Common Rider - live in Portland, OR (Cover Artwork)

Common Rider

live in Portland, OR (2002)

live show

"Music ain't nothing but expression of joy, when the train hits your gonna feel it."

Goddamn right.

Remember Jesse Michaels? The singer guy from Op Ivy? Well, he is back, and taking some motherfucking numbers with him.

Common Rider approached the stage on the Plea for Peace tour in Portland Oregon shortly after 8pm. Jesse stood to the side and stretched for about ten minutes, we all eventually knew why. Jesse danced himself into a sweat after 30 seconds of the first song. He runs, he jumps, he falls, he throws his mic, and wraps the mic cord around his eyes, all while singing. If he didn't stretch before doing any of this, he would fuckin' pull every single part of his body.

The rest of the band, which included Mass and Dan from Screeching Weasel, and also featured Matt and Phillip from the Teen Idols on guitars, started putting their instruments on their shoulders.

Here came Jesse. And without further ado – the band kicked into Castaways, a song Jesse says is one of his favorite Common Rider songs.

There were few breaks between most of the songs, but Jesse did spend a few minutes talking about the importance of suicide prevention and made sure we all signed the petitions in the back of the venue.

The crowd didn't seem into Common Rider for the first two songs, but then Jesse said something about it.

"I want you to get up and dance."

The very next song, On Broadway, there was a huge fuckin' pit. The crowd went crazy. They relaxed afterwards, and over the next 12 songs, all you could hear was the entire crowd chanting the lyrics to every song. At one point during Carry On, Jesse stopped singing and let the crowd to his job, and you could see the entire band loved it. Also during Carry On, Jesse freestyled into the Clash cover song Armeageddon Time and right into a Toots and the Maytalls song, and then flowed right back into Carry On. It was beautiful.

The crowd kept chanting for all kinds of Common Rider songs, and, because of this, they added four songs that were not on their set list, including their amazing finale, Prison Break.

After the show, Jesse and Mass told me that they had a lot of fun. They both agreed that the response from Portland was one of the biggest yet. I was slightly saddened by the fact that they didn't play One Ton, my favorite Common Rider song, but it was amazing without it. If I had to have one giant complaint it would be the venue itself. The Crystal Ballroom has the worst sounding vocals, Jesse's voice at times was completely inaudible. But that is the venue's fault, not Common Rider because every time I see a show there, the vocals are always terrible.

So, go fuckin see Common Rider. Great show, and they fuckin' have fun. They have so much fun that everyone around you is forced to have fun as well. Get up and fuckin' dance.

Set list in order:



Small Pebble

On Broadway


Midnight Passenger

Am I on My Own

Conscious Burning

Classics of Love

Set the Method Down


Carry On

Prison Break

Visit both Common Riders homepage for more info on the band and please visit for info on Suicide Prevention.

The Kristin Brooks Hope Center provides free national access to suicide crisis counseling through the National Hopeline Network 1-800-SUICIDE. Help is provided through a network of local suicide prevention centers that are certified by the American Association of Suicidology. When those in crisis call the Hope Center's toll-free phone number, 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433), a sophisticated computer routes the call automatically to the closest participating center.