Against Me!, Ted Leo and The Pharmacists, and A Giant Dog at Summit, Denver, CO on 10/9/18.

Against Me! – Photos by The Rock and Roll Princess

The punk band Against Me! dove back into their past at the newly remodeled Summit on Tuesday night. They performed their 2007 major label album debut New Wave in its entiretyButch Vig who worked with NirvanaSmashing Pumpkins, and Green Day was the producer. The tracks combines Against Me!’s punk attitude with Vig’s more polished sound. It became one of the year’s most critically acclaimed recordings. The album changed the band from being an underground secret to opening up for Green Day and Foo FightersNew Wave’s song The Ocean contained a glimpse into the lead singer’s future by stating, “And if I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman/My mother once told me she would have named me Laura.” And a few years later, singer Thomas James Gable would transition into Laura Jane Grace.

Laura Jane Grace

It wasn’t your typical rock show. LGBT outreach organizations informed the crowd by the merch booth about everything from transgender haircuts, drag shows, and support groups. Punks stood next to transgender people. Transgender punks stood next to soccer moms. And I stood in the back away from the mosh pit. The backdrop was New Wave’s album artwork of a tiger by Laura Jane Grace. That’s when Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger (of course) played over the house speakers as the band took the stage. They played every track from New Wave in order. Androgynous teenagers began to crowd surf while a mosh pit arose in front of the stage. Grace stopped the show and warned the crowd they were about to play the album’s most despised track Animal. The only sign of annoyance was a shoe thrown across the crowd (missing my head by a few feet). After the song finished, Grace declared, “Now we don’t have to play that ever again.” Against Me! also performed a number of songs from their other Butch Vig produced album White Crosses. The crowd sang-a-long enthusiastically to I Was a Teenage Anarchist and Rapid Decompression. Against Me! finished their set from Laura Jane Grace’s autobiographical Transgender Dysphoria Blues –  “You’ve got no hips to shake/And you know it’s obvious/But we can’t choose how we’re made.”

Ted Leo and The Pharmacists

The second band on Tuesday’s night line-up was Ted Leo and The Pharmacists. After a recent collaboration with Till Tuesday’s Aimee Mann, Leo is finally getting national attention after a long critically acclaimed music career in New York. With his eclectic band The Pharmacists, Leo mostly played material from his latest solo album The Hanged Man. The songs addressed current politics (Moon Out of Phase), sexual abuse (You’re Like Me), and loss of fortune (Can’t Go Back). In contrast, the band delivered the dark subject matter with upbeat melodies. Adrienne C.N. Berry almost stole the spotlight with her amazing harmonies and remarkable saxophone playing.

 

A Giant Dog

The opening band’s lead singer Sabrina Ellis and guitarist/singer Andrew Cashen have been creating music together since they were in high school. They led their quintet A Giant Dog through a spirited set of songs about sex, drugs, and mental health. Wearing nothing but a yellow leotard, Sabrina Ellis’ raw energy and brazen sexuality held the diverse audience’s attention. Ellis asked everyone to take care of themselves before playing Roller Coaster – “Finally lost your mind/On this roller coaster ride/Stuck up at the top/An ugly stranger by your side.” As a result in their growing popularity, A Giant Dog opened for my personal Lord and Savior Jack White on his latest tour in their hometown of Austin, Texas.

See you at the next show. I’ll be the one ducking shoes in a yellow leotard.

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