Tag Archives: Against Me!

Green Day Tour Dates

Green Day Tour Dates: Revolution Radio Tour

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Green Day announced the 2017 dates for their long-awaited Revolution Radio Tour today.  The tour has them crisscrossing the US and Canada as they squeeze in 24 dates over 5 weeks.

Continue reading Green Day Tour Dates

Against Me! Rocks Orlando

Laura Jane Grace of Against Me in Orlando
Laura Jane Grace of Against Me in Orlando

Against Me! Concert Review

Seven years ago, I saw Against Me! tearing up the Amway Center opening for Green Day. Since that powerful night of aggressive alt-rock, the quartet has gone through an immense transition, but through it all, Laura Jane Grace and her bandmates have retained the same energetic thrashing style that drives passionate support from their rabid fans.

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Watching Laura Jane Grace on stage, you see a ferocious rocker who is at peace with where she is headed in her life. With a constant smile plastered to her face, she commanded the stage and had the fans offering up their unconditional appreciation.

The atmosphere in the Beacham Theatre was electric as the band took the stage. The crowd was as diverse as you’ll see at an Orlando event. A mix of heavily tattooed punk rockers, a myriad of fans from the LGBT community, business men and teen girls dotted the audience, many sporting Florida Equality stickers.

Grace and the band took the stage to a rousing welcome and immediately leapt into an explosive “True Trans Soul Rebel.” The track was one of many from the fantastic 2014 release, Transgender Dysphoria Blue, the album that finished atop our 2014 Albums of the Year feature.

Although we heard numerous cuts from that album, we were also treated to a great variety from across the band’s diverse catalogue. Early on Grace offered “We’re playing some songs on this tour we haven’t played in awhile,” and she was true to her word, as the 20+ song set featured music from every stage of the band’s life cycle.

Longtime guitarist James Bowman is still a hard-driving rock to Grace’s left and dished out punk-infused riffs throughout the show. Drummer Atom Willard and Inge Johansson dished out solid rhythm all night. Johansson shined, bouncing around the stage, rhythmically clapping with the crowd and generally having a blast. But, the band is all about Laura Jane Grace, and she was on top of her game this evening. She was fun, raw, engaging and at times humorous, “This guitar doesn’t play well, but it looks great.”

Highlights from the set included two tracks off of Transgender Dysphoria Blues, a killer version of “Unconditional” which Grace introduced with “This song is about self-respect.” And a song she said “is about fighting back,” “Fuck My Life 666.” Some of the earlier cuts that shined on this night included “Don’t Lose Touch,” “I Was A Teenage Anarchist” and a fantastic version of “Black Me Out.”

Laura Jane Grace of Against Me in Orlando
Laura Jane Grace of Against Me in Orlando

The crowd became progressively more energetic as the night wore on and for a handful of songs, turned the floor into a raucous pit with bodies flying as frequently as beer cups. The mixed crowd had a collective blast, dancing, screaming, clapping and re-bonding with Grace. It was clear that this relationship still works exceptionally well.

For the encore, it was just Grace and her guitar for the first few songs. She whispered, “Thanks, this is fun, really fucking fun” and then kicked into “Baby I’m An Anarchist” which quickly became a spirited singalong. Offering up a song for “old and new friends,” she put an acoustic spin on “Thrash Unreal” with the band joining her midway for a rousing and powerful finish, before they wrapped up the night with a smoking version of “We Laugh At Danger (and Break All the Rules).”

Laura Jane Grace is indeed breaking all of the rules and transitioning to a place in her life where she seems much more at peace. It’s a good place for her, and just as importantly for the many satisfied fans in attendance.

Rock On!

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2014 Rock Albums of the Year

2014’s Best Rock Albums

“Rock is dead they say.”  It’s been forty years since Pete Townshend’s poignant words first grabbed the rock ‘n roll spotlight. Since then, there have been constant refrains repeating the age-old perspective, and in the last few years, those chants are getting ominously louder.  I’ve never believed that and I still don’t today. But, I am starting to have serious consternation over the future of the rock album as the key medium for the music.

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These days, it’s just tougher and tougher to have albums funded, and then damn near impossible to have all but a few become profitable; yet at the same time, it’s easier than ever to release a single.  It seems a foregone conclusion that albums will experience at least some decline in use, but as you’ll see in the next few minutes, there are still a slew of fantastic rock releases.

