Laura Jane Grace and The Devouring Mothers | Joe Del Tufo | deltufophotography.com
An awestruck, powerful performance from Laura Jane Grace and the The Devouring Mothers at World Cafe Live At the Queen
It’s been an interesting road for Laura Jane Grace. From the punk-folk star with Against Me! to a transgender icon, there is a richness and unique history that she is currently creating. Playing mostly stripped down songs from Against Me!’s catalog, the songs not only took on deeper meaning, but also incurred a more intense listening that was evident by the perfectly-silent crowd at World Cafe Live at the Queen.
Laura and The Devouring Mothers opened with a spirited version of “Ache With Me,” from Against Me!’s White Crosses album, a song that she referred to as the band’s least popular song. It was clear that the bar was going to be a high one in the sold out Queen, and they did not disappoint. Playing with a framework of reading journal entries before each song, Grace took on on her journey through the trials of dealing with labels and A&R guys in the years of being the Next Big Thing with Against Me!, through a broken marriage and the daily torture of not being able to be the person you are.
“Pints of Guinness Make You Strong” was paired with a story about Grace hanging out with a group of friends, snickering and mocking a woman at the other end of a bar who her friends at the time were sure was actually a man. Laura said to the crowd that she’d been accused of selling out many times in her career, but that was the real sell out.
The music was strong and diverse, with Against Me! tracks “Joy,” “Two Coffins” and “Cavalier Eternal” being standouts. Her cover of The Replacements’ “Androgynous” (that her label apparently sadly didn’t realize was not an original) was also a highlight in the set. But it was the stories that gave context, all being tested for reaction as parts of an upcoming autobiography. “I have to say I didn’t realize how f*cking hard it was, to write a book- it’s been the last three years of my life…”
Dave Dondero opened with a sparse and amusing set of acoustic stories.