Chicago Punk-Rock quartet Rise Against are celebrating their 15th anniversary as a band as they return to UK shores and we saw them play the o2 Academy Birmingham last night (Thursday 6th) and here’s five things we learnt:
1) The Next Big Boyband
These indie hipster boybands that like to wear skinny jeans and play their own instruments are becoming increasingly popular with the rise of bands like Five Seconds of Summer and The Vamps, and the show’s first act, Swimmers, are definitely the next one to join those ranks. Despite this being a punk-rock show, these indie-rockers receive a surprisingly warm welcoming from the small crowd already in to see them.
2) Old Dogs, New Tricks
Half the crowd tonight are here for punk rock veterans Pennywise, who’ve been together for 26 years and are still schooling every other band on the punk rock map on how to put on a show. With a set jam-packed of hits, and a tonne of circle pits, Pennywise put Birmingham through their paces as each song gives the set more and more momentum. If the whole crowd chanting “woah woah oh” harmonically throughout closer Bro Anthem is anything to go by, then Pennywise are still rocking it no matter how old they are
3) Gone Too Long
From the moment the over-sized Black Market banner drops to the non-stop tin-of-sardines crowd, you know for a fact that Chicago’s finest, Rise Against have been away from British shores for far too long. Yeah, they’ve done Download and Warped Tour, but nothing like this. Insane opening trio Ready To Fall, Give It All and Re-Education (Through Labour) work the crowd up into an unbelievable frenzy of mosh pitting, jumping and singing. And even frontman Tim McIlrath admits their return is way overdue thanks to the crowd’s ferocious reaction.
4) Poetically Political
Rise Against are known for being activists for a number of causes but it’s not until you experience them live that you realise how poetically political this band really are. Whether it’s the heart string pulling thought provoking People Live Here or the statement-making Make It Stop, Rise Against have a catalogue of soul-touching lyrics soaked in perfect music.
5) Leaders of the Pack!
There are few bands around, especially ones that are now celebrating their 15th anniversary that can have a crowd eating completely and utterly out of their hands like warped minions. Of course, Rise Against are sounding better than ever before right now, and better than any other punk-rock band on the market. They’ve got the tunes, they’ve got the presence, and they’ve got damn cool fans.
If you want to be blown away then Rise Against are the band to see!