Before you dig in, let me just share that this list is pretty damn schizophrenic. You’ll see alt-rock, indie rock, pop rock and hard rock. In other words, depending on your preferred genre, there will probably be a few that don’t fit your tastes, but trust me, every one of these offerings is excellent in it’s own right. Now, here are the Top 25 rock albums of 2014, according to ME! You can click on the album title to grab your own copy via iTunes.

As a warm-up, see what a few of these artists felt were the year’s top albums here, and feel free to check out our prior year lists.
2013 Albums of the Year  |  2012 Albums of the Year  |  2011 Albums of the Year

25, The Endless River – Pink Floyd – Truthfully, probably not the 25th best album of the year, but it’s another good offering from an incredibly consistent band.  These tracks are primarily Division Bell era instrumentals. Despite the continued absence of Roger Water, the group still puts out pristine headphone worthy rock, which is definitely a dying art.

24. Strange Desire – Bleachers – Jack Antonoff shows what happens when he offers a glimpse inside his brain and throws these evocative thoughts into grandiose John Waters-esque productions.  It’s a fun., optimistic album packed with a handful of intriguing, big tracks that are guaranteed to have you flashing back to the best of the eighties, as well as the best of vintage fun., circa 2013. (Our full review)

23. Be Impressive – The Griswolds – We discovered a tremendous amount of new music from Down Under this year, and the Aussies we listened to had a penchant for bouncy, enjoyable pop rock.  That’s the perfect description of the debut from Griswolds. Their “Beware The Dog” was one of the songs of the year, but this group is far from a one hit wonder.  (Our full review)

22. St. Vincent – St. Vincent – The first time I heard this album, I really wasn’t that enthralled. It was interesting, creative and different, a little classic progressive rock, a bit of jazz and a touch of new age, but I wasn’t sure it was special.  Then, I took it for a subsequent spin or two, and it has really grown on me. Not sure how to classify the genre, but guitarist/vocalist Annie Clark is undeniably special.

21. Redeemer of Souls – Judas Priest – AC/DC’s 2014 release seemed to get all of the attention from classic metal fans, but this album is so much better. Rob Halford still sounds great, the generous guitar solos are crisp and energetic, and the songwriting continues to show growth.  There’s a nice mix of straight ahead rockers and more deftly arranged offerings.

20. High Noon – Arkells – This Ontario quintet has never really exploded in the US, and probably because they don’t have any tracks with huge hit potential, but their albums, like High Noon, are packed with a non-stop supply of nicely arranged music spotlighted with poignant lyrics. There’s not a bad song on the album, and it is oh so easy to listen to.

19. Pure Adulterated Joy – Morning Parade – Fresh on the unexpected heels of being dropped by their label, this UK quintet responds with an optimistic, energetic release, that I feel is their best yet. From my album review: “The result: Pure Adulterated Joy, a damn good album that finds the band veering ever so slightly away from their pop roots and moving deeper into rock ‘n roll.” And, it works well. (Our full review)

18. Choking On Halos – Leanne Kingwell – This paragraph from my review sums the album up perfectly: “Kingwell is an Aussie chanteuse just dripping with potential. Her self-released new album is a breath of fresh air on the music landscape and boasts a handful of songs worthy of significant radio play on an album that offers non-stop diverse creative rock tracks.” If you like catchy pop rock, you need to check this out. (Our full review)

17. Lost in the Dream – The War on Drugs – This one is the antithesis of Choking On Halos. It’s a darker journey through the mind of Adam Granduciel. The music from these talented Philadelphians is captivating and has not suffered at all since the departure of Kurt Vile. The complex arrangements are wonderfully distinctive, and every song is an adventure worth taking.

16. Stuck In a Dream – Bike Thief – At times their music reminds me of two excellent Alt-rock artists in Arcade Fire and The Decemberists; it’s creative, robust rock with a distinctive theatrical flair. For any old-timers reading along, I also felt a Renaissance or very early Genesis kind of vibe as many of the songs are adeptly dotted with precisely placed intricate riffs, runs and accents. Check out my review for more insight. (Our full review)

15. Turn Blue – The Black Keys – I love the Black Keys, but just like the Foo Fighters (who did not make the list), I felt the new release was not at the same level as previous works.  For Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach, it’s still a strong effort, just not as compelling as their previous albums. I like them as stripped down as possible, but there’s no denying that they’ve created a few fantastic songs on an album that still boasts a fresh, yet classically weathered spin on rock ‘n roll.

