I Love You, Laura Jane Grace: Against Me! at the Fonda
Can you love someone without actually knowing them personally?
Last week, Against Me! celebrated their 10 year anniversary of the album “White Crosses.” There was a pit in my stomach and a quiet resistance to hear this album performed live that was matched equally with excitement. 2009 was an extremely tough year for me. I remember exactly when “White Crosses” was released because I was lucky enough to hear it two weeks before the general public did and it quickly became a soundtrack to keep me sane in the shit-storm I was experiencing at the time. I love this album, however, I rarely listen to it these days because I do my best to push the memories from that time deep in the back of my mind. So when Laura Jane Grace mentioned that she hated nostalgia before sharing with the audience the pain that she had been experiencing at the time Against Me! recorded “White Crosses”, it resonated to the core.
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Early in the show, a fan yelled out “I love you, Laura Jane Grace” and she mockingly responded “You don’t even know me!” I thought in my mind “What a bitch! I still love her!” Even though I had not been the one shot down, I felt the sting on a personal level. I thought back on all the times I have said, “I love Laura Jane Grace” and started to feel a bit embarrassed considering her remark. Once I moved past my own bruised ego, the feeling transcended to intrigue. My thoughts moved from judging and analysing her to trying to understand the concept. While the band powered through the rest of “White Crosses” and on through “Transgender Dysphoria Blues”, the crowd pitted, surfed, pumped their fists in the air and sang along as I stood quietly in the corner of the room swaying back and forth, contemplating the dynamic of love between an artist and their fans.
Is it more accurate to say that I love the art, or the person making it? Afterall the art is an extension of who the artist is, or is it? I have never been the type to try and meet someone when I really enjoy their work, for exactly this reason. I’ve always selfishly worried that I might end up with distaste for something that has previously brought me joy if there is a newly attached identity to it in my mind. We all tend to accept our truth about somebody that we have created however, most of the time the truth we know, isn’t really the truth at all. For musicians like Laura Jane Grace, who’s lyrics are undeniably raw and vulnerable, it’s no doubt why one would feel connected on a deeper level. Lyrics such as “Do you share the same sense of defeat? Have you realized all the things you’ll never be? Ideals turn to resentment, open minds close up with cynicism. I’ve got no judgement for you. Come on and ache with me.” call to the oneness of the human condition. Love rarely has much to do with the beloved, but more so about ourselves. There are dozens of different versions of everyone. We are not the same person to our child or our mother as we might be to a lover or a best friend. We may have our own personality, memories and thoughts that make up who we are, but we are all different versions of self depending on who is perceiving us in the moment. I could go even further to say no one truly knows anyone else, but we still have the capacity to feel love for others regardless of that. I think that it’s possible because just like music, the energy of love is universal. On a much deeper level we are all the same, we are mirrors, we love those who inspire us and help us to see ourselves or our life situations more clearly and I think Against Me! songs do just that.
For all of those who thought they would follow the link to get a recap of the show, you’re welcome, you got a personal journal entry instead! However if you’re still wondering how the show was after reading about my existential crisis, I’ll sum it up in one sentence for you. The set was lit as fuck and if you missed it, at least you can enjoy my photos!! Also, I STILL LOVE AGAINST ME! and I LOVE LAURA JANE GRACE, even if she doesn’t give a fuck and thinks I’m stupid for it!
Words and Photos by: Jessica Moncrief