Bad Religion - live in Thunder Bay (Cover Artwork)

Bad Religion

live in Thunder Bay (2008)

live show

Back in the mid-1980s, American punk rock had hit a brick wall and some might say it was even on the verge of extinction in some parts of the land. However, Bad Religion's 1988 release, Suffer was the spark that reignited punk rock's flames and took the punk rock world by storm. On Monday, September 22, Southern Californian punk rock legends Bad Religion made their way to the stage of the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium.

When I found out in mid-August that Bad Religion were going to be coming to Thunder Bay, my jaw literally dropped and I couldn't stop smiling for an entire day! I must admit that Bad Religion is one of my top three favourite bands of all-time. I even own three of the same Bad Religion T-shirts but all in different faded shades of black.

Come show time, openers Burn the 8 Track and the Bronx opened up the show to lukewarm responses from the audience; however, it didn't matter because everyone in attendance was evidently present for the headliner. In my opinion, almost everything (Besides Into the Unknown) that Bad Religion have done between 1982's How Could Hell Be Any Worse? to 2007's New Maps of Hell are nothing short of spectacular.

The band eventually charged onto stage laying out well-known fan favourites that resonated with thick distortion and drumming as fast as world record sprinter Usain Bolt. It was extremely satisfying to see the band run through a 28-song set list that included many old favourites such as "21st Century Digital Boy," "Big Bang," "Suffer" and "Generator" as well as newer-era Bad Religion songs like "New Dark Ages," "Requiem for Dissent," "God's Love" and "Epiphany."

My personal show highlight was the band's first encore, which was a three-song acoustic set. After Greg Graffin, Jay Bentley and Brian Baker went through newer songs, "Won't Somebody" and "Dearly Beloved," the band's singer, Greg Graffin, was left alone on stage to perform the song "Bored and Extremely Dangerous," which is one of my personal favourite Bad Religion songs. As the song reached its mid-way point, the lights went out and a short audio clip came over the PA before the full band ran out cranking out the rest of the song at full blast and electrified.

Twenty years after Suffer's initial release, Bad Religion proved that they were still a force to be reckoned with. Although most of the members of Bad Religion are in their 40s, the quality and energy of their live set was absolutely stellar. From Bad Religion's initial conception 28 years ago, who would have foreseen that the band would be a force to reckon with 14 albums later. Bad Religion are hands down one of the best punk acts I have seen and it's great to see that continue to create, release, and perform amazing, energetic, and thought-provoking music.

Set list:

  1. 21st Century Digital Boy
  2. New Dark Ages
  3. Suffer
  4. I Want to Conquer the World
  5. Let Them Eat War
  6. Big Bang
  7. Stranger Than Fiction
  8. Anastesia
  9. Epiphany
  10. Punk Rock Song
  11. Come Join Us
  12. God's Love
  13. News from the Front
  14. Requiem for Dissent
  15. Honest Goodbye
  16. You
  17. A Walk
  18. No Control
  19. Before You Die
  20. Flat Eart Society
  21. Recipe for Hate
  22. American Jesus
    First encore:
  23. Won't Somebody
  24. Dearly Beloved
  25. Bored and Extremely Dangerous
    Second encore:
  26. Generator
  27. Infected
  28. Sorrow