14. Isolate and Medicate – Seether – Dirty sludgy rock one track and then mainstream pop rock the next; it’s a nice diverse hard rock album with a handful of great songs. A robust, cohesive offering, with a tremendous amount of rock pouring through the speakers, especially considering the band is but a trio. The album features powerful drums, nice guitar riffs and top notch vocals from Shaun Morgan, while his lyrics are at their introspective best. It’s an active rock album with no weak songs that’s strong from start to finish, and is an absolute blast to listen to loud.

13. World On Fire (feat. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators) – Slash – An hour and 15 minutes of sharp guitar rock is always nice, and when you throw in Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge) dishing out his pristine vocals, this album is a can’t miss hard rock offering. The 17 songs are diverse, some bluesy, a few acoustic, but all guitar-driven rockers. The backing band, The Conspirators, are sharp throughout and the music passion from the players pours through.

12. Cry Is for the Flies (feat. Shirley Manson & Henry Rollins) – Le Butcherettes – The album features Teri Gender Bender (maybe not her birthname), a Mexican punk rocker with an eclectic approach to rock music. From Broken Birdie’s review, this sums it up perfectly: “It’s not for everyone but it is definitely within reach for most people if you simply have the fortitude to keep listening. A+ and I’m really looking forward to Le Butcherettes cruising through town so that I can catch what I can only imagine is a fantastic live show as well.” (Our full review)

11. Hope – Manchester Orchestra This is a first for me – two albums from the same artist on my annual list, and even more unusual, the same exact song titles. Andy Hull and crew went back to the studio and totally re-imagined the Cope album. These versions are stripped down and generally unrecognizable, and consistently they sound tremendous. It was a brave shot at repositioning the songs, and a few of the new versions are absolutely better than those on Cope. (Our full review)


10. The Black Market – Rise Against – Another album that grew on me the more I listened to it. On this, the seventh release from these socially conscious Chicago rockers, we still hear much of the hard-driving sound their fervent fans have come to enjoy, but on this album, they’ve mixed in a few new twists, primarily to a more mainstream sound. Listening to the lyrics, there’s also a more prominent focus on relationships, with fewer songs about social and political issues. (Our full review)

9. Alveron – Wolf Gang – I’ve anxiously waited to hear the follow-on to Suego Faults, the band’s excellent 2011 debut release, and it was worth the wait. Although this offering doesn’t boast the obvious Top 40 hits of its predecessor, the album is packed with soaring rock anthems. Produced by Flood, the arrangements are impeccable, and the band shows obvious maturity. The songs revolve around the challenges of twenty-somethings dealing with relationships and life, and the musical talent on display is impressive throughout. (Our full review)

8. Manhattan – SKATERS – One of the best debut albums I heard this year, the album is packed with snappy rock offerings interestingly arranged around little vignettes of life in the city. Lots of poppy, punk-infused music that’s just catchy as hell. The band shows their flexibility with a broad spectrum of rock sounds, on an album that feels like today’s ode to New York City; it’s not the Strokes, nor The Ramones, but it sure could be the 2014 equivalent from a cultural standpoint.  (Our full review)

7. Brill Bruisers – The New Pornographers – This All-star Vancouver lineup continuously delivers fresh, meaningful rock music, and great albums. Brill Brothers, their first release in four years continues that trend. The title track is a soaring, majestic rocker, and beautifully, there’s nothing else like it on the album. Like the proverbial box of chocolates, you don’t know what to expect from song to song on Brill Bruisers, but somehow all of the diverse offerings mesh together perfectly in the end, and provide a great musical expedition.

6. Cope – Manchester Orchestra – I loved the re-imagined version of this album, Hope, but the original was just a bit better. This one sounds like the Manchester Orchestra that we have grown to love, and boasts a handful of killer tracks. This version of the band is deeper, darker and more powerful, as immediately evidenced by the first track, “Top Notch,” where the drums are bigger, the guitars more forceful and vocals a little grittier than past efforts, and it makes for compelling rock.

