Let’s just say I have a few battle scars from my recent venture into the mosh pit. This time it was to see Rise Against, the hardcore punk band that has been going strong since 1999 and is currently on tour supporting its new album, The Black Market, released July 15th of this year. The band is comprised of vocalist Tim McIlrath, drummer Brandon Barnes, bassist Joe Principe, and guitarist Zach Blair. Sweaty, passionate, and filled with gusto, the Chicago-based band blew me away with not only the decibel level at which they played, but the sheer power they held over the audience. We clapped, danced, and pumped our fists in the air in time with the music, letting it take hold.
It’s hard not to be impressed with a band at the historic Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. The beautiful plush foyer and high ceilings make for a classic feel while the graffiti-covered “Ladies’ room” foreshadowed the night to come.
The opening act was Touché Amoré, a new band straight out of Burbank, California. While still maturing its sound, the hardcore mix of metal and punk that they displayed was admirable when set before Rise Against. Playing for an hour, they had a mixed response from the crowd; some swayed back and forth while others continued to post filtered photos on Instagram.
Rise Against bolted on around 9:40 pm. Large neon letters, displaying the word “RISE”, were set down upon the stage. It is impossible to describe the music without giving more information about the crowd, which jostled back and forth and created an atmosphere typical for most LA rock shows. Fact: if you fear tight spaces or being crammed into the crevice of someone’s back, this is not for you.
The night held treasures both old and new, the band playing hits such as “Savior”, “Re-Education (Through Labor)”, and “Prayer of a Refugee” as well as a few songs off their new album such as “I Don’t Want to be Here Anymore”. McIlrath even took the stage alone with an acoustic guitar to serenade the audience with “Hero of War” and “Swing Life Away”, allowing for a bit of a breather (quite literally). The great surprise came near the end of the show when the band came back on with a raucous cover of The Ramones’ “Teenage Lobotomy”, which was a great crowd please.
After a few more songs and an encore, it was around 11:30 pm and the show was officially over and the house lights came up . With a split lip and bruises from surrounding elbows, I left the show feeling like I could conquer the world, infused by the passion of Rise Against’s lyrics and power chords. If only more bands could take their live shows to the next level. A simple set and good heavy song is all that is needed, as Rise Against has proven here.