Strung Out/Poison the Well/Rise Against - live in Chicago (Cover Artwork)

Strung Out / Poison the Well / Rise Against

live in Chicago (2002)

live show

When I first heard about this tour, I nearly fell out of my spinny chair.

I bought my tickets the day they went on sale and I made sure I was in line outside the Cabaret Metro by 5pm even though doors did not open until 6pm. After an hour of anxiously standing outside, they let us in and my friend and I ran to the front to get good spots for the show. There was no way I'd let 6 foot tall guys block my view for this show. (Hey, I'm only 5'3...)

The first band Rufio, a pop punk quartet from California took the stage. I've had their cd for awhile so I sang along to the songs they played. They played mostly songs off of their debut album "Perhaps... I suppose" (The Militia Group) such as "In my eyes", "Dipshit", "She cries", "Road to Recovery", and they closed with "Above me." Although they were the misfits on the bill of this hardcore show, they had a somewhat positive reaction from the crowd. (I noticed there were a few kids who came just for them and kind of disappeared after Rufio left the stage). However, there were quite a few people in the crowd booing them off the stage and making lots of comments about them being a pop punk band but I kind of blocked them out. Although they are classified as pop punk, I personally think the bassist and the lead guitarist have some awesome riffs in the songs and that's what makes them more special than other pop punk bands. On the stage, they were pretty lively but it was probably a bit difficult to motivate the crowd that was more anxious to see the other bands moreso than Rufio. All in all, I think they did well for their first time in Chicago.

Next up was Rise Against a melodic hardcore band that features members of 88 Fingers Louie, Pinhead Circus and The Killing Tree. They are normally described as emotional hardcore mid-tempo punk. They are personally one of my favorite Chicago bands and they were the only band that I had seen many times before. They played mostly songs from their album "The Unraveling" (Fat Wreck); such as opening with "Reception Fades" and closing with "Six Ways Til Sunday". They also decided to play "Join the Ranks", which is on the compilation "Live Fat, Die Young." (Fat Wreck), and 401 Kill, two songs that they normally do not play at all the shows. Just recently, their guitarist Kevin White who replaced Dan Precision left the band on good terms and Todd from the Killing Tree was now taking his place. He knew the songs well so it didn't really affect their performance that night. Rise Against has never disappointed me whenever I've seen their live shows.

Third to go up was the melodic metal core band Poison the Well from Florida. I had only heard a few songs from them before I saw them, but they definitely blew me away when I saw them. A common negative comment about PTW is that all their songs sound the same, which I don't think I particularly agree with only because I have good ears and I can distinguish songs very easily, even metalcore songs. They really can rip it up on stage and the crowd was incredibly active at this point, mostly because the metalheads were feeding off the energy that PTW gave off. Because I didn't know a lot of songs by them, I can't exactly name the songs they played, but I do know they closed with the song "Nerdy" from their album "The Opposite of December" (Trustkill). I also know they did play a bunch of songs from their latest album "Tear from the Red" (Trustkill) because they'd say so before the songs. They overall impressed me, but I admit, they are much better live than on their cd.

Finally, came Strung Out, the headlining technical aggressive melodic hardcore band from So. Cal. To my dismay, my friend and I were the only remaining people in the front row who didn't move out of our spots throughout the whole show. I noticed a lot of people move to the back, but at the same time, a large amount of people moving to the front. They played a very well balanced amount of old and new songs, from "In Harm's Way" to "Velvet Alley" and everything in between. They opened with "Ultimate Devotion" from "Twisted by Design" (Fat Wreck) and closed with the song "Matchbook" also on "Twisted by Design". Not only did they play songs off of all their albums, but they also played their cover of "Bark at the Moon" by Ozzy Osbourne which can be found on the compilation "Punk Goes Metal" (Fearless). They were probably the most crowd-stimulating band out of all the ones at this show. Unfortunately, they didn't play an encore (I think that was because they were late which explains why they had to do soundcheck right before their set) and many like to complain that their set was too short, but I think they had a decent length for their set.

All in all, a very much anticipated show that didn't disappoint me at all musically. The crowd kind of disappointed me only because I don't really think a band should be booed just because they don't fit the bill of the show. This tour ends at the end of this month (June) so if they're headed your way, I suggest you go.