5. Stuck – Adelitas Way – A few of my peers will scoff at this rating, but hey, it’s my list, deal with it. The truth is, this is a killer album packed with excellent rock songs. It’s stadium rock, done as well as we’ve heard in years, and it boasts a fresh engaging sound.  There’s not an album I’ve listened to more frequently in 2014;  it’s one of those rare albums that defines a band and jettisons them into the rock ‘n roll stratosphere. It’s Adelitas Way’s equivalent of Metallica’s Master Of Puppets or the Scorpions’ Love At First Bite.  (Our full review)

4. Royal Blood – Royal Blood – Yet another duo serving up powerful rock music. It’s amazing how this UK duo deliver the robust, powerful music that punctuates the album with just a bass and drums. They put forth freight-train powered rock ‘n roll, highlighted by Mike Kerr’s soulful vocals and catchy, intricate bass riffs. But it’s not all balls to the wall rock ‘n roll, as the more tender offerings truly complete the album. It’s one hell of a debut and jolt of energy to the rock music landscape.

3. Calm Down, Everything Is Fine – Mike Mains & The Branches – When I heard the first single, the addictive “Noises,” I was anticipating an album filled with similar pop-punk ditties. What I heard, though, was so much more. The songs are all over the rock music map but consistently fun to listen to, and they come together perfectly to shape a memorable rock ‘n roll journey. Mains puts his immense young talent on display in an album that spotlights a unique and versatile voice and a talented song-writer just dripping with potential. (Our full review)

2. Lazaretto – Jack White – I wasn’t always positive, but I’ve come to realize that Mr. White is a musical genius. He has the reputation of being a bit of a prick, and that may have clouded my views, but his music continues to impress. As we see on Lazaretto, his sound has evolved from the early White Stripe days to what we now hear as a much more, full, complex and elaborate production. The music is better than ever, but it still boasts pure raw rock ‘n roll. It’s hard to pull off, but as we see on this album, it’s magical when everything comes together. Listen to it, and if you’ve listened before, pick it up again, as it gets better with every listen.

1. Transgender Dysphoria Blues – Against Me! – From the moment I first heard this album in January, I knew that we had a special album on our hands. It’s stood up all year, and it’s my clear choice as the album of the year. A funny thing happened on the way to the studio, as frontman Tom Gabel, became Laura Jane Grace and started writing amazingly riveting music.  The album still boasts the rugged guitar rock that has defined the band for the past decade, but the lyrics are more poignant than ever. The key, though, is that the music is urgently passionate.  Every song a story worth telling, and a journey meticulously crafted.  (Our full review)

So, that’s it for 2014. Lots of great stuff from every genre of rock music, and proof that the killer rock album still survives. What did I miss, what did I nail?  I’d love to hear your thoughts either below or on our Facebook page.

“Long live rock, be it dead or alive.”

Rock On!


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Against Me! – Concert Review

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Against Me!  – Concert Review
01/22/2014 Freebird Live, Jacksonville Beach, FL

I have had the opportunity to see Against Me! a few times over the years.  Never have I seen them in such an intimate setting or on such a cold night.  I took A1A from St. Augustine to Jacksonville Beach and got delayed by what I first thought was a police checkpoint, but would later learn was actually a crime scene.

The county was doing controlled burns and afterwards found human remains among the now black, burned seaside.  Foul-play in such an affluent community?  It’s hard to believe, which only reinforces my assertion that everyone has their own crap to deal with; some are just better at hiding it.  I honestly don’t think that the internet needs another article about the strange, crazy stuff that happens in Florida.  Suffice it to say that the St. John’s County Sherriff’s department is “hot” on the case.  Too soon?

If you’ve never been to Freebird Live at Jacksonville Beach, it’s nestled right across the street from the pavilion and a couple of blocks down from everyone’s favorite Irish pub, Lynch’s.  It has always been a favorite venue of mine for the simple fact that during the summer you can spend a couple hours at the beach prior to the show, and when you hear the sound-checks begin, that’s your cue to change clothes and get in line.  That must be a happy memory from weekends long ago, because this was a Wednesday and it was frigid.  I got there as soon as I could after work, but I’m going to blame the St. Augustine tourists and the A1A crime scene for delaying me to the point where I missed the first band, The Shonds.  Sorry guys, I heard you were great.

