Bad Religion

support Atlas Losing Grip
author PP date 24/07/10 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

It's been ten years since Bad Religion last played in Denmark, and that was at Skanderborg festival. For a club show like this one, it has been much longer, so you could sense the excited and expectant mood in the air for days before. Just about 24 hours before the doors opened, Vega announced that all 1450 tickets were gone to the misfortune of a few dozen people waiting outside the venue with "can has ticket plx" signs. In all honesty, if you wanted to see the best punk rock band on the planet so badly, you probably should've thought about buying the ticket a little earlier than the fucking day before, don'tcha think? Especially because this review is going to make you feel very, very jealous once you're done with it.

Atlas Losing Grip

But first, lets talk about the support band, Atlas Losing Grip from Lund, Sweden, fronted by Rodrigo from Satanic Surfers. Many had hoped for one of our local boys to open the stage tonight, but the choice fell on these little known Swedes. Listening to their Orange County styled melodic punk rock, it's not hard to figure out why, because my god do Atlas Losing Grip know how to write awesome songs. Heavy on the melodic side, ultra-fast and full of deadly A Wilhelm Scream inspired technical punk rock riffs, they are the kind of songs you play to someone when they question the awesomeness of punk rock. Especially because Rodrigo sounds exactly like Tim McIlrath of Rise Against. Not just a little, but to the note. If it wasn't for my eyes I wouldn't have believed it wasn't him. What I don't understand, however, is how on earth it is possible to play such great songs with so little energy!? Atlas Losing Grip looked and felt like they were nailed to the ground tonight, and didn't appear anywhere near as convincing and confident as their songs otherwise suggest. As a result, their performance would be entirely forgettable if it wasn't for the high quality found in the song; now it's just 'acceptable'.

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Bad Religion

I've seen Bad Religion four times prior to tonight. I've never seen Bad Religion play this fucking great. So for the rest of the review, lots of superlatives and extravagant hyperboles will be used to give the band praise, because while they're always a very good live band, tonight's set was something otherworldly. You could feel it coming from the excited atmosphere moments before the band took on stage. Or from the massive cheer that was the result of a giant crossbuster logo making its entrance to the backdrop. Or from the sing along fest which started from "Do What You Want" and ended long after "Punk Rock Song" concluded their setlist 26 songs later. Speaking of the setlist, would you look at that thing? Whether you're a fan of just the hits or their entire discography like this scribe, there were so many moments where tears of happiness were creeping on the facial expressions of even the oldest punk rock fans in the room simply because every song seemed to be better than the one we just heard. Maybe that's why after a somewhat slow start, where BR has liked to explore their lesser known songs during the 30 year anniversary live tour, the rating set in my mind for the show kept climbing higher...higher...higher until it felt like the best show I've seen in something like two years, and I've seen a LOT of shows in between.

Much of that can be attributed to the relaxed, up close and personal vibe to the band's performance. Greg Graffin was in a talkative mood, spending lots of time in between songs addressing both individual fans in the front and the room in general, talking about the band's experiences during the 30 years that they've been a band. Then there's also the fact that when Bad Religion go on stage, they always, always, ALWAYS play with absolute conviction and passion, even though they must have played some of these songs over a thousand times in a live setting, and more in rehearsals. These dudes are closing in on 50 and yet they still rock out more than most bands I've seen, spearheaded by Graffin's "preachy" performance style and Hetson's energetic stage antics (this guy jumps around more than the audience usually does). Well, actually, only a small circle pit occasionally manifested in the crowd, because the floor was so packed with people that there simply wasn't enough space for a larger one, plus everyone was so concentrated on singing along to every lyric of every song that nobody really cared for that sort of thing tonight.

It's really difficult to put a finger on just one aspect of the show that made it so great. But whilst waiting for a friend to grab a t-shirt outside the venue, all I could hear was people pouring saying "fuck me sideways that was a good show" in various ways. Please don't make us wait another 10 years for the next one.

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Setlist:

1. Do What You Want

2. Overture / Sinister Rouge

3. Modern Man

4. Recipe For Hate

5. You

6. Before You Die

7. A Walk

8. You Are (The Government)

9. Atomic Garden

10. Requiem For Dissent

11. Sanity

12. No Control

13. New Dark Ages

14. Come Join Us

15. Suffer

16. Germs Of Perfection

17. No Direction

18. Los Angeles Is Burning

19. I Want To Conquer The World

20. Along The Way

21. Fuck Armageddon...This Is Hell

22. Generator

23. Infected

24. American Jesus

--Encore--

25. 21st Century Digital Boy

26. Sorrow

27. Punk Rock Song

This dude has amazing quality videos up from the show, lots of them

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