It was yet another weekend spent out of town for a bachelorette party and to say I was exhausted as I drove home on Sunday afternoon would be an understatement but I knew that regardless of how tired I was, I was not missing the show on Sunday night. Four of my favorite vocalists all on one stage? Yeah, I may have been exhausted but I was excited as I made my way to The Fine Line.
Mikey Erg (real name Mike Yannich) kicked the night off with a super short yet flawless track. Hailing from New Jersey, Mike has played with far too many bands to list but that list includes The Ergs!, Star Fucking Hipsters, and The Dopamines. He is really one of those guys that has such an extensive discography that it’s impossible to not be impressed. Although he typically plays drums, he took the stage with just a microphone and guitar, and seeing him in this new position was actually perfect. His punk-edged vocals soared over the garage-rock-styled guitar sound coming through the speakers and although he was definitely the least known act on the stacked bill, he was able to grab the audience’s attention in a perfect way and get the night started off perfectly.
Following Mikey was a personal favorite of mine, Tim Kasher. Known best for his work in Cursive and The Good Life, Tim’s voice will always have a special place in my heart. Although he wasn’t local to Des Moines, Iowa, he was local to Omaha which was close enough for me to consider him a local when growing up. From his voice to the beautiful words encompassed in each of his songs, whenever I hear his voice, it’s like a punch to the gut and that’s exactly what I got from his set on Sunday. Tim and his amazing band played tracks spanning the entirety of his career including songs from his brand new solo album ‘Middling Age’ and tracks from Cursive and The Good Life. Personally, my favorite moment was when he played “Notes In His Pockets”, one of my favorite The Good Life songs, but really there wasn’t a moment through his set where I wasn’t smiling. Even though Tim’s set was a bit more low-key than Mikey’s and what was to come from the two remaining acts, there was no lack of energy or passion coming from the stage or being mirrored by those in the audience.
It was clear that the next amazing musician to take the stage was a crowd favorite. Laura Jane Grace is a legend. There’s no way around it. From being the founder and lead singer of Against Me! to being one of the first highly visible people to come out as transgender in the punk scene that I call home, there’s just something about her that is so inspiring and exciting and being able to see her perform live will never get old. I had the privilege of catching Laura last fall at an after-festival pool party at Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas so I kind of knew what I was going to get from this solo set but I still was not prepared for the excitement that would come with seeing her take the stage. From playing some of her solo songs to playing some of the Against Me! hits, I felt completely in her grasp throughout the set. There’s just something about her smile that is so inviting and something about her words that are so real. It’s impossible to not just get wrapped up in the moment when she’s playing and that’s exactly what I needed to keep my exhaustion at bay.
Unfortunately, a lot of people left after Laura Jane Grace’s set. I kind of get it. She is a legend but so is Anthony Green who ended the night perfectly and those who left early absolutely missed out. Known best as the vocalist of Circa Survive and Saosin (but being part of a million and twelve other acts), Anthony’s voice is something that truly has to be seen to be believed. Unnaturally high yet somehow perfect and not strained in any way, it’s the kind of voice that is so distinct and just so damn mesmerizing. I again, found myself completely captivated by what was happening on stage and completely forgetting about how I could literally feel my body having a breakdown from the past three weekends of traveling. Although he absolutely came off as a seasoned vet on stage and behind the microphone, there was something so charmingly unrestrained about his set. From jokes about what song he was going to play next to urging his band (named The Jane Fonda’s Nail Polish Revival) to play just so stopped talking and saying stupid things into the microphone, I loved seeing this side of Anthony. Don’t get me wrong, he always comes off as highly personable regardless of what project he is performing with but something about his “solo” set on Sunday just hit a bit differently.
All of the individual sets throughout the night were amazing but it was those moments when all of these musicians (except Mikey which was a bit of a bummer) took the stage together that was the icing on the cake. There was one moment when Laura Jane Grace was playing “Black Me Out” with Tim Kasher and Anthony Green behind her that I will never forget. It was only a flash of a moment but Laura had this smile on her face that was one of the most genuine and full things I have ever seen. Being the first night of this epic tour, I think it was in that moment that Laura realized just how amazing this tour is going to be, and being able to see that moment is something that I hope I never forget.
If this tour is coming to your area, go. Seriously. My words will not do the show justice and you absolutely just need to see it live.
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