Ferocious punk rock frontwoman-turned-acoustic singer-songwriter Laura Jane Grace has embarked on her Hole In My Head tour, hitting cities across the U.S., with support from Thelma & The Sleaze and Dikembe. Grace spent the majority of her career with punk rock band Against Me!, but over the past few years she has shifted directions into a solo career, releasing 3 albums and an EP. Mid-February this year, LJG released a brand new studio album, Hole In My Head. In a little city in southern Connecticut, Grace is set to perform one Friday night in March. At an intimate club, Space Ballroom.

Kicking off the evening were another Gainesville band, by the name of Dikembe. The 4 piece emo-rock group have been touring and releasing music since 2010, doing it DIY style to this day. Vocalist Steven Gray shares silly anecdotes before jumping into each song in the set, like the one about the band’s guitarist peeing on a cursed tree, the Devil’s Tree in New Jersey. The audience filed in throughout Dikembe’s 30-minute set, with the venue being just about half full as they performed their catchy, almost pop-punk sounding original tunes. 

Direct support for the night comes straight outta Nashville with a vengeance. Thelma and the Sleaze are bringing angry, horny southern rock n’ roll to stages across the country. The all-girl group brought a killer show, making a club stage feel like an arena. Frontwoman Lauren “LG” Gilbert has the mystique that many frontpeople lack in modern rock music, with her black string bikini top and way-too-big Dickies shorts held up by neon orange suspenders. Nothing is off the table with these chicks, from jumping into the crowd to yelling “fuck Donald Trump” in the mic to LG flashing her tits to shredding behind their heads and more. Thelma and the Sleaze surely know how to put on a kick ass rock show and brought the energy that a direct support act needs to hype up the crowd for the night.

The edgy singer-songwriter herself, Laura Jane Grace took the stage, alongside her bandmates bassist Matt Patton and drummer Mikey Erg. “Where the fuck are we Connecticut?” she says before opening the set with her catchy punk rock track, I’m Not A Cop. Grace is touring in support of her latest release, Hole In My Head, performing the album in its entirety, as well as a handful of Against Me classics and a couple other solo tunes, some of which have yet to be released. With most of her songs being only a couple minutes in length, in traditional punk rock fashion, the set featured nearly 25 songs. 

As she tunes up her black Rickenbacker guitar, Grace shares, “I have the perfect combination of non-alcoholic beer and Psilocybin flowing through me right now.” The band breaks into the album’s 5th track, Punk Rock in Basements, a reminiscent tale of teenage angst and DIY punk. LJG goes back to the very first full-length release she did with Against Me, with Walking Is Still Honest. The sold out crowd begins a mosh pit, jumping and moving around the floor.

As the band begins the title track of the new album, Hole in My Head, Grace’s black eye makeup begins to drip down her face, mixing with sweat – that’s rock n’ roll right? The band, dubbed LJG & The Mississippi Medicals, perform 3 more tunes from their 2024 record before moving into unreleased material, to everyone’s excitement. The crowd was treated to a live performance of 4 brand new unreleased tracks, something almost no national acts do anymore.

Grace welcomes her new wife, comedian Paris Campbell, to the stage to perform backing vocals on a few songs. These two, clearly very in love, exchange smiles as they glance back at each other. The group played only one song from 2020’s Stay Alive album, the song being SuperNatural Possession. Much of the audience was there for the Against Me tunes, which became clear as LJG moved into the AM! heavy portion of the set. The crowd chanted and sang at a deafening volume to tunes like Miami, True Trans Soul Rebel, Baby, I’m an Anarchist and more. “We’ve got one more, one more, one more,” says Grace and The Mississippi Medicals close the night with Against Me’s Sink, Florida, Sink.

Standing alone, LJG returns to the stage, easing back into it, closing out the Hole In My Head album with Dysphoria Hoodie, Cuffing Season and Give Up The Ghost. To end the evening once more, the band performs the anger-fueled tune, Black Me Out, from Against Me’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues album. Laura Jane Grace has created an incredible thing with her live shows, cultivating this loving, accepting punk rock community united by her music – it’s beautiful.


Shannon Wilk

Shannon Wilk is a Connecticut-based music industry creative; bassist and photographer. She has brought her bass guitar skills to stages all over the country in various bands, most recently The Heartless and Alice Loves Alien. Dubbed the “female Rudy Sarzo”, Shannon has a unique and captivating stage presence in addition to her distinctive playing style. Since beginning her professional career in 2019, she has made waves in both the live music scene and the digital world, playing legendary stages such as the Whisky A Go-Go and the Monsters of Rock Cruise, as well as accumulating nearly 1 million views across online platforms.At 17 years old, Shannon Wilk has become a force to be reckoned with in the rock n’ roll scene. In addition to her blossoming music career, she has continued to showcase her passion for live music through concert photography. From KISS to Foo Fighters to Evanescence to Yungblud and more, Shannon has captured rock royalty through her lens. In 2018, she launched her own publication, Rockin’ Interviews, where she has connected with beloved ‘80s heavy metal artists through her independently produced podcast.