TVD Live Shots: Rise Against, Killswitch Engage, LetLive at the Masonic, 8/11

Rise Against has been around for 16 years? Hard to believe that’s the case but it is indeed true.  It’s the classic story of a band signing to an independent record label, touring their asses off, getting some miles under their belt, and then moving on to a major for their breakthrough. That’s the way the music industry is supposed to work in my opinion. It’s the way bands can get some experience before being thrust into the limelight and the fast-moving gears of a major.

The problem is that this scenario these days is more of a fairy tale—it just doesn’t really happen anymore. If you are in a band today, you pretty much have the same chance of making it big as going to Vegas and winning a jackpot. But then again, that shouldn’t be a band’s goal any longer. Rise Against paid their dues, took full advantage of their major label shot, and made the most of it.

It’s good to see a band like Rise Against continue to find success. They know who they are, they know what they stand for, and the deliver one hell of a live show. That’s basically the formula that punk rock icons such as the Clash and the Pistols put together during the birth of punk. It’s real, it’s authentic, and if you don’t have it, then fans can see right through your bullshit.

The band has been labeled many things; hardcore, melodic, punk etc., but what I saw at the beautiful Masonic in San Francisco was a full on punk rock show. Non-stop crowd surfing and the acrobatics from the band looked something like a community theater version of Cirque Du Soleil. It was loud, raw, unapologetic—and altogether entertaining.

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Opening up the show was one of the most insane bands I have ever seen before in the form of LetLive. I dig these guys but I think they might be trying a bit too hard to be Refused. They have the songