind most of the show. I thought it was sad really, with gay rights coming so far in this country, to see intolerance was really disheartening. What made me feel better was when at the end of Mina's set she proclaimed she wanted to have sex with everyone here, and the cheers outweighed any jokes or other negative comments.
When Laura Jane took the stage, everyone was waiting for her and the small room because suddenly became much louder. She was kind enough to tell us she was going to play the new record interspersed with some old songs. Her demeanor was shy, which surprised me because the last time I saw her with Against Me! she was very open and talkative. The new songs are some of the darkest stuff she's ever written. The topics ranging not far and dealing with everything she was going through and probably still is. Will her wife leave? Will it just be her and her daughter? "You want them to see you like they see every other girl. They just see a faggot" Is definitely one of the hardest hitting lines, but it's equally as hard to hear her worry about her wife and friends leaving her.
To keep the mood a little lighter she played all the way back to Reinventing Axl Rose. Her banter was mostly thank yous, at one point even saying, "Sorry I don't have anything else to say but thank you." The best banter in response to someone yelling out "I love you", she retorted "You don't even know me!" The best part was probably hearing the new songs. It made eager to want to hear the new record, which some people had already found some leaked songs and were singing along to, and in turn garnered the response, "The record isn't even out yet, how do you know these?"
She left the stage during the end to come back with Franz who played accordion to some classics. The last song played was "Baby, I'm an Anarchist" which seemed so far back in the catalog, it was unexpected and a great surprise. Hearing the new songs really hits deep with just the voice and guitar and hearing the old ones makes you empathetic for her recent loss of band members. So if you can catch this show, have fun, enjoy and try not to be a dick about other people's lives, they're not yours.