Taking a break from recording their new album, Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace has embarked on a solo-ish tour of the northeast, bringing along The Devouring Mothers: Against Me! drummer Atom Willard and a bassist, along with opening act Dave Dondero. I got the pleasure of seeing her play Wednesday night at Cambridge's Sinclair.
This isn't quite your normal acoustic show. Sure, the songs are there, but they've been interspersed with readings from her tour journals dating back to the band's beginnings. It's almost more like seeing and hearing a musical autobiography.
Let's get a bit off track and real for a second. My grandpa died late last week, and his funeral was Tuesday. My grandma's last words to him before we left the funeral home were the same that Laura sings in "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong": I swear to god that I'll love you forever. Hearing that song, and those words, the tears came down in buckets. That's what I love about music though: that it can evoke such strong memories.
Back to the show, though. Besides the opening song, "Ache With Me", the songs and journal entries are in chronological order, covering albums from Reinventing Axl Rose all the way to their latest release, Transgender Dysphoria Blues.
It definitely is some heavy subject matter, touching a lot on Grace's past drug abuse and failed marriages. There were also explanations of the songs "Thrash Unreal" and "Because of The Shame", both telling different stories about the passing of an ex-lover.
Not all of the songs are played in full. Some are cut to only one or two verses and a chorus to fit certain parts of the overall story.
This is a cool show if you're more than a casual fan of Against Me!. Even if you aren't, you'll get to hear a few live rarities ("Two Coffins", for example), and some passionate storytelling.
Oh, and Dave Dondero is pretty good as an opening act! He's also a good storyteller, with a dose of dry humor in his songs. It took me all night to figure out why his voice sounded familiar...it's a bit Marcus Mumfordy.
If you're in the northeastern United States, you still have three more chances to check out Laura Jane Grace and The Devouring Mothers; Friday night in New York City, Saturday in Buffalo, and Sunday in Wilmington, DE.
Photos courtesy Michelle McGrady Photography