Rise Against
Show: Rise Against
Date: September 17, 2014
Venue: The Wiltern
City: Los Angeles, CA

Rise Against
Photos by Nicolas Bates
Written by Dan Sinclair

Hard to believe that Chicago-born punk rockers Rise Against have been melodically rocking out against the world’s injustices for 15 years now. And they’re back here in Los Angeles for a two-night, sold out stay at the beautiful Wiltern in all of its art deco glory to celebrate the release of their seventh album, The Black Market. Come with me, one and all, to the corner of Wilshire and Western, and I’ll tell you all about it!

After shelling out $14 for a beer, your humble writer takes his place among the hot-September-weather sweaty and Rise Against ready. The lights go down, the cheers go up. Singer Tim McIlrath, guitar man Zach Blair, bassist Joe Principe and drummer Brandon Barnes all take their places below the large banner featuring the image torn straight from the cover of The Black Market and a big-ass R-I-S-E sign, shining bright.

Rise Against wastes little time and jumps into crowd favorite “Ready to Fall” off of their 2006 album The Sufferer & the Witness. Everyone in attendance screams along as McIlrath jumps up on an amp and Blair and Principe run all over the stage to play.

Tim then reminds everyone “We’re Rise Against from Chicago,” before they go right into the 2004 anthem from Siren Song of the Counter Culture, “Give It All.” He does this song without his guitar and it’s probably for the best since this is when he leaves the stage to venture into the crowd and really who needs the extra weight?

After Appeal to Reason’s “Re-Education (Through Labor),” the fellas go right back to Sufferer & the Witness for one of their most loved songs, “Behind Closed Doors.” That’s when I notice a sweet family—Mom, Dad and ten-year-old-looking son—smack dab in the middle of mostly 20-something/30-something punk rockers. Son can’t wipe the smile off his face as Mom and Dad rub his shoulder and sing along.

A cool, slower version of “Long Forgotten Sons” is next before the crowd assists Tim sing “All because of you” as loud as they can for “The Good Left Undone.” All hands go up in the air as high as they can to put that extra emphasis on “YOU.”

Tim asks the crowd, “How many people here have seen Rise Against before?” The answer is many have (including this writer). Then said band plays “Heaven Knows” off of 2003’s indy release Revolutions per Minute. This song is better known as the first Rise Against song ever heard by me.

Next up is “I Don’t Want to Be Here Anymore,” which is surprisingly the only song they play off the new album all night. Then it’s the first song off of Endgame, “Help Is on the Way.”

Then Tim speaks directly to a young man up in the front named Pablo. “How you doing, my man? You all right?” Turns out Pablo’s big brother brought him both nights to see his favorite band play live. Tim is impressed at how cool Pablo’s older brother is. “I had sisters. They only took me to stuff like Tears for Fears and Depeche Mode.” Then everyone hears, “This is noise...” come from over the speakers and know it’s time for “Chamber the Cartridge.” Everyone chants, “Rise! Rise! Rise!” Dad is really head banging now.

Tim swings the mic around like a lasso on “Last Chance Blueprint” and shows off his professionalism as he continues to sing the second chorus to “Prayer of the Refugee” even as one of the sound guys changes his guitar.

Much to the delight of the hardcore fans, the band goes all the way back to their first album The Unraveling with “Alive and Well.” Then it’s time for the more recent favorites “Audience of One” and “Make It Stop (September’s Children)” before the set closes with “Satellite.”

For the encore, Tim comes out on stage alone with an acoustic guitar. He plays “Hero of War,” which was apparently not played the previous night. Mom and Dad put their arms around each other and sway back and forth. They may actually be enjoying this show more than Son. Tim also does a great version of “Swing Life Away” before leaving stage again.

He’s joined by the rest of the band for the second encore where they do a cover of “Teenage Lobotomy” as tribute to the Ramones and then finish the whole show with “Savior.” It’s an amazing version of the song that goes on for at least double the length of the original version and shows off Blair’s skills with some impressive variations on the guitar.

At the end of the night, everyone leaves feeling they have properly risen against something, and perhaps, none more than Mom, Dad and Son.

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