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Laura Jane Grace & the Mississippi Medicals: Tiny Desk Concert

The set list kept changing, right up until showtime. Laura Jane Grace had to cram more than two decades of music — both solo material and from her influential punk band Against Me! — into 15 minutes. Her band was used to this gleeful chaos. Grace's wife, Paris Campbell Grace, Drive-By Truckers' Matt Patton and The Ergs' Mikey Erg make up the Mississippi Medicals, a loving and stabilizing force for a catalog of songs about American injustice, creative frustration, identity and broken promises… but also hope through collective action and personal revelation. In this Tiny Desk, you'll see them play newer songs ("I'm Not a Cop" and "All F***** Out"), but also throwbacks to “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong” (a personal request) and an absolutely powerful version of "Black Me Out."

An Against Me! show changed my life. Before Grace's set, I shared a story about a sweet, sheltered suburban kid who spent his freshman year at shows instead of studying for class. (I lost my college scholarship, but, hey it worked out for me in the end.) Reinventing Axl Rose had just come out, but everyone knew every single word. In the small living room, the mass of bodies moved like high tide, pushing and pulling as we gleefully sang, “ ‘Cause, baby, I’m an anarchist / And you’re a spineless liberal." We knew that the world can be rotten and cruel, yet could be beautiful, too, in how we fight for freedom together. At one point, the swell spilled over and I fell out the back door, then was quickly pulled back up because that’s what we do when someone falls.

Walking back to my dorm room afterward, beaming and bruised, I had a realization: Punk is complex and contradictory; it will fail and frustrate you… but it will also set you free. That paradox still haunts and challenges me, but I wear these songs — and all that have come after — like armor.

SET LIST

  • “I’m Not a Cop” 
  • “All F***** Out”
  • “Supernatural Possession” 
  • “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong”
  • “Black Me Out” 


MUSICIANS

  • Laura Jane Grace: vocals, guitar
  • Paris Campbell Grace: vocals
  • Matt Patton: bass, vocals
  • Mikey Erg: drums, vocals


TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producer: Lars Gotrich
  • Director/Editor: Maia Stern
  • Audio Technical Director: Josephine Nyounai
  • Host/Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Videographers: Maia Stern, Joshua Bryant, Elizabeth Gillis
  • Audio Engineer: Carleigh Strange
  • Photographer: Estefania Mitre
  • Tiny Desk Team: Hazel Cills, Kara Frame, Ashley Pointer
  • Executive Producer: Suraya Mohamed
  • Series Creators: Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins

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