The Rock Against Bush 2004 tour through the southwest was aimed mainly at colleges and universities and this stop was at the Bren Events Center, UC Irvine. With tickets only $6 if you were a student, I'd guess the show attracted just over 1000 people to nearly fill the floor and the stands about halfway. The show got started early with openers Aggro Tommy, from Long Beach, with their female-fronted melodic sound. The singer is evidently married to Erik of NOFX and the drummer used to play in No Doubt way back in the day. They weren't bad and entertained the early arrivals.
As this was the Rock Against Bush Tour, the politics were definitely there, much to the dissapointment to many of the 19 year old republicans (Orange County seems full of them) and apathetic students. Between bands a screen was put up on stage showing segments of the DVD put out by Punk Voter about Bush's policies in Iraq and elsewhere. By the time Authority Zero took to the stage the place had filled up. It seemed like the crowd was somewhat into them, with some people singing along. To me they sounded like Sublime with more of a pop-punk influence and I remebered the one or two songs that have played on the local LA/OC independent radio stations that have come and gone over the past year or so. Their singer was really good and was into the music, especially during their hyper "drinking song" that I couldn't understand. I think I remember hearing they have a song or two in Portugese so I guess that was it.
The crowd didn't really get into moshing until Alkaline Trio came on, once again after a few minutes of clips from Punk Voter. The Trio tore it up as far as I was concerned, playing much better than when I last saw them at the Warped Tour a couple years ago. My one complaint was that it was a shorter set, maybe only 30 to 40 minutes, and that the sound wasn't quite right. I ended up shoving my way up front to get closer to the speakers so I could her it nice and loud. The moshing was intense from this point on during the show. I only say this because I was worried that UCI students would get into it much, but I wasn't the only student having a good time and singing along. I guess my school is cool after all. Anyway, as far as a setlist, my memory is already failing me but I know they played "Private Eye" and "We've Had Enough" early on along with a few more off MICF and Infirmary. "Cringe" was the only one from Goddammit they played but they also played "All on Black" and closed with "This Could Be Love" followed by a cover to end it. As for the second guitarist that they have been taking on tour with them, he was there but ONstage this time. He hung around in back of Matt mostly. They just played, which is good because I don't know how politics would sound coming from these guys.
Jello Biafra is supposed to be on this tour to "MC" but he was not present for this stop only. So instead we were all greeted by Fat Mike himself who gave his take on politics in the US. People wanted him off right away and he must have spent at least 5 minutes trying to get people to shut up so he could talk. He answered questions and gave his take on the Supreme Court and Iraq. The mood was quite serious without too many jokes and cheap shots taken at the president. A few more minutes of video followed before the headliners took to the stage.
The song "Heart and Soul" was playing on a keyboard and El Jefe ran out to join in on trumpet, followed by the rest of the band and cheers from the audience. Fat Mike came on with the comment that the "political Mike had been replaced by the fun Mike". After that silly but cool opener the band went right in to "Idiots are Taking Over" (I think) and the place went crazy for the next 45 minutes. They played "Bottles to the Ground" and "Franko Unamerican" of their newer releases as well as the classics like "Bob", "Soul Doubt", "The Longest Line", and one of the lesbian songs along with others. In-between song banter was about Mexicans and Orange County and Riverside but they kept it pretty clean, with the exception of one comment directed to a girl on some guys shoulders... Evidently were were joined in the pit by someone from the Vandals and somebody from Guttermouth. They played well overall in their characteristic sloppy style. Mike had to turn down our pleas for "The Decline" saying they didn't remember it. I guess he was right considering he actually forgot the words to a couple songs halfway through. They closed with "Linoleum" and "Theme from A NOFX Album" and that wrapped up a shorter than normal set but a fun night. Don't miss this tour when it swings by your town.