You don't need a punk rock band with a transgender singer to lure out the freaks and misfits on a wet Wednesday night in Camden. They're there already. But you do need a figure like Laura Jane Grace and a band like Against Me! to rally up and unite them.
Against Me!, live in London
Venue: Electric Ballroom, London
Woke up this morning, got the Transgender Dysphoria Blues
A sense of belonging is tangible in the air of the Electric Ballroom tonight, and the task of bringing the community together in anticipation of the band everyone has come to see has fallen on the shoulders of Billy The Kid. When it's just you and a guitar in a room of this size, you better have the songs to capture and keep hold of the rabble's attention. Thankfully this kid has a backpack full of them, as well as affecting lyrics, a truly mesmerising voice, and the one thing that you can't teach but that's utterly essential to being a successful solo singer-songwriter: likeability.
With her acoustic songs of heartache, loving and living she charms the pants off the place and proves that punk rock is not a style of music but a style of life. It's an attitude that exists in your heart. If it's real and it's honest, it's punk, and Billy The Kid is all of the above. By the time she brings her set to a close with a delightful rendition of Tennessee Ernie Ford's Sixteen Tons, the whole room has come together in song and the time is right for Against Me! to come out and blow the roof off the sucker.