When we arrived The Sidekicks were just beginning their set and I don’t think I can say enough good things about these guys.  Hailing from Ohio, The Sidekicks are equal parts My Morning Jacket and Jawbreaker.  The singer/lead guitarist had a stage presence of someone of much more advanced years and his sense of melody left me in awe.  The drummer cracked my friend up with how happy he looked as he banged away at his drums, and she also noticed that the other guitarist had a very far-away look in his eyes as he was playing.  We discussed this after the show for quite a while.  We have never been in touring bands ourselves, but both agreed that sometimes you just can’t help but have stuff on your mind.  A thousand miles from home in a nearly  frozen Florida he could have been cursing the weather, thinking about people back home, or wondering if he locked the door before he left for the tour.   As a side note, I was looking through their Tumblr page and I got all nostalgic for the glory days of the D.I.Y. work ethic in punk rock, which seems to have changed with the rise of social media.  I used to love the collecting show flyers because of the artwork, and it’s something I hope makes a big comeback once it finally gets to the point where it’s cool again.

The evening had a very “school night” vibe to it, and it wasn’t just because of the large number of high school kids in the crowd.  It could have been the 7 o’clock doors, or the 12 and over age designation on the tickets.  Once The Sidekicks finished their set, Against Me! didn’t waste any time coming to the stage.  Thunderous applause came when Laura Jane Grace took the stage, and with very little fanfare, they launched into roughly a fifty minute set.  The set-list was varied and seemed to cover their entire discography.  In the review I did for their new album Transgender Dysphoria Blues, (read the review here) I lamented the fact that I would never see Tom Gabel singing “Walking Is Still Honest” again.  I don’t think that I have ever written down a more inconsequential idea in my life.  Laura sang it with all of the intensity and power that the song deserves.  She was all smiles, a mountainous weight lifted from her shoulders, and she seemed to be reveling in the fact that they were back in Florida, just down the road from the city she calls home.

Someone brought a State of Florida flag, which she graciously accepted, and proceeded to drape over the shoulders of guitarist James Bowman.  “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong”, “Sink, Florida, Sink”, “Miami”, “Don’t Lose Touch”, “I Was A Teenage Anarchist”, and so forth and so on, were all covered.  Even if, like me, you thought that New Wave and White Crosses had left something to be desired, the set-list was designed to please.  They played 3-4 songs from Transgender Dysphoria Blues, including “Black Me Out”, “Dead Friend”, and “True Trans Soul Rebel”.  I believe it was during “Drinking With the Jocks” that someone half-heartedly tried to start a mosh pit.  Content not to join in, I set my focus on not getting kicked in the head by crowd surfers, or crushing the 90 lb. 9th graders in the front row.  It was at this point that I noticed that Laura switched guitars due to a broken string.  She handed her roadie her black Rickenbacker to take care of and he handed her an identical guitar right back.  So, yes, she has at least two.  Another side note before I wrap this up.  Against Me! has one of the hardest working roadies I’ve ever seen.  He sound-checks, he tunes, he changes strings, he sets up filming equipment, he shows drunken crowd surfers off the stage (either to the side, or off the way they came), he picks up knocked-over half-stacks, and occasionally he takes a microphone to the face, and he does it with a smile.  I think for having such a relatively thankless assignment, he should receive some recognition.  Thank you, sir.

The band left the stage after saying goodbye, and in typical fashion the crowd didn’t move an inch.  Laura, James, Atom, and Inge came back to the stage and gave us three more songs before calling it a night.  The boys left the stage, but Laura stuck around to shake hands with the crowd and then bid us farewell.  Soaked in sweat, ears ringing, and adrenaline levels still soaring, we were sent back to the cold street, and we walked back to my friend’s apartment.  We looked at pictures, and video, that she had taken for this article, and I fell asleep already thinking ahead to the next time I would get to see Against Me!

A very special thank you to the incomparable Bailey.

Broken Birdie

Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues – Album Review

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Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

When I was 17, I lived just outside of Jacksonville and began attending my fourth (and final) high school.  I met a cute brunette at a show, and she went to my school.  She was cooler than me, it’s true.  She kept playing this band from Gainesville in the car that I had never heard of before.  The opening song sounded like the beginning to a spaghetti western, and she knew all the words and I didn’t.  That would soon change as I fell head over heels for Against Me! and the girl.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a little background information on what’s happening on this album.  Tom Gabel… I don’t know exactly how to phrase it.  Tom Gabel is not gone, but he’s also not here.  Even the band’s Wikipedia page does not list him under former members.  Let’s dig deeper.

