Event Review: Rise Against
The Metro, Chicago, IL
On Friday, April 12th I stepped off the train after work and a few moments later, after being searched extensively as if I was expected to have a weapon, I walked into The Metro right as Pistol Grip was finishing up. As four people were escorted out for fighting in the mosh pit, the cultural transformation from everyday life to Punk Rock Concert was complete. I settled in the back corner by the bar, as far from the mosh pit as possible without being across the street, and eagerly awaited Rise Against, the only Chicago band in the evening's Punk tetralogy.
About 7:15 or so, after an expletive laced introduction, Rise Against took the stage and the home crowd reception was all that it should have been. Frontman Tim Mcilrath graciously thanked the crowd, which was shocking in that most of the other bands referred to us, the crowd, as "fucking pussies." The band seemed really cool and happy to be in Chicago as they exploded through their set, playing a lot of tracks found on their 2001 release, "The Unraveling." Bassist Joe Principe performed his duties with flare, limbs ripping and roaring every which way across the stage, while the pace and energy of the set was established and maintained throughout the forty minutes.
The crowd was equally jacked to be there, and in a stark contrast to my initial theory, conceived minutes after the mosh pit fight during Pistol Grip, the crowd was more attentive and into the music the drunker they got, rather than more violently inclined. They merrily grunted, screamed, and hailed songs such as "Six Ways Til Sunday" and "Reception Fades," leaving nothing back with the requisite fist pumps. Mcilrath hovered around center stage much throughout the show, letting the crowd occasionally sing the lyrics, usually moving only to let the intermittent stage diver fly from backstage and proceed to do an impressive flip. Luckily, the crowd used their arms and strength to catch these guys, rather than to pulverize their neighbor.
Fear of dismemberment in the mosh pit led to my rationally sound judgment of hanging in the back, next to a guy in a bears jersey and cut off shorts with two girls. That trio was about as well received in the atmosphere as a finger in an electric socket. And standing in the back corner by the bar, I also did not experience the same level of intensity that the "hard core" fans in and around the stage did, but still, I felt more emotion and energy in there than anything in recent memory and to hear people these days, whether misinformed, charlatans or what not, call bands like Blink 182 "punk" is truly sad.
Being at The Metro to see Rise Against, and also seeing Pistol Grip, Strife, and The Business really opened my eyes to one very important aspect of the Punk Rock scene and that is it is so much more than just about the music.
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