Bad Religion / OFF! / The Interrupters - Live in Hollywood (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Bad Religion / OFF! / The Interrupters

Live in Hollywood (2015)

live show

On Friday, April 17, 2015 I went to The Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, California to see three LA-native bands perform. It was one of the best line-ups for a show I had ever seen. All three bands represented a different sub-genre of punk rock. The Interrupters were there to represent ska-punk, OFF! had hardcore covered, and Bad Religion, of course, were there to blow the audience away with their harmony-intensive melodic punk rock sound.

The show started with The Interrupters at 9:00PM. Now I had seen this band live before a few years back when they opened for Rancid and I was not that impressed. I felt that they were trying to be “cute” on stage rather than focusing on the actual music. I don’t mind when band members all dress up in the same clothing and run around on stage, but when both of those things come off as the focus of a band’s performance, I will call the band out for it. But again, that was a few years ago and The Interrupters have two releases and a whole lot of touring under their belt. This time I can say that they had improved their live performance significantly. I actually got pretty into it their songs and they began to grow on me a bit this time. They corrected all of the mistakes I felt they made when I saw them last. The guitarist and bassist were full of energy and running back and forth on stage and jumping around. Aimee Interrupter (and the whole band) had much better stage presence and seemed a lot more confident on stage. Between songs the band members were cracking self-deprecating jokes, but what really hit me was when they mentioned that they were from “The Valley” (aka the San Fernando Valley), which is where I’m from. Finding out that the band and I are from the same area of Los Angeles made their performance a little more special to me. They played a bunch of songs from their full-length like “A Friend Like Me,” “The Is The New Sound,” Family, ” and “Liberty.” They also played the B-side off their new 7-inch which is called “Jenny Drinks.” The coolest part of the band’s set was when Elvis Cortez of Left Alone got on stage and played a cover of “Sound System” by Operation Ivy. The Interrupters were full energy and really got the crowd warmed up for the following acts. People in the pit were even skanking in circles quite a bit during the 45 minute set. They put on a very fun performance overall.

OFF! took the stage at 9:45PM. There was a lot of tension amongst the crowd because everyone knew the storm OFF! was going to bring. And god damn! The band absolutely killed it! Keith Morris and the band brought their A-game that night. His vocals were full of anger, which were accompanied by is confrontational hand and facial expressions. He, along with the rest of the band was jumping flailing around through out every song. I mean when you are playing those awesome songs, how could you not go completely ape-shit on stage? But the band member was pretty wild on stage was Dimitri Coats. Unfortunately, he could not do his signature “leaning on the crowd” while playing his guitar because there was about five feet between the stage and the barricade. But it was so cool to see him run back to his amp to get a ton of feedback for his guitar solos and see this big mop of hair go back and forth while he head banged. A significant amount of the songs on OFF!’s setlist were songs, as Keith said, “…from our new record that came out a year ago.” I was totally cool with that to say the least and judging by the way that a massive circle pit formed during their performance, I’m pretty sure that the audience was, too. They played songs from Wasted Years like “Red, White and Black,” “Legion of Evil,” “Void You Out,” and “Meet Your God.” OFF! also played a solid amount of their older songs like “Jeffrey Lee Peirce,” “Poison City,” “Wiped Out” (one of my favorites), “King Kong Brigade,” “Darkness” and “Panic Attack” all of which were performed perfectly. They ended their set with “Upside Down.” Surprisingly there was not a lot of between song banter from Keith. There was some, but not as much as when I saw them in November. I always like to hear what he has to say. Regardless, OFF! put on an awesome performance.

At 11:00PM Bad Religion took the stage. And when I say Bad Religion, I am also including Brett Gurewitz. It was so cool to see all six members on stage together. The band spared no time and played “Spirit Shine,” “Super Sonic,” “Prove It,” and “Can’t Stop” without a break. After a short introduction, the band followed those four songs up with their classic tune “Stranger Than Fiction.” Since it was a pretty rare occurrence to see Brett playing with the rest of the band I paid a little extra attention to his performance. At first, he seemed a little timid, standing a bit further back than the rest of the band members, but as the show went on he grew more comfortable and confident. For a band that has been around for so long, they still could put on one hell of show. They haven’t lost any ability perform with such energy and charisma in the least bit. Jay Bentley was the one who was bouncing around and had the best grip on the back up vocals out of all of them. He cracked a few funny jokes and talked to the audience a bit. The job of playing the guitar solos was easily taken care of by Brian Baker and Mike Dimkich. They had those solos down with no problems at all. However, Brett got to play the guitar solo for “Sorrow,” his only one of the night. What was also pretty cool about their performance of “Sorrow” was that the echoes of Greg’s vocals from the recording were added for this performance. Greg Graffin’s vocals in general were great as usual. Like the lyrics he sang, even his hand gestures seemed smarter than the average front man’s. What really blew me away about Bad Religion’s performance was their performance of “Skyscraper.” When all of them sang together, it was a very remarkable and powerful moment. I was amazed at how perfectly the vocals for that song sounded. What also made this Bad Religion performance pretty special was that a significant portion of their setlist was dedicated to only songs from No Control in celebration of the album’s 25th anniversary. You can see which songs they played below, but I was so happy to hear them play “You,” which is one of my all time favorite songs in their discography.

This was one hell of show because this was a once-in-a-life time line up. The fact that all three of these LA bands were playing in Hollywood made it an extra meaningful event. The Interrupters definitely surprised me in how much they improved their live performance, OFF! was spectacular, as was Bad Religion. If you can catch this tour in your city, I would make it a priority to get a ticket to the show. Trust me, you won’t want to miss it.

Bad Religion Setlist:
Spirit Shine
Super Sonic
Prove It
Can’t Stop
Stranger Than Fiction
Modern Man
Kyoto Now
Fuck You
Dharma And The Bomb
Social Suicide
You Are the Government
Delirium of Disorder
Do What You Want
Only Rain

No Control Section
Change of Ideas
Big Bang
No Control
Sometimes It Feels Like
I Want To Conquer The World

The Handshake
Recipe For Hate
American Jesus

Fuck Armageddon…This Is Hell
Fields of Mars