Transgender Dysphoria is defined as a person’s discontent with the sex that they were assigned at birth, and the roles associated with that gender.  Tom Gabel suffers (suffered?) from transgender dysphoria and finally reached a breaking point where something had to give.  So, now Tom Gabel is Laura Jane Grace.  Out of what is seemingly a very complicated situation comes a relatively simplistic solution: tell the people in your life what you are feeling, and make changes accordingly.  Fortunately, Tom has the support of his family, bandmates, and I’m going to assume the majority of his fans as well.

The album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, starts off the same way that Reinventing Axl Rose  does; with a snare drum and Laura banging out chords on that beautiful Rickenbacker semi-hollow body that has inspired bouts of envy from me, time and again, over the years.  Laura’s voice remains unchanged and except for the subject matter, it’s still the same band.  The subject matter is confessional but should not ever be mistaken for an apology.  Laura jumps right into it with the opening track, which has the same name as the album.  “You want them to see you like they see every other girl. They just see a faggot.”  That about sums it up, right? We’re done here? Not quite.  Following the title track is “True Trans Soul Rebel” which is the tune that caught my attention on my drive home this evening and kicked my ass into writing this at one o’clock in the morning.  Laura knows, and always has known, how and when to tug on the heart strings to create the most effective songs and records.  This track has a melancholy feel to it (especially the verses) but when you start paying attention to the words it becomes truly heart-breaking.   “Yet to be born, you’re already dead” would sound cryptic or nonsensical taken out of context, but in the context of this record I think it’s one of the most profound statements Laura makes on the album.

Laura has always inspired quiet, introspective night drives through northeast Florida but as I rolled away from Duval county and picked up speed on the highway, “Two Coffins” punched me right in the nose with a closed fist.  I can’t tell who it is about (Laura’s wife? Her daughter, perhaps?), but that is hardly the point.  The point is that it makes sense to her and she has kindly left enough of a void in the lyrics for a person to insert themselves into the song.  It’s an acoustic song, and it drips with bittersweet longing for the person that she is singing to.  Maybe in my current state of mind I’m just not hearing the lyrics from the right angle and to someone else it would be quite obvious, but right now, tonight, the mystery of the song is part of why it’s one of my favorite tracks on this album.

Immediately following “Two Coffins” is “Paralytic States”, which upon first listen sounds like an up-tempo, feel good song.  Diving deeper into the lyrics you realize that it’s a terrifying account of someone suffering from Transgender Dysphoria, and the lengths to which a human could potentially go when they are unable, or unsure, of how to cope.  Add substance abuse to the mix and you have a really volatile, desperate, hopeless individual on your hands.  Laura said in another article that it came down to a matter of survival for her.  Just reading the lyrics sends a shiver down my spine and I am thankful that when unsatisfied with life she was strong enough to make a change, despite life and potentially relationship-changing implications.  In this instance it seems that there will be a happy ending, but I can’t help but wonder how many others there are in this world that will not arrive at the same destination.

I guess if I could take away one lesson from this album, it’s that things change.  Time changes, people change, places change.  Just like when I got back to Florida and drove down familiar roads only to realize that the people who lived in this house no longer live there, the same thing is happening to every other person in this world.  Maybe they didn’t realize it yesterday, or today, and maybe they won’t tomorrow, but it’s almost guaranteed that at least once in an individual’s life they will realize that the world is changing around them constantly.  The way that I don’t see that girl at shows anymore is the same as why I’ll never see Tom Gabel up on stage again screaming out the lyrics to “Walking Is Still Honest.”  Things change, and that’s okay.

Laura Jane Grace is here to help us keep the music playing.  Transgender Dysphoria Blues is one of the most affecting records I’ve ever heard in my life, and I only covered a handful of the ten tracks.  If you want to hear about, and feel, some really life changing, in your face, gritty stuff happening in someone’s life, please listen.  If you don’t want to feel what another person is feeling why do you listen to music in the first place?

Broken Birdie

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Central Florida June Concert Calendar


Another great month of diverse Rock and Roll across Central Florida, highlighted by the Drowning Men in Orlando, as well as The Cult, Against Me!, Coldplay and The Rocket Summer.


