October 16, 2014 Rise Against Sellout Best Buy Theater, NYC 9-26-14
Whoever said Punk Rock is dead needs to rethink that statement when it comes to Chicago, Illinois band Rise Against. Planted in the underground nearly fifteen years ago, the band socially stands up for their beliefs and never shy away from them in their raw, honest musical approach, much like Punk bands they grew up listening to. Now in 2014, after releasing their seventh studio album, The Black Market, Rise Against takes on a world tour which began in North America at Riot Fest Toronto and landed in New York City on Friday September 26th for a sold out show at Best Buy Theater right in the center of the city action. With support from Radkey and Touché Amoré, the surrounding streets outside the theater were packed with anxious fans eager to get in for this much talked about show.
Breaking the ice early was the talented youngsters named Radkey from Missouri. Consisting of three brothers, Isaiah (bass), Solomon (drums), and Dee (lead vocals and guitar); they bring an intense Punk Rock type sound that cannot be ignored. Releasing their first EP titled Cat & Mouse in 2013, do not let their age deter, these kids instantly impressed while moving around the stage quickly and rocking some difficult guitar riffs. Having the classic radiant Punk vibe with their do not care attitude matched perfect with the sound of their tunes like “Feed My Brian,” “Red Letter,” and “N.I.G.G.A. (Not Okay).” Very well knowing the NYC crowd probably had no idea who or what they were, they were perfectly comfortable with themselves on stage and put on a great performance of loud aggressive music with topical revealing lyrics. By the end of their set it seemed as if they won over this crowd and everyone was bobbing their heads in approval. Radkey are certainly a bright new addition to the Punk Rock scene which is welcomed with open arms.
Following up next was Los Angeles, Californians by the name of Touché Amoré. Together now since 2007, this Post-Hardcore band’s debut 2009 album, …To the Beat of a Dead Horse, was received warmly and some even called it the best of the year. Now part of independent Hardcore label Deathwish, they released their third studio album Is Survived By in 2013 and continue to strike attention with thought-provoking lyrics and raw tones. Coming out with something to prove, they lit up the stage with songs like “Just Exist,” “Praise/Love,” and Anyone/Anything” to name just a few. Lead vocalist Jeremy Bolm belted out each lyric with a sense of urgency and very emotional hoarse vibrato which could only be described as captivating. Losing themselves in music, guitarists Clayton Stevens and Nick Steinhardt played their instruments with such force it was a sight to be seen. Provoking the same feelings in the audience, fans crowd surfed and screamed along with every lyrics to each tune showing Bolm they are with him every step of the way. Performing other tracks such as “Art Official,” Touché Amoré left a lasting impression that no one could deny.
Having their brains rattled by two acts thus far, the floor became packed to full capacity as the crowd shuffled as close to the stage as possible awaiting Rise Against. Keeping themselves busy in recent years with touring abroad and in other portions of North America, many were heard talking over the last time they saw band live. Now after seemingly a three year absence from New York City, the wait was finally over and the reward was mere moments away as everyone focused on the stage wound up like a jack-in-the-box ready to pop.
As lead vocalist Tim McIlrath took to the stage baring a smile, not a moment wasted before the room went absolutely wild and Rise Against kicked off with “Ready to Fall.” Surfing their way to the front from the start, the energy felt in the audience was unbelievable going into “Give It All” to which McIlrath jumped down onto the barricade singing and interacting face to face with fans. One after another, they pumped out classics such as “Re-Education (Through Labor),” followed with “The Good Left Undone” and newest single “I Don’t Want to Be Here Anymore.” With Zach Blair on lead guitar, leaping into the air and jolting around the stage, the rest of the band rocked just as hard as bassist Joe Principe and drummer Brandon Barnes played to the crowd’s roar. Taking a moment to breath, McIlrath made sure to mention it was in fact fifteen years ago when Rise Against was starting out that they played their first NYC show at CBGB’s. Having everyone hollering a chant of “rise” filled the air as fans pumped their fists and “Chamber the Cartridge” began. Now with even more crowd surfing, a larger mosh pit, it was pure anarchy, and everyone loved it.
Continuing on, they performed 2001 track “Alive and Well,” which McIlrath dedicated the song to openers Radkey, calling them the future of Punk Rock. Humble, as well as real, McIlrath’s statements such as these prove throughout the years that Rise Against are about the music and the scene, which is much bigger than themselves. Playing on with more favorites “Audience of One” and “Satellite,” an acoustic showcase came after with the beautiful new song “People Live Here,” followed by “Swing Life Away.” Ranging from shattering screams to soft melodic vocals, McIlrath was unbelievable as well as the rest of the band. Seeming as if the night was all but concluded, an ovation resulted in an encore of the powerful tracks “Make It Stop (September’s Children)” and “Savior (extended bridge).” This was an awe-inspiring concert-going experience if there ever was one. The sheer emotions Rise Against bring to the stage and share with their audience is remarkable and proves that music can make a positive difference in someone’s life.
Rise Against will be heading to Europe in November:
11/3 — Sheffield, UK — Sheffield Academy
11/4 — Glasgow, Scotland — Glasgow Academy
11/6 — Birmingham, UK — Birmingham Academy
11/8 — Manchester, UK — Manchester AC Apollo
11/9 — Southampton, UK — Southampton Guildhall
11/10 — London, UK — Brixton Academy
11/11 — Brussels, Belgium — Ancienne Belgique
11/13 — Amsterdam, Netherlands — Heinekein Music Hall
11/14 — Paris, France — Bataclan
11/16 — Frankfurt, Germany — Festhalie
11/17 — Dusseldorf, Germany — Mitsubishi Electric Halle
11/19 — Hamburg, Germany — O2
11/20 — Berlin, Germany — Velodrom
11/22 — Copenhagen, Denmark — Amager Bio
11/23 — Stockholm, Sweden — Arenan
11/25 — Oslo, Norway — Sentrum Scene