Rise Against w Rancid – [Live]

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Every rule seems to have an exception, and Rise Against are one of the few exceptions to my general rule of thumb that today's punk rock bands just don't "get it." Rather than rant and rave while sounding like the bitter old man that I can sometimes be when it comes to music these days, let me just say I have always respected Rise Against, not only for their music, but also because they are one of the few bands today that actually stand behind something and, unlike most of today's bands, they do so much more than wear eyeliner, play the usual three chords, and call themselves punk rock. Ooops, there I go ranting again. Anyways, when I saw that Rise Against was touring with Rancid, another band that I have the utmost respect for, I was all over it.

Opening the show tonight was Billy Talent, whose watered-down pop-punk just wasn't my thing, and I will just leave it at that.

When Rancid took the stage with a video montage behind them, I couldn't help but get just a bit sentimental. I have been a fan of Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman since the days of Operation Ivy, and to go see them go from playing 924 Gilman to playing the Oracle Arena over the years is still pretty amazing to me. It's just a shame though that they only got 45 minutes in front of their home town. Nevertheless, and despite the small crowd that was still filtering into the arena, Rancid seemed totally energized to be back in the Bay Area, and ripped through a set list that not only included "Time Bomb," "Ruby Soho," "Salvation" and "Roots Radicals," but also some new material off of their latest record, Let The Dominoes Fall. "East Bay Night" and "Last One To Die" both sounded great, but it was an acoustic version of "New Orleans," during which Tim slung his arm around Lars Frederiksen, that was the high point of their set for me, and made me realize just how much I still love this band. Seeing them up there together as punk rock brothers gave me a sense of camaraderie, and totally solidified the respect I have for Rancid.  It's really too bad they were not headlining the show. Needless to say though, the band should be touring heavily in support of their latest effort, and you should definitely not miss them.

I'm still not one hundred percent sure that Rise Against topped Rancid on this night, but they sure as hell tried. With almost an hour and a half of sing-a-long punk rock anthems, all performed with an inverted American Flag backdrop behind them, there was no doubt that the band was on top of their game, and had the kids watching them singing and pumping their fists in unison.

Vocalist and guitarist Tim McIlrath was all over the stage, and somehow managed to make the cavernous arena feel much more intimate. Fellow guitar player Zach Blair was also bouncing around the entire show, yet still delivered some blistering leads, especially noted on "State Of The Union" and "Blood To Bleed." The entire band seemed pretty tight, and it was a nice surprise to see and hear punk rock with a message delivered at and arena level. And although the band seemed to concentrate on songs off of their latest release, Appeal To Reason, (not that there wasn't anything wrong with that, as "Collapse," "The Dirt Whispered" and "Savior" all sounded great) it was their covers of Minor Threat's "Small Man, Big Mouth" and "Minor Threat," with an appearance from AFI vocalist Davey Havok, that was the highlight of the show for me.

It's nice to know punk rock is still alive and well.


Related Articles:

Let The Dominoes Fall – [Album Review]
Appeal To Reason – [Album Review]

“Last One To Die” from Let The Dominoes Fall by Rancid – [mp3]

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