Last night was Rise Against at Festival Hall. Was a great night, despite feeling crook and thinking I may at any moment spew on those in the general vicinity. Here’s a tip – don’t think you can go to a punk rock show after feeling sick for 2 days, then eating a whole pizza and sculling a drink right before you go in. Some air conditioning (or even an open door) would have helped too. Poor form, Festival Hall…
First up was amazing local band A Death In The Family. They were every bit as good as I hoped. The crowd didn’t seem that into them, but the few who knew the band got into them (me included) and hopefully they won a few new fans over as well. Their new album Small Town Stories is out now and it is an incredible record. Please go and buy it or at least check out their myspace. They’re off to America now to tour with their friends The Gaslight Anthem. I’m jealous. I saw them play with Gaslight last year at The Arthouse and it was quite a show.
Next up were The (International) Noise Conspiracy from Sweden. The pleasant surprise of the night, for sure. They play a sort of 60s garage band punk rock style, and obviously have a lot of fun doing it. Fantastic show. The singer also made the best funny of the night when he responded to someone giving him the finger by saying “hey good for you – giving the bird came in over in Sweden about 10 years ago but I’m glad it finally made it to Australia”. Much laughter ensued. The crowd seemed to really warm to them and their antics, and it was good fun. The fact that there’s a message wrapped up in the package as well makes it all the better. If you’re in or near Sweden (yes Grant, I’m looking at you here) check them out if you get a chance. You’ll have fun.
As you can see from the fact that I had the 15th ticket sold for the show, I was fairly keen to see Rise Against. This was the 4th time I’ve seen them and they didn’t disappoint. Starting with a monologue played over the speakers talking about how people need to become politically aware lest they be manipulated into voting for someone who doesn’t have their interests at heart (John Howard’s Australia, anyone?) they then fired straight into a set that pretty much didn’t let up on the frantic pace and energy all night. The set leant heavily on old songs (yay) with only Re-education (through labor), Long Forgotten Sons, Hero Of War and maybe one other from the new record. They played fan favourites like Ready To Fall, State of the Union (with the crowd enthusiastically screaming along to the opening lines “if we’re the flagship of peace and prosperity, we’re taking on water and about to fucking sink, no one seems to notice, no one even blinks, the crew left the passengers to die under the sea”) and Prayer of the Refugee, which closed the show. It was, as we’ve come to expect from Rise Against, an extremely fiery and politically charged show. There’s something about a great punk band that makes you feel like you’re part of an irrepressible movement, and the fact that Festival Hall was just about full and going completely crazy (I’ve never seen a crowd jumping in unison from the front to the back like we did last night) for a band that is so staunchly political does kind of make you feel good about the world. Most inspirational moment of the night was the crowd, with fists in the air, chanting “Rise”. I’m pretty sure that with the energy in the room last night, if John Howard or one of his cronies had made an appearance we would have torn him limb from limb. Someone should have invited him and told him it was a Seekers reunion or something…
Here’s my souvenir from the night – an ultra sweet A Death In The Family shirt. Just what I needed. More band merch…
I’ll leave you with a couple of verses from Prayer of the Refugee which pretty much sums up, for me, what Rise Against and a Rise Against show are all about:
We are the angry and the desperate, the hungry and the cold
We are the ones who kept quiet and always did what we were told
But we’ve been sweating while you slept so calm in the safety of your homes
Yeah we’ve been pulling out the nails that hold up everything you’ve known
So open your eyes child let’s be on our way
Broken windows and ashes are guiding the way
Sleep quiet no longer we’ll sing through the day
Of the lives that we’ve lost – and the lives we’ve reclaimed