The last time I had seen Rise Against, they were opening for Bad Religion, and they didn't have much of a crowd. It was a major surprise to me, considering they were kind of getting big all of the sudden. I went to this show and was blown away by how big the crowd was. It seemed like Rise Against was finally getting the popularity they deserved, and they put on a show that night that seemed to thank all the people that showed up.
The first band of the night was Only Crime. They consisted of various members from other big punk bands, including Bill Stevenson of Black Flag and the Descendents. The first song they played wasn't that good; I was kind of upset, knowing how good they were on record. Then they played the song "Doomsday Breach," and their show turned around from there and I really enjoyed it.
Alexisonfire was next. They had a lot of stage presence and energy, and I enjoyed their set a lot as well too. During their set they announced that Tsunami Bomb, who were also on tour with Rise Against, couldn't make it to the show tonight. I thought that they were just going to have Rise Against do an extended set, but later on they announced that there would be a super special surprise band coming out to fill Tsunami Bomb's spot.
I was anxious to find out who it was, because the possibilities seemed endless. I was thinking it could be a band on the Fat Wreck roster considering it's the label Rise Against used to be on, or a band from the Equal Vision roster, because of Alexisonfire.
I was pleasantly surprised when the curtains rose to see a familiar face: Efrem from Death By Stereo. The set was great and they played some songs off of their upcoming CD Death for Life. One song from the new CD stood out; they said it was called "What Would Jesus Do." It was a great song, and I was glad that Rise Against chose them to fill in for Tsunami Bomb.
It was time for Rise Against to play, but as usual with semi-big shows, it took what seemed like 20 minutes of the house DJ blasting shitty music before the band came on. The curtains opened and I heard the familiar beat of a base drum, and they broke out with "To Them These Streets Belong." They played "State of the Union," "Blood Red White And Blue," "Blood To Bleed," "1000 Good Intentions," "Like The Angel," and a few more in no particular order. I would've remembered better if I wasn't struggling to stand up the whole time. The time came when Tim started talking about how the night was going to be a night full of surprises; he Invited Bill from Only Crime, but more importantly Black Flag to the drums and mentioned his inspirations and thanked Jim from Pennywise who was there that night for inspiring him also. They then proceeded to cover "Nervous Breakdown" by Black Flag. A fourth of the way through the song I noticed a change in vocals; I looked up to see Jim from Pennywise on the mic. He sang the chorus, then went to the backup mic and sang along with Tim; it was the highlight of my night. They went on to play a few songs from the new CD like "Life Less Frightening," "Paper Wings," and a few from Revolutions Per Minute like "Last Chance Blueprint." The last song they played before the encore was "Give It All." I was surprised again when for the encore Tim went out with an acoustic guitar and said it was the first time he had played "Swing Life Away" live. It was a great start to an amazing encore. Next they played "Heaven Knows," which was great live. The next song was "Torches" and It was the second best song of the night. They closed with "Black Masks And Gasoline." After the show all I was thinking was that it turned out a lot better then I expected, and I felt that Rise Against thanked their fans in an amazing fashion. I thank Rise Against for getting big and still knowing how to rock the hell out of a show.