Bad Religion Rock The Mayan Theater Los Angeles, CA 11-9-14

Launched in 2012, Red Bull Sound Select is a showcase which helps music lovers discover new artists as well as celebrate those musicians which helped shaped the scene.  Back in November, the special 30 Days in LA took place with sixty artists spread out over thirty different venues.  In week two of the festive celebration of music, on Sunday November 9th, Los Angeles’ own Punk Rock legends, Bad Religion, were the guest of honor with opening support from The Scandals and BABY BABY.  Just off their summer long tour with Offspring and Pennywise, Bad Religion appeared at Red Bull Sound Select downtown at the former Movie Palace, now known as The Mayan Theater, with a sold out crowd of anxious fans.

Getting the evening started on the right foot was New Jersey’s The Scandals.  Together now for a decade, this Punk Rock four-piece consists of vocalist/guitarist Jared Hart, guitarist Anthony Iarossi, drummer Paulie Yaremko, and bassist/vocalist Sean Carney.  Dedicating themselves to performing live, the band bring a traditional Punk attitude to the stage each time, with high energy and a raw sound.  Playing tracks like “Sold on Merit” and “Avalanche,” among others, had the crowd moving around on the floor and thoroughly enjoying the music.  Mixing melodic guitar riffs with hard-hitting drums of Yaremko, The Scandals were a pleasant surprise well-worth arriving early to check out.  Their 2012 EP, Trenchknife, is available online.

Next on the stage was Atlanta, Georgia’s BABY BABY.  Providing an interesting blend of party Rock tunes, this band came together in 2009.  Out to bring a good time to audiences, the band consists of guitarist/vocalist Fontez Brooks, drummer Grant Wallace, aux percussionist Colin Boddy, keyboardist Ryan Burruss, and bassist Hsiang-Ming Wen.  From the moment they began performing it was easy to see while they have a keen sense of humor, they are also equipped musicians.  Playing songs like “Haters,” as well as “A Short Little Summer Love Song,”  BABY BABY could not help but have people booming their heads.  Their new album Big Boy Baller Club is out now and worth checking out for those looking for music that dares to be different.

After being treated to new and upcoming acts, the time had come for the sold out crowd to bare witness to Bad Religion.  Celebrating their thirty-fifth anniversary as a band in 2014, Bad Religion has been a steady force through the years releasing sixteen studio albums, including their 2013 effort True North.  Led by long-time members vocals/guitarist Greg Graffin, guitarist/vocalist Brett Gurewitz, bassist/vocalist Jay Bentley, the band is rounded out by guitarist/vocalist Brian Baker, drummer Brooks Wackerman, and newest member guitarist/vocalist Mike Dimkich. Being a band that has never shyed away from social issues, Bad Religion is known for lyrics that address religion, politics, and society in general and their songs have become anthems for generations of Punk fans that defy conformism.  Building up the anticipation even more, this performance would in fact be their final time on stage in 2014, which clearly was recognized by supporters who were amped up moments before Bad Religion took the stage.

Starting the performance off with 1982 track “Fuck Armageddon… This Is Hell,” Bad Religion quickly jumped to newer generation pieces such as “Supersonic,” and “Prove It.”   Having everyone singing along from the first note, Graffin enticed the audience with his unique stage presence that was matched by the guitar jams of Gurewitz and Baker, along with the intense drumming of Wackerman.   As the set marched on at a fast pace, songs like “Stranger Than Fiction,” “True North,” “No Control,” and “You” were just some of the highlights.  Keeping the audience’s attention, “Fuck You” had chants pouring off the floor before favorites “1000 More Fools,” “Do What You Want,” and “Generator.”  It seemed as if Bad Religion’s mix of songs were contagious while the sound level was just right through the amazing thirty song set that concluded with True North track “Dept. of False Hope.”

Encouraged to return to the stage for a few more songs, Bad Religion did just that when they treated their hometown crowd to an encore of “New Dark Ages,” “21st Century (Digital Boy),” before blowing the roof off the theater with “American Jesus.”  Singing along at the most amplified level of the evening, the audience set off the band in a tremendous display of support during the closing number.  Thankfully for the Punk Rock scene, a band of Bad Religion’s clout is still going strong.  Their music still strikes an emotion in the hearts of the listeners, and hearing the songs live is nothing less than an amazing experience.  While the 2014 touring cycle for Bad Religion has ended, it was recently announced they will be part of Germany’s Rock AM Ring as well as Rock im Park in 2015, so do not miss a chance to travel abroad and see them.

Photo credit: Diane Gallemore
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