Last Night: The Cult & Against Me! at House of Blues
Before I begin this review, I must let you all know that someone took a dump on the floor of House of Blues' balcony Tuesday night. That's not really pertinent to the action onstage itself (Failed vision quest? Babysitter canceled?) because all three bands were fun and delivered, but I just thought you should know.
I learned of the pooping from a Houston police officer, who was still reeling from the news, during the middle of The Cult's headlining set. He said that Cult crowds are some of the most combative and angry that he has ever seen, working security at their last two shows in Houston. For the Cult's part, they weren't inciting people to shit on the ground.
With all the face-eating, bath salts and fecal matter in the headlines, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened at a concert. Mark my words, someone will ingest a toddler at the Vans Warped Tour this year.
But like I said, all three bands were great from start to finish, even if, as one friend put it, "Watching the Icarus Line was like watching old Stooges clips on YouTube."
That's a half-compliment, I presume. Lead singer Joe Cardamone is currently rocking a very Iggy circa-The Idiot-mullet at this point, so the comparison was easy to make. TIL no doubt converted a few of the aging Cult fans in the crowd.
The inclusion of punk rockers Against Me! on this bill turned a few heads when it was first announced in the spring, but when lead singer Laura Jane Grace made waves with a Rolling Stone article revealing her transgendered identity, it took on a whole new importance. Since the former Tom Gabel has come out as female, she has been met with excited fans and well-wishers at each and every tour stop. Her wife Heather has even been working the merch tables, meeting fans and getting plenty of hugs and high-fives.
Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!
Grace is going through hormone therapy, and now dresses more feminine onstage, sporting heels and a slinky black tee. Her hair is longer than it has ever been, and there is a faint hint of mascara. Her voice is a tad higher, but now the signature Gabel howls have mellowed into a healthy growl. She's just a bad-ass rocker chick now.
For an AM! longtime fan, not much has changed, except maybe that Grace's stage persona has a touch of sass to it now. The frontman is also a great frontwoman, natch, and if anything it proves that maybe rock itself is androgynous, no matter what you have in your pants.
The new topical material ("True Trans Soul Rebel," "Transgender Dysphoria Blues") treat the recent developments with the band's trademark wit, grit and gleam. Another fresh cut, "Dead Friend," went out to a Texas compatriot of Grace's who passed on last year.
"The Ocean," from 2007's New Wave was the first time the name Laura Jane was mentioned, and its inclusion in the set was met was cheers.