Exclusive Review : Rise Against

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

This week Rise Against brought their Black Market Tour to Freedom Hall in Lancaster, PA on November 3 with Killswitch Engage and letlive as support for the show (It was also Tim McIlrath’s birthday!). The tour is in support of Rise Against’s most recent release “The Black Market” and is back on the road now for an extended run following the success they had during the summer with this tour package. The Black Market was released earlier this year on July 15, 2014. The album quickly rose on the charts and helped Rise Against obtain their second Number 1 album on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums.

Though the venue itself is not a traditional setting for a concert like this it was transformed decently with some rented lighting and a stage set up on the far side of the Convention Center floor. The crowd had wrapped their way around the building on what was a pleasantly warm fall evening as they patiently waited for the doors to open at 6:00pm.

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

By the time Rise Against hit the stage at 9:10PM the bar was packed and the food stand had been demolished by hungry fans who needed to eat before their favorite band hit the stage. The crowd lurched forward as fog flooded the stage and the lights were tested just minutes prior to the band coming out, many fans held signs in their hands wishing Tim a Happy Birthday and some just had messages for the band on them.

The house music and lights suddenly cut off as the venue was left dark in a haze of stage fog and anticipation as across the stage large letters spelling out “RISE” flickered to life for the first time that evening. Behind them lighting cascaded and burst to life as the band ran out on stage to the triumphant roar of a large Lancaster crowd who came out to give it all on Tuesday evening. The first few lyrics and chords of “The Great Die Off” were almost impossible to make out over the sound of the roaring crowd who clearly were excited to see Rise Against in their town.

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

Midway through the song crowd surfers began to flow over the barricade and security went to action as they caught them one at a time before they sent them on their way out of the pit and back into the ocean of a crowd. There was a moment of pause between “The Good Left Undone” and the start of the third song which gave everyone in the crowd a moment to adjust but not for long because it was back to 100mph when the band kicked into “Satellite.”

No matter the song the crowd sang along, word for word with Tim and they cheered loudly when either Zach Blair or Joe Princpe stepped out onto the barricade for an up close encounter with fans. Behind them all Brandon Barnes held it down on his drum riser as he kept the night going from song to song and shined brightest on the the drum portions of “Re-Education (Through Labor” and “Ready to Fall.”

Photo by Matt Christine
Photo by Matt Christine

The set was peppered with songs from the band’s now decade long discography and included an expected few of the new album, “The Black Market.” A large portion of the set hailed from the band’s early album “Appeal to Reason” which resonated strongly with the crowd of mixed ages. There is no doubt that some fans dated back to the band’s origins but the vast majority of the crowd came to life when these songs were played. The popular songs from the early days like “Prayer of a Refugee” garnered huge reactions but nothing topped the deafening sing along during “Savior” late in the set.

The Lancaster crowd was also treated to a once in a lifetime moment as Milo, the lead singer of The Descendants, joined Rise Against on stage to run through a few songs which included a ripping performance of “Bikeage.” The moment was one of the most spontaneous punk rock things I have ever seen and the crowd went insane for it. The brief but welcomed cameo from Milo will certainly go down as one of the craziest things to happen at a show in Lancaster county this year, that much I can say for certain. As the show wound down Rise Against took a minute to breathe with a short two song acoustic set before they closed out the night with a powerful plugged in finale that left the Lancaster crowd fully satisfied with their Tuesday night.

Check out this exclusive gallery of Rise Against at the Freedom Hall Convention Center in Lancaster, PA on November 3, 2015 from Matt Christine Photography :


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