Bad Religion

support Broadway Killers
author PP date 01/06/13 venue Train, Århus, DEN

My first time over at Train, Århus, a venue that can in many ways be called the 'Vega of Århus' given its classy interior and alternate function as a night club on many weekends. But once they curtain off parts of the venue to the side, it becomes an ideal medium-sized venue (capacity: 800) to experience a band like Bad Religion in a more intimate setting than usual. What's more, there's a fully equipped cocktail bar in the upstairs lounge with a perfect view to the stage, which of course meant this scribe just had to order a mojito because, well, it's just fucking awesome to drink a fancy cocktail to a punk rock show. Won't be able to try that again anytime soon, methinks.

Broadway Killers

The opening duties have been honored to Århus based rock band Broadway Killers, who despite having three EPs underneath their belt and over a thousand Facebook likes are a completely unknown band to us here at Rockfreaks.net. Tonight, they are playing their biggest show in their home city according to the vocalist, which explains why the band looks ecstatic to be on stage in front of so many people. They play straight up rock'n'roll with a slight grunge twist to it, and their singer shares some resemblance vocally to Papa Roach's Jacoby Shaddix's easily recognizable croon. A few catchy riffs and many guitars that recall Foo Fighters' 90s material are what this band is all about, coupled with a cock rock attitude and plenty of charisma in their showmanship. That said, the crowd is mostly static aside from a few loyal fans at the front, probably because their brand of alternative rock meets cock rock isn't exactly the ideal support for a punk rock show if you ask me. They show decent energy though, which is all that you can ask for a support slot in front of 800 people who have never heard of you in the past.

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Bad Religion

It's been more than 20 years since Bad Religion last played in Århus, proclaims Greg Graffin, but it wasn't at this venue, although he presumes the venue has existed since the 1970s given how there's a classic rock poster from that era framed on a backstage wall. At 34 years into their career, the band have opted to handpick various small and medium-sized venues instead of playing the predictable 1500-5000 capacity places. They do this to offer fans a unique possibility to experience Bad Religion in a far more intimate setting, but also for themselves so they can remind themselves of their late 80s and early 90s tours. We get to know this rather far into the set, however, because for the first five or six songs starting from new song "Past Is Dead", the band rapid-fire their songs one after another in the quintessential Bad Religion style.

For those seeing the band for the first time, their live shows can basically be paralleled with their recorded material: it all sounds more or less the same, but at least it's consistently great for 30+ years and running now. So next time you're seeing BR in your town, expect the same ceremonious orchestration from vocalist Greg Graffin, who mostly uses his hands and eyes to fortify the lyrics to the various songs, and the rest of the band rocking out with commendable energy for their old age, which they proceed to casually joke about throughout their set tonight. Essentially, only the songs change, the performance is more or less always the same, but if you're a BR fan that's also exactly what you want from their recorded material, so why not also want that from their live shows? Take it from someone seeing the band for the 8th time tonight.

But just like at their Groezrock performance in late April, the band are still missing their third guitarist Greg Hetson, who for personal reasons hasn't been touring with the band this year. What those might be, we don't know, but what we do know is that although the band do a respectable job at playing their songs with just two guitars, the oomph and additional classic melody of their third guitar is noticeably absent for any long-time fan of the band. Its absence also manifests in the form of various improvisations during some of the famous songs which simply cannot be played without three guitars to cover for the missing parts ("Generator" strikes to mind as the first instance I noticed it). Still, people are singing along to the most famous lyrics, and the pit never pauses, so you have to give the band kudos for being able to play as well as they are. Hetson's always energetic scissor jumps and his stage presence are of course missed dearly, but Graffin does his best to keep us all entertained through jokes that only a few people in the audience seem to catch. "Fuck You", for instance, is introduced as their most philosophical song to date, which apparently took them 33 years to write it. Not even a hint of irony in that one, not at all.

The band roll through 28 songs in total, focusing on a number of newer tracks at first, before steamrolling through nearly every great Bad Religion song a fan can name. "No Direction", "Generator", "Suffer", "You", "Against The Grain", "No Control", "Sorrow", "Vanity", "Infected", "Fuck Armageddon...This Is Hell" and many, many others are aired, once again reminding us just how many amazing genre classics this band has written throughout their career.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Past Is Dead
  • 2. We're Only Gonna Die
  • 3. New Dark Ages
  • 4. True North
  • 5. Generator
  • 6. Overture
  • 7. Sinister Rouge
  • 8. 21st Century (Digital Boy)
  • 9. Start Me Up (The Rolling Stones cover)
  • 10. American Jesus
  • 11. Fuck You
  • 12. Dharma and the Bomb
  • 13. Suffer
  • 14. Recipe for Hate
  • 15. No Direction
  • 16. Punk Rock Song
  • 17. No Control
  • 18. You
  • 19. Against the Grain
  • 20. Beyond Electric Dreams
  • 21. Submission Complete
  • 22. Come Join Us
  • 23. Robin Hood in Reverse
  • 24. Sorrow
  • --Encore--
  • 25. Fuck Armageddon... This Is Hell
  • 26. Vanity
  • 27. Infected
  • 28. Dept. of False Hope

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