Laura Jane Grace at Warehouse Live Midtown in Houston, TX

Punk rock and good times were had in full when Laura Jane Grace headlined Warehouse Live Midtown in Houston, TX.

Gainesville rockers Dikembe got the evening started with a 30-minute set. Though the band was unknown to the majority of those on hand, the group won over fans, as it was clear they were there to rock and have a good time. A couple of times throughout the performance, lead singer Steven Gray talked to the crowd, stating how grateful he and the rest of the band were to be on “the best tour we’ve ever been on.” 

“How cool is this for us little s***s from Gainesville to get to see Laura Jane Grace every night?” Gray asked the crowd. “She’s so f****** nice.” 

Thelma And The Sleaze kept the energy going with a fast-paced, in-your-face 45-minute performance that had the crowd roaring by the time it was through. Lead singer Lauren “LG” Gilbert hopped on stage, luring the audience in with her sweet Alabama twang. What came out on the instrument end was the embodiment of what punk rock is meant to be: drums quickly pounding, mixed with heavy instrumentals and a general f-you attitude that screamed sticking it to the man. 

“Heroes don’t wear capes, they wear Spanx,” Gilbert exclaimed late in the band’s set. 

Throughout the set, Gilbert gave insight into some of the songs that the group was about to play. The one that received the loudest applause was a political one aimed at Donald Trump.

“I wrote this song seven years ago about how much I hate Donald Trump,” Gilbert said. “And guess what? I still f****** hate Donald Trump!” and with that statement, the crowd applauded, many with middle fingers raised high in the air. 

But the rest of the group’s set was filled with what Gilbert called “Thelma And The Sleaze classics.” As she left the stage, Gilbert took a bow and got the crowd ready for the headliner. 

The buzz kept going as Laura Jane Grace and her bandmates Matt Patton (bassist) and Mikey Erg (drummer) were greeted with applause from the crowd. Grace opened her set with five original tracks before sprinkling in tracks from her band Against Me! 

Early on in the performance, Grace was joined by her wife, Paris, who performed the majority of the set with the group. According to Grace, she and her wife traveled to Mississippi with Patton and Erg to form Laura Jane Grace & The Medicals. The group recorded an EP there, which will be out later this year. 

That was just one of many stories that Grace told throughout the night, as plenty of memories and smiles were shared. Early into the set, two fans caught the eye of Grace as they fist-bumped each other. “Seeing you two fist bump are the kinds of moments that I live for!” 

One of the more comical moments during the performance came during a song that Grace performed that was titled “F*** You Just Because.” At the end of the track, a fan jokingly shouted “F*** you, Laura!” back at the singer, to which she laughed and recited the same words to him, adding, “We are fostering a sense of unity.” That sense of genuineness is what made this performance special as Grace was able to feed off the crowd’s energy. 

After a brief exit from the stage, Grace and her band returned to the stage, taking requests from the audience. She and the group performed two Against Me! songs as she went into “35” followed by “New Wave.” She concluded with two more original tracks before ending the performance with a singalong to “Black Me Out,” a song by Against Me! 

As Grace exited the stage with applause, it was clear that some on hand weren’t ready for the night to end. Hopefully, for them, she will be back on tour and back in Space City soon.

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About Zach Birdsong 39 Articles
A current communications specialist with a background in journalism, where he served as a multiple award-winning newspaper editor, photographer and designer. In eight years, he received 18 awards from the Tennessee Press Association, the majority of which stems from his photography. He's also been fortunate enough to have had photos used by publications around the world including Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Today Show, Vanity Fair, Vogue Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and more.