Interview and Concert Review With Against Me! at World Pride

by Gary Seward
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Against Me! performed to hundreds of people celebrating World Pride on Friday night after marching in the Trans* March. While not a typical venue for this Florida native punk band, it was vastly appropriate considering they were ending their latest tour for the new album Transgender Dysphoria Blues.

Against Me! at World Pride - Interview

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Right after The Cliks ended their set Against Me! wasted no time by injecting a fierce amount of adrenaline into the crowd by starting off their set to “FuckMyLife666.” Old and new fans watched as Laura Jane Grace took center stage dressed in a chic polka dot dress as she growled out her new tracks ”Unconditional Love” “True Trans Soul Rebel” “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” “Black Me Out” and others.

For many Against Me! purists it was a nice surprise to hear a balance of older classics like “Cliché Guevara”, “Walking Is Still Honest”, Pints Of Guinness Make You Strong” and “We Laugh At Danger (And Break All The Rules)” and mixing them with mainstream hits like “Thrash Unreal” and “I Was A Teenage Anarchist.”

However, it was clear that it was the Trans* Pride portion of World Pride that the crowd and Against Me! were celebrating. Against Me! is certainly known for their political openness and it comes as no surprise that they are in your face in terms of gender identity (or dysphoria), as well.

The crowd was certainly into the hour long 18 song set as numerous people surfed the crowd (including Laura herself), created a mosh pit in the centre and never showed signs of wavering. In fact, there was almost a revolt after the set ended due to the Toronto noise bylaw, which says no loud music after 11pm. Against Me! is known for high energy shows but this show was palpably more spirited as people were celebrating the diverse LGBTQ communities for World Pride.

Against Me! at World Pride - Interview

Image courtesy of

The new album may be entitled Transgender Dysphoria Blues and while it certainly contains lyrics deeply personal to Laura’s personal journey since coming out as trans* two years ago, it was evident that it didn’t detract from their very loyal fan base dating back to the 2002 release Reinventing Axl Rose.

Before the show a colleague and I got the chance to sit down with Against Me! and discuss being in the spotlight for World Pride.

Fresh Print Magazine: How does it feel to be invited to something as mainstream as World Pride?

Against Me!: It’s really a cool opportunity for two communities to come together. [LGBTQ community and punk rock] Because I don’t know if punk rock is the first choice for something like this. But ultimately it’s about having a good time and being present in the moment. And they invited us, they must want us.

FP: I do believe that the trans* community and that kind of DIY punk culture definitely do mix together. And you guys are playing after the Trans* March.

Against Me!: Yeah definitely. It seems a little cheesy but ultimately when you can make something that people can use to make their lives better and help them move forward in their life it feels great.

FP: Since Laura has come out as trans*, has there been a difference in the audience’s reception?

Against Me!: Well, we’re still going to places for the first time. There has been nothing but a warm welcome everywhere we have gone. There hasn’t been any lukewarm response. People either seem completely ambivalent to it, like it doesn’t even register to them or they think it’s the best thing ever. There are a lot of high emotions in the shows and people really excited to be there and to be able to come to a show and feel empowered from it. It’s really been a cool thing to see. A lot of people are coming to the shows and really showing what it means to them.


  1. FuckMyLife666
  2. Cliché Guevara
  3. New Wave
  4. Walking Is Still Honest
  5. Unconditional Love
  6. True Trans Soul Rebel
  7. Don’t Lose Touch
  8. I Was A Teenage Anarchist
  9. Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Balled Fists
  10. Pretty Girls (The Mover)
  11. Transgender Dysphoria Blues
  12. Drinking With The Jocks
  13. Thrash Unreal
  14. Black Me Out
  15. The Ocean
  16. Pints Of Guinness Make You Strong
  17. Sink, Florida, Sink
  18. We Laugh At Danger (And Break All The Rules)

This was one of the best shows I have attended, including previous Against Me! shows. What they are doing with this album and subsequent touring is absolutely some of the best work I have had the opportunity of listening to in years.

To purchase the new record, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, and check out the latest tour starting in two weeks visit

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