Music is certainly a powerful medium, and for veggie do-gooders Rise Against, it provides the perfect opportunity to don the preacher role and try to convert the masses. Although Rise Against are guilty of indulging in this crap, it was nothing compared to the otherwise stunning opening act, Tom Morello with the Nightwatchmen. Morello interspersed his set with various cries for equality, calling on full audience participation for his final hippie number ‘World Wide Rebel Songs’. However, after such a master class from the guitar virtuoso, it had all the promise of a great night of music.
Whether the earlier performance raised the bar too much, I don’t know, but it’s safe to say what followed lacked the variety and prowess of the veteran guitarist. The American punk rockers exploded onto the stage with great energy, crashing about like men possessed, but after an hour of full on, intense rock, the effect wore off. Song after song of repetitive, franticly delivered punk left me feeling like Rise Against were very much a one trick pony, and to make it worse they had the most patronising, air-headed crowd banter that I’ve ever been subject to. The only salvation of the night came from frontman, Tim McIlrath’s acoustic spot, bringing a welcome change of tempo as he delivered fan favourites ‘Swing Life Away’ and ‘Hero of War‘.
Their loyal fans were of course still in great spirits, head banging their way through the ordeal. However, for me there were certainly no fireworks to shout about. Six albums on, with some crowd pleasing anthems, Rise Against set off on a long European and South American tour. You can’t doubt their passion and stamina, but as far as live experiences go, I can’t help but feel slightly disappointed.