Against Me!

Chameleon Club presents

Against Me!

The Sidekicks, The Shondes

Sat, January 11, 2014

7:00 pm

Chameleon Club

$15.00 - $17.00

This event is all ages

Against Me!
Against Me!
To pirate the title of one of their early songs (and still a set-list staple), Against Me! is a band that laughs at danger and breaks all the rules.

Fronted by Laura Jane Grace, AM!’s much-anticipated latest offering, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, is scheduled for release in January 2014. The title of their sixth album offers a direct nod to news that shocked fans and shook up the rock world when it was dropped—Grace is a transitioning transgender person.

Formerly known as Tom Gabel, she revealed her story in the May 12, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone (readers curious to learn more about the transition can check out Laura Jane’s “My First Year as a Woman” journal online in Cosmopolitan).

Because Transgender Dysphoria Blues marks the band’s first release with Grace as a woman, there are a lot of misconceptions: The record is neither a radical stylistic departure nor a “concept album.” Rather, it’s just another bold step forward for an artist doing what she has always done—forging her own path by processing the highs and lows of life through music.

Against Me! began as an anarchist solo act in Gainesville, Florida in 1997. After transforming into a traditional four-piece a few years later with the crucial addition of guitarist James Bowman, they quickly became a driving force in the punk scene—despite facing an abundance of unsolicited danger.

While emerging unscathed from two separate road tour spinouts and, more recently, enduring a flying mic stand which cost Grace her front teeth, Against Me! have played in all 50 states and 29 countries, cranking out an average of 200 sweat-drenched, fist-pumping, shout-a-long live gigs per year over the past decade. Their music runs the gamut from thrashing to anthemic to intimate, with Grace’s pointed lyrics and powerhouse voice blending vitriol and vulnerability like few other performers.

With a healthy dose of folk and even some old-school country in their sound, the band’s first three indie full-lengths (2002’s Against Me! is Reinventing Axl Rose, 2003’s As The Eternal Cowboy and 2005’s Searching For A Former Clarity) earned them a rabid and steadily growing following.

Their 2007 major label debut, New Wave, was produced by Butch Vig (Nirvana, Garbage, Green Day) and named "Album of the Year" by SPIN Magazine. The early-Springsteen-esque raver “Thrash Unreal” reached #11 on the Modern Rock charts, and in addition to a headlining tour, the band also supported the Foo Fighters on the road in 2008.

After 2010’s White Crosses (which peaked at #34 on the Billboard charts), the band parted ways with Sire. It was at this time that Grace went through an intense soul-searching phase and eventually decided to transition, going public with the gender dysphoria she had been dealing with since childhood.

As might be expected with such an intensely personal project, Grace took complete creative control of Transgender Dysphoria Blues. She not only assumed producing reins for the first time but even built the Florida studio, Total Treble, where the demos were recorded. Then—more danger struck. During a tornado, a tree crashed through the roof of the studio.

After that mishap, the full record was recorded without further incident at three separate facilities: Dave Grohl’s 606 Studios in Northridge, California; Motor Studios in San Francisco; and Earth Sounds in Valdosta, GA.

Which is certainly not to say Transgender Dysphoria Blues is a “safe” record. Grace’s soul is brutally laid bare here in this riveting 10-song collection. While four of the tracks directly address the unique anxieties and fears inherent with being transgender, they still crackle with universal resonance.

The song “Transgender Dysphoria Blues,” written before Grace announced her transition, artfully folds the specter of hateful public perception (“You want them to notice, the ragged ends of your summer dress… They just see a faggot.”) into an irresistible chugga-chugga arrangement, given ballast as always by Bowman’s bouncing guitar and full-bore backing vocals.

Then there is the defiant battle cry of “True Trans Soul Rebel” (released in tandem with “FUCKMYLIFE666” on-line to fans through the Against Me! website in the Fall of 2013). Evoking fatalistic images of escape, the song ultimately showcases the strength both of Grace’s spirit and voice, soaring mightily as it does when she asks the question “Does god bless your transsexual heart?”

The balance of the record covers typical Against Me! touchstones—from matters deeply personal (the sizzling “Unconditional Love”); to political (“Osama Bin Laden as the Crucified Christ,” which recalls Sandinista!-era Clash and the band’s own “From Her Lips To God’s Ears (The Energizer)”) and even the music biz—“Black Me Out” is a flat-out showstopper, with Grace ramping a slow-burn into withering nuclear scorn, screaming at an unnamed power-abusing exec that she wants to “chop those brass rings off your fat fucking fingers” and “piss on the walls of your house.”

