Chicago-made pop-punkers Rise Against have been out and about for the past month and have clearly loved every second. ‘It’s the end of the tour but we don’t want it to stop’ was very much the feeling at the O2 Academy in Birmingham tonight. They put their all into tonight’s show to give an epic performance.
The show opened with ‘Re-Education (Through Labor)’, before moving into ‘Architects’. The set was full of the band’s fast tempo beats and catchy choruses, and by song three everyone was fist pumping and chanting “rise”. Lead singer, Tim McIlwrath, even brought out a megaphone to encourage everyone to join in as loudly as possible.
The performance of ‘Satellite’ (from 2011 album Endgame) was a standout moment in the show. The song is so melodic and yet so passionate and hardcore at the same time. ‘Prayer For the Refugee’ with its contrasting verses and choruses also showed off the band’s impressive song writing skills.
About two thirds of the way through, the band left the stage briefly and Tim came back on his own armed with only an acoustic guitar to sing ‘Swing Life Away’. He was then joined by lead guitarist Zach Blair for the very relevant ‘Hero of War’ which was dedicated to the Ukrainian people. During ‘Hero of War’ the rest of the band gradually re-joined the stage so they could move seamlessly back to a full band set up.
Before playing the title track from their latest album Nowhere Generation (2021), Tim mused over how there are so many people in our society who experience fear and anxiety when they wake up each day. He asked every member of the crowd to hold up a flashlight, and to remember the lights as a symbol of hope next time they felt that way. ‘Nowhere Generation’ was the only song in the set from that album, with the majority being the band’s greatest hits.
For the encore the band played ‘Make It Stop (September’s Children)’, and, of course, the classic ‘Savior’, which has had well over 500 million streams just on Spotify. The gig-goers next to me were shouting along so loud I still have ringing in my ears as I write this almost 24 hours later.
Support for tonight’s show came from Californian band The Story So Far, who you can also catch in 2023 supporting Blink 182. Whilst they’re described as pop-punk across the web, they have a heavier, grittier side to them. Frontman Parker Cannon’s vocals come through clean, but the guitars and drums lean towards the hardcore/metal side. This is the first time in a long time I’ve seen people crowd surfing so early in proceedings – people were clearly having a great time! For a glimpse into The Story So Far’s back catalogue check out ‘Proper Dose’ and ‘Quicksand’, both of which were played tonight.
To sum up the energy and craziness of the show I’ll leave you with this. As I left the venue, I passed a crowd member where the mosh pit had been. He was holding up a trainer and shouting, “Has anybody lost a shoe?”.
Rise Against Setlist
Re-Education (Through Labor)
House on Fire
Chamber the Cartridge
Ready to Fall
Tragedy + Time
Long Forgotten Sons
Like the Angel
Prayer of the Refugee
Swing Life Away – Acoustic
Hero of War – Acoustic
Make It Stop (September’s Children)
Review: Chrissie Duxson
Photograph courtesy of Loma Vista Recordings