Rise Against / Mad Caddies / The Real McKenzies - live in Chicago (Cover Artwork)

Rise Against / Mad Caddies / The Real McKenzies

live in Chicago (2003)

live show

Wow, on a sunday night, I was finally ready for the big fat wreck tour. I had very high expectations, considering that Rise Against's "The Unraveling" had been in my cd player for about 4 months. It was a very cold night in Chicago, and my friends and I arrived just in time for it to start.

First up were the Flipsides. This is a female fronted band on Pink and Black, I guess like all their other bands, and I think they only have one cd out thus far. Basically it's very predictable punk music. Just guitars, bass and drums, no real personal style. Though they didn't get much of a crowd reaction, there was a small group of kids who seemed really into their set. I thought it to be just "okay". Though I will say after the show, when I listened to the free Fat Wreck sampler, their stuff wasn't half bad.

Not expecting much out of Honest Don's contribution, next up were the Real McKenzies. As they set up, they looked terribly aged. I suppose it's from all the whiskey and beer they sing about. They started with a bang, and sang about the Lochness Monster. You got to hand it to the Irish/Scottish bands, they all have a ton of energy (Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, Tossers). This band was just great. The lead singer had a real preference, and their style was similar to the Dropkick Murphys. In fact, a few rowdy guys in the back sang "Barroom Hero" for no apparent reason. The lead singer spit a lot on the stage, and he talked a lot about how he loved to drink. Halfway through the performance, he called the people on the balcony bastards, and mooned the crowd. Yes, they were quite amusing. The bagpiper, who looked like a horse, often stomped his feet and drank beers. When he threw a bottle cap into the crowd, I caught it. He drank a lot, and threw a lot of them out, so i'm sure a lot of people got bottletops. Another memeber of the band, gave a beer to a guy in the crowd. The guy he gave it to couldn't have been older than 18, but nobody seemed to mind. The only scary thing that happened during their set was that their singer hunched over, and started to pound his chest. I thought maybe he was having a heart attack, and he left the stage, only to return several minutes later. Great live band. You have to see these guys.

Oh yeah, the Mad Caddies. These guys, I was expecting a lot from. This was to be the only show where they weren't headlining, because Chicago is Rise Against's hometown. These guys have an intersting ska sound. They sort of have a latin-American ska style. First off, their lead signer is 180 degrees from what I thought he'd look like. He didn't really intereact with the crowd much. I was shoved up against the barrier in the front, but i'm sure a lot of slam dancing was going on in the back. They played a lot of good songs like: "Monkeys", "Leavin", "No Hope". Though their set soon got old fast, the lead singer had the stupidest dance too. He did a very pathetic John Travolta type dance. Also, the lead singer needs to stop drinking, he has a horrible gut. Horrible. They could have played with more energy, and at the end of the day, their first songs were good, but my opinion of them would have been much higher had they only played like 5 songs.

Rise Against, before they started, Tim said his voice was a little weak, because he was sick from their show in Canada. But oh, they got off with a bang. It all started with "Alive and Well". The crowd was full of very muscular, guys, most of which smelled. I got kicked in the head by way to many crowd surfers. I'm sure a lot of the bruises are from me getting rowdy from Rise Against's fast energetic, self-confident music. They really have a good message, about being yourself, and just not caring about other's opinions. I kept wondering what Tim's shirt meant during the show. It said "One Day Savior", and later I laughed at my own ignorance. It is actually The Killing Tree's label. At the time, I thought Tim was trying to make some type of statement about his religious views - which would have been cool with me, I mean that stuff is important to a lot of people, myself included.

But anyway, their set was amazing, and of course they ended with "Six Ways Til Sunday." Then, they came back to an encore to play one more new song. Their new stuff sounds amazing. D/l "Heaven Knows", or buy the new Atticus cd, to hear it. It really might be their best stuff yet.

The show was worth it, but I think Fat, could have had a better lineup - I mean, they did just sign Against Me! and None More Black, and a lot of people are interested in them. Not to mention other notable great bands like - Dillinger Four, Lawrence Arms, Propagandhi, Anti-Flag and Avail. Well, thats my two cents. Now you can all tell me where I was wrong (like I care, haha). Go to the show if you can with friends, it won't be amazing, but you'll have a good time with people you care about.