Joining Grace and Bowman in the band are a brand-new rhythm section. Longtime bass player Andrew Seward amicably departed Against Me! in 2013 after 11 years with the band. Fat Mike of NOFX (also the owner of Motor Studios) handled bass duty on the recordings of “FUCKMYLIFE666” and “Unconditional Love,” while Laura Jane played on the album’s other eight tracks.

Since that time, Inge Johannson (formerly of Sweden’s International Noise Conspiracy, and a surefire winner of the “Scandinavian Ramones Lookalike Contest,” if one is ever held) has come aboard as the full-time bassist.

The new drummer is punk stalwart Atom Willard, who launched his career as a teenager with Rocket From the Crypt and has had stints with the Offspring, Angels & Airwaves, and Social Distortion. Willard replaced Jay Weinberg, who’d toured with the band since late 2010.

With the lineup changes, Grace acknowledges that Against Me! may be in a state of flux, but the mission is still real: "If I didn’t feel like I had something that I really needed to say with the album we’ve been working on for the past year then I’d humbly hang the hat and move on," she said in the wake of Seward’s departure.

2013 saw another career milestone for Grace, as she co-wrote a song (“Soulmates to Strangers”) with rock royalty Joan Jett for Jett’s Unvarnished album. Against Me! is set to tour behind the new record in 2014 with an attitude perhaps best summed up by these lines from “FUCKMYLIFE666”: “No more troubled sleep. There’s a brave new world raging inside of me.”
The Sidekicks
The Sidekicks
The Sidekicks are a punk band from Cleveland, Ohio. They are currently signed to Red Scare.

Matt- Drums....
Steve-Vocals & Guitar.. ..
Ryan-Bass....
Matt- Guitar & Vocals...
The Shondes
The Shondes
From its explosive, opening violin line, The Garden demands your full attention with a rhetorical challenge that makes you want to hold your head a little higher: "Who told you to give up on the garden?" Loss, recovery, survival, and hope take center stage in the title track, and then wind their way through all 11 songs in this defiant collection. Thematically grandiose? A bit. But disarmingly genuine at the same time, as is the hallmark of this band that has honed an uncanny ability to write inspirational anthems with a sense of humor that keeps them
believable. Indie rock irony is finally dead and The Shondes offer a potent
alternative. Rousing and raucous, sincere and spirited, this is what happens when the legacies of Bikini Kill and Bruce Springsteen join forces in Brooklyn's hardest-working band.
When powerhouse vocalist Louisa Rachel Solomon sings "I need a dream for right now" (Nights Like These), you believe her. The line doesn't come off as a pop cliché, but instead as an honest plea on an album that unapologetically dreams of a brighter future, and convinces you to take it seriously. Says
Solomon, "If there's one thing I learned from Riot Grrrl when I was really young, it's that you shouldn't censor your sorrow, rage, and joy in your songs... even if you're afraid it'll sound super cheesy." And so The Shondes invite you and your cheesy feelings in, too. The Garden is, after all, all of ours, a well-worn
metaphorical landscape that the band embraces to its fullest populist potential.
Nothing More Whole Than a Broken Heart is a fist-pumping paean to growing up, and borrows its refrain from a Yiddish proverb (befitting a band whose
moniker is Yiddish for "disgraces"). Solomon explains "The Garden is an album about the kind of growing up you do over and over again." And indeed, the band's fourth outing seems emblematic of fully coming into their own.
Described by Producer Tony Maimone (founding member of seminal
experimental rock band Pere Ubu) as "a band of scrappers," they have certainly fought for their recognition, building a devoted fanbase over eight years on the road, reliably offering their sweat and heartfelt emotion up night after night.
The Garden, recorded at Brooklyn's Studio G, may finally be the album that
captures the signature live energy that makes this band so special to their fans.
Peter Ames Carlin says "The Garden has the same wild finesse and seething
humanity of the Shondes' earlier work -- except now it sounds better than
ever....These power-punk-whip-smart- Brooklynites are the real thing, and then some." The album's photography was shot by iconic rock photographer Frank Stefanko, best known for his portraits of Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen (including the beloved covers of The River and Darkness on the Edge of Town). Stefanko says The Garden "takes hold and sticks with you," a vote of confidence The Shondes were honored to receive.
Venue Information:
Chameleon Club
223 North Water Street
Lancaster, PA, 17603
http://www.chameleonclub.net/