Laura Jane Grace, who fronts punk band Against Me!, just announced she’ll play a solo set at Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Philadelphia on Aug 21.
Admitting your career is over so blatantly seems kind of weird.
But no, I think there’s a point. And it’s a good one.
Whenever someone publicizes a public appearance at a landscaping company, it usually means incompetence on a level not seen since Abraham Lincoln’s bodyguard decided to slip out for a drink because the play got boring.
True story; he didn’t even get fired. And you felt guilty for stealing office supplies!
Grace, also a member of The Devouring Mothers, knows what she’s doing and it’s pretty brilliant. I think that incredible piece of American history sometimes gets lost in the blinding ridiculousness that followed from the former president (Trump, not Lincoln … just clarifying, because we always confuse the two, right?).
For example, remember that time when the Donald got those pig farmers drunk and talked them into attacking Congress? And they actually did it?
Of course you remember … unless you’re a congressional Republican. Everyone should remember Nov. 7, 2020 for the rest of time. Grace is correct. It should be celebrated (perhaps actually on Nov. 7, but outdoor concerts in Pennsylvania are probably a smidge warmer in August).
Whatever; it’s still a celebration of the day that summed up the possibilities of America, when we watched conservative enablers of history’s greatest conman make excuses a few doors down from a porn shop … as a national election was called for the other guy.
Literally! It was called as they stood there, looking like Forest Gump waking up to a pissed-off Mike Tyson sitting on his chest, punching his brain.
The idea of having a concert in the same parking lot is wonderful. Maybe not as punk rock as the Sex Pistols renting a boat and sailing outside British Parliament, playing “Anarchy in the U.K..” But look … it worked. It got our attention.
— Four Seasons Total Landscaping (@therealfstl1992) July 8, 2021
Maybe I should write my column in an unlikely spot for more attention … like an English class.
Supporting Laura Jane Grace on the bill will be Brendan Kelly, of the Lawrence Arms. And they’re already selling T-shirts. Which is much more ethical than former presidents asking drunk pig farmers for money to finance lawsuits he’ll never file.
“This will be the first and last time Brendan and I will play in front of a landscaping company and we promise it will be better than that MAGA shit show,” Grace said, in her press release.
Maybe punk rock is becoming pun rock.
But playing in weird places is great for business, as Rage Against the Machine learned in the early aughts when it played showed up with Michael Moore and his cameras on Wall Street and screamed about evil capitalism.
Johnny Cash had Folsom Prison and the Cramps had Napa State Hospital and Korn played in an airplane. Metallica announced it was playing San Quentin one year, and even allowed some of us commie media drones to go (signing the release form saying we wouldn’t hold them responsible if we got taken hostage in a prison riot was a bit weird).
Rock and roll always has a middle finger ready for someone which, naturally, is part of why we love it. Especially for those who deserve it. It’s like the founding fathers said: those who don’t remember idiocy in a landscaper’s parking lot are doomed to repeat it. Never again.
Follow music critic Tony Hicks at Twitter.com/TonyBaloney1967.