Rise Against

support A Wilhelm Scream + Berri Tzerrak
author PP date 13/09/06 venue Mean Fiddler, London, UK

Tonight was the night many had eagerly waited for months now, where punk rock / melodic hardcore would dominate the long sold out 800-capacity Mean Fiddler in central London. The lineup was impressive to say the least for a single show: A visibly aggressive Basque punk act easily comparable to the likes of Raised Fist opening the show with the kings of technical punk rock A Wilhelm Scream taking care of the main support slot, before the leaders of the hardcore punk / melodic hardcore Rise Against would sweep the stage with an explosion of unseen energy. The band is no stranger to the UK, having toured here regularly with the likes of Alexisonfire, as a part of Taste Of Chaos (Killswitch Engage, The Used among others) and as a part of the Give It A Name festival featuring renowned names like Finch, Funeral For A Friend and Coheed & Cambria.

The bar stood victorious over the opening noisy Spanish punk act whose vocalist kept shoving his vocals up our throat, which is why not much attention is devoted to this act in the review. You can blame the 100 degree celsius London Underground for causing the everlasting thirst in the reviewer's throat for that.

A Wilhelm Scream then entered the stage and were treated to anxious and passionate screams from the crowd. After all, this was only the second time the band had ever entered the UK, and first time ever they're supporting an act even remotely similar to their own stuff (last time it was Boys Night Out). What everyone was expecting was an intensely tight, immensely active stageshow with their favorite songs played one-by-one until ecstatic feeling triumphed, but to the great disappointment of the crowd, the band failed to select their setlist appropriately. It took five relatively unknown and unpopular songs from the band before the music paused and vocalist Nuno fired out his a capella vocal introduction 'Take this record start with the mockery!!' of "Mute Print" and got the show started. Mosh pits were a constant sight from here on, with classics "Anchor End", "Killing It" and "Famous Friends And Fashion Drunks" leading the way and receiving the greatest response. It's a shame the band didn't kick off the show in this style, as the intensity had long been lost already, and though the bar was raised as the night progressed, the slightly uninteresting start of the show cast its shadow over their whole set. The sound-level failure of too loud bass & drums didn't help either, especially when your band relies heavily on the fantastic, easily identifiable guitar notes living their own life aside the music. When these were buried under the rapid-fire drumming, most of the songs became unrecognizable until about 20-30 seconds into the song.

As a positive note, their frontman put his 100% into every song, bouncing into the crowd, stroming around the stage while getting every note right. His amount of passion culminated into the final song "The King Is Dead", where the mosh pit slowly expanded during the silent introduction only to explode once the vocals were switched on at full-speed. It's too bad the entire setlist didn't consist of the songs the crowd wanted to hear the most ("Kursk" anyone?), for else we would've had a great show going on already.

6

When Tim & co finally entered the stage many of us who'd previously seen them on all of their tours were shocked. The bands look had completely transformed, with their frontman Tim's hairstyle posing as "the emo haircut", where your died black hair falls above half of your forehead/eye. Maybe it was this change, or maybe it was the fact that their latest album "The Sufferer & The Witnesss" is the best they've written to date, but tonight Rise Against finally had solved the curse labelling them just "good", because tonight they were mindblowing. The perfect sound was accompanied by an even more perfect setlist well balanced between all of their albums, though obviously the material from the new album was slightly more weighed. What we saw on stage was an explosion of passion and energy, 100% transferred to the crowd, who showed how a perfect mosh/circle pit should look like. The idiots using their arms and feet as means of destruction were absent tonight as "State Of The Union" at the forefront caused a REAL circle pit with everyone circling around without any morons trying to ruin it.

The crowd sang/screamed along passionately along the lines of "Drones", screaming "FORGET MY NAME AND I'LL FORGET IT TOO!!" while the temperature was reaching up to the likes of London Underground in the July heatwave (the fact that one of my ear plugs went so deep in my ear I couldn't get it out before an hour after the show says something..). "Prayer Of The Refugee" and "Ready To Fall" were equally great live as they are on album if not better, while "Blood Red, White & Blue" saw intense moshing all around the floor. It was that visible passion and love for their music that Tim & co displayed that got the crowd singing along with full volume and moshing like it was the end of their lives. Not even the after-encore acoustic song, seeing Tim alone on the stage with an acoustic guitar, was able to break the magic tonight. And when the band finished off with the super-fast "Bricks" before giving their all in "Give It All", the atmosphere hadn't just risen, it had long gone shot through the roof. A flawless performance by the crowned kings of punk rock.

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