Photos by Devin Ream
Story by Aliyah Hall
Thursday night at the WOW Hall was a can’t miss for punk and rock enthusiasts when Against Me! took stage. Opening for the Against Me! was Venus DeMars, founder of the Minneapolis glam-punk act All The Pretty Horses. DeMars, sporting pink and black hair, pasties, a thong and boots rocked the audience while her bassist wore a fishnet top, shorts, and an eyepatch. Their music was as loud and as fun, matching the attire..
The second band was Creepoid – playing in Eugene for the first time. Their music had long instrumental riffs, and when the vocals started they were overpowered by the instruments, but near the end leveled out. Creepoid has been categorized as psychedelic rock and grunge.
Both bands set the mood when Against Me! took stage. The moment the music started a mosh pit formed at the right side of the crowd, leaving the left side for fans who preferred a bit of personal space. Lead singer Laura Jane Grace smiled as fans loudly sang along and pumped their fists to the beat. Fans started to crowd surf and the band cheered them on, getting out of the way so fans could dance briefly on the stage before jumping out into the mob of people below them. Grace even helped pull fans onto the stage.
The show turned hectic when a fan took reaching the stage too far when he began harassing Grace, trying to get a high five. He smacked Grace on the butt until she threw him off stage with the warning that she would kick his teeth in. Security escorted the fan out, and displaying true professionalism, Grace apologized to the crowd for the interruption and went back to playing and smiling.
The highlight of the evening came when Grace addressed her transition into a woman, bringing out a male blow up sex doll and informing the audience, “This is not my gender.” As the crowd cheered she threw the doll to them and played the song “Transgender Dysphoria Blues.’’
During the last song, Grace took the opportunity to let the crowd take over while she crowd surfed, which riled up the audience as they all tried to get close enough to touch her. Once she got back on stage she came close, allowing the front row to touch her guitar while she soloed. The song ended, drumsticks and guitar picks were ceremoniously sent into the crowd, and the set was over. By then, everyone was soaked in sweat, mildly deafened, and happy to spend a night at the WOW Hall with Against Me!