Mar 27, 2011

Rise Against - Ram's Head Live

By Bob Suehs


April 27, 2011

Baltimore, MD


Bad Religion Set list: Earth Stalled, Wrong Way Keeds, American Jesus, Before You Die, Let Them Eat War, Resist-Stance, Cyanide, Meeting of the Minds, Do What You Want, Social Suicide, Dearly Beloved, Infected, Only Gonna Die, LA Is Burning, Sorrow


Rise Against set list: Chamber, Satellite, Good Left, Heaven Knows, Re-Education, Survive, Make It Stop, Dirt Whispered, Help Is On The Way, From Heads, Prayer, Swing, Hero, Audience, Architects, Ready To Fall, Enertainment, Red-Red White & Blue, Savior, Give It All

Chicago based Rise Against started in 1999 and the style of music they play is what I call "Warped Tour" music. The term "Warped Tour" music simply refers to the sound that you hear more times than not at the majority of the Warped Tours and that sound is a Cali-based sound that's simple punk rock played loud, fast & furious with little if any guitar solos, no hard rock cliched frills, & it's the music that an entire subculture were raised on!

What was interesting about this particular billing was that Bad Religion opened for Rise Against & it was just a few short years ago that Rise Against were opening for Bad Religion!

Bad Religion have been around for 3 decades or more, they pioneered the sound that Rise Against play, yet on this night they opened for Rise Against & ironically Rise Against are probably bigger, career wise than Bad Religion!

Rise Against is Tim McIlrath (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Zach Blair (lead guitar, backing vocals), Joe Principe (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Brandon Barnes (drums, percussion).

Punk rock shows usually start early & end early...this show had doors @ 6 PM & by the time I arrived at the venue, which happened to be 7:30 PM, I missed the first band on the bill, then shortly around 7:45 Bad Religion took the stage with a set up that was as simple as the bands music!

Brian Baker is the one in the band that makes me kinda chuckle, he used to be in a hair band called Junkyard that actually played really cool hard rock music with a slight southern edge to it & they released a few records, got minor MTV airplay in their prime & Brian had long blonde hair back then...these days he's got short hair, dresses like an average older man & it's kinda funny that there's a former hair band dude in Bad Religion!

Then there's the bands drummer, Brooks, who used to be in a metal band called Bad4Good & that band featured a super young guitar prodigy who Steve Vai took under his wings to protege & the bands singer was the red headed kid from a Nickelodeon show called "Salute Your Shorts".

Bad Religion made a career out of not being rock stars & their set was solid although Greg's between set rants were hard to was almost like they turned down his mic when he was talking yet turned it up for him while he was singing!

Totally off subject but interestingly relevant, just down the street Neil Young was playing a sold out show & Woody Harrelson was in attendance...the reason it's interesting is because Rise Against & Neil Young might be totally different musical genres but their messages are similar to some degree!

Rise Against had an impressive amount of equipment & props on the stage they called home this night, BUT, I made it a point to post one picture in particular & I'll point it out now so you look closely....there's one pic posted in this review that will make the rock fans laugh: At first glance you would look at the stage & think, wow, the band has 6 stacks of amps up there, they have a big rock stage set up!

Well, if you look closely & really pick apart the stage gear you'd notice something funny....the "stacks of amps" were NOT really amps at all....the "Stacks of amps" were simply stage props & if you looked at the stage from the side angles you could see behind the "prop" amps smaller amps which were micd & the stage show is massive looking, there's tons o' lights, strobes, & "things" all over the place, yet, if you break it down, they did what many bands do, they had fake amps, just they didn't bother concealing the fake amps with large bodies, instead they simply had fake fronts which had NO back & it was clearly fake but looked cool from a full on view!

Tim IS Rise Against & that's a fact!

Tim's dull yet docile voice brings each Rise Against song to another level & even though the band only has a handful o' hits the sold out crowd actually knew every song, sang along, moshed non stop & the crowd surfing only really stopped when they had a 2 song unplugged set towards the middle of the set!

Zach Blair is the bald guitarist onstage & he's got some creepy looking vains in his head...he's one person who really needs hair to cover up those ugly vains in his head!

At one of the merch booth tables the band had set up some anti-war literature & naturally they went into a few rants about how bad the state of the country is & blah, blah, blah....I just wish bands would realize, kids don't care about politics, they wanna have fun, forget about the problems of the world & be happy, I mean hell, half of the crowd wasn't even voting age...I let Rise Against political agenda fly over my head & I enjoyed the music they played onstage...naturally the 2 songs that got the biggest reaction were "Help Is On The Way" & "Savior".

The weird thing about "Savior" is that the band did a jam towards the end of it...the jam didn't consist of solo's, it just featured the band noodling around, extending the song an extra few minutes & it was kinda weird to see the band extend a song that's fast, to the point & punk rock to an almost hippie styled punk rock jam!

What I really saw when I witnessed this show was that the bands singer will probably go off & do a singer/songwriter tour/record at some point & it's because he really seemed to enjoy just being onstage playing an acoustic guitar & singing...alone & he was actually quite good at it too!

It's also interesting to note that Rise Against singer spits probably more than any other singer I've seen before, if you are infront of him you WILL get wet & he sticks his toungue 1/2 way out more times than not when he really gets into his singing!