6/4, Two Door Cinema Club – These Alt-Rockers are all over the airwaves on Sirius-XM and for good reason. Check them out at The Beacham. They’re also touring with a nice opener: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

6/5, The Drowning Men open for River City Extension at The Social. Check out these guys. We loved their last album Beheading of the Songbird, and have heard they are great live! Here’s our album review to whet your appetite.

6/5, Bon Iver at Hard Rock Live

6/6, John Waite at The Plaza Theater.  The former Baby’s front man puts on an excellent show and sounds great still today. We caught him last year. Check out our review, and don’t miss Jackie Bristow who opens, beautiful voice…

6/6, City and Colour at The Beacham

6/13, Puscifer at Hard Rock Live

6/16, BoDeans at The Plaza Theater

6/16, The Cult with Against Me! tear up HOB.  Both bands are fantastic live; required attendance for all of you Rock and Roll Animals!

6/16, ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down. Both bands are playing at Universal Studios, which requires park admission. Might be worth going if you already have passes.

6/16, Roger Waters. The legendary guitarist from Pink Floyd performs The Wall. It will be a great show, but break open your piggy bank for this one.

6/18, G. Love and Special Sauce, Beachside Tavern in New Smyrna Beach

6/20, The Rocket Summer at The Social

6/28, Eric Johnson at The Plaza Theater

Cheap concert tickets

Tampa Area

6/3, Styx at Ruth Eckard Hall

6/5, City and Colour at The Ritz Ybor

6/6, Two Door Cinema Club at The Ritz Ybor with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

6/7, Bon Iver at Carol Morsoni Hall

6/8, John Waite at Capitol Theater in Clearwater with Jackie Bristow

6/11, Puscifer at Ferguson Hall

6/14, BoDeans at Jannus Live in St. Pete

6/17, ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down at Tropicana Field

6/19, The Rocket Summer at The State Theater in St. Pete

6/28, Coldplay in support of their fantastic Mylo Xyloto album comes to the Tampa Bay Times Forum

6/29, Boston at Ruth Eckard Hall. This one intrigues as I’ve never had the chance to see “this local band out of Boston…”

6/30, Def Leppard and Poison at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. This one is a guaranteed fun time.


6/8, ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down at St. Augustine Amphitheater

6/27, Eric Johnson at Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

6/29, Rinog Starr and His All-Star Band at St. Augustine Amphitheater. Ringo’s touring with Steve Lukather and Todd Rundgren among others.

6/30, Chevelle at Mavericks. Check out our album review here.

Rock Music Musings – Rancid, Hazard…

Last week, I saw the following concert line-up: Rancid, Blink 182, Against Me! and My Chemical Romance.  Are you kidding me? Those four bands on the same bill? The folks in Vancouver had a great night! Four of today’s best punk and alternative bands under one roof.  Nice! Hard to believe, but next year is Rancid’s 20th Anniversary, and they are planning a big tour to celebrate. We’ll provide more details as we get them.

Here’s one of my favorite Rancid tunes to whet your appetite: “Red Hot Moon.” Great tune, which is made even better by the site of the video shoot.  This was filmed in front of the official favorite all-time club of RARA’s Farm, the now departed, CBGB’s. I still remember those sticker-clad, graffiti-covered claustrophobic backstage spaces, and miss them 🙂

Watch the video it really captures the essence of the band and the club.

Listening to Sirius XM’s 1st Wave, I had a flashback to some great years in the Philly live music scene. First, they played Robert Hazard’s “new wave” hit “Escalator of Life” and followed it with Joe Jackson’s “I’m The Man.” I realize Joe Jackson was a Brit, but the rocking title tune off of his 1979 album was covered fantastically by an under-appreciated Philly band, The Chasers.

As with many other Philly bands from the 80’s and 90’s, The Chasers and Robert Hazard were great live, and tore up the local stages for many years. Add in a host of other great live bands like The Hooters, Beru Revue, The A’s, The Daves and Tommy Conwell, and we were blessed with one hell of a good local music scene.  Great days indeed!

Today, I’ll leave with you a cover tune that I stumbled across on Little Steven’s Underground Garage. Remember Ronnie James Dio and his hit “Rainbow In The Dark?” Check out this cover from Paola. I think she’s Swedish, but the internet is not exactly flowing with information about her. I can tell you that the song was released in 2003.  Not sure how I missed it until now..  Enjoy – “Rainbow In The Dark.”

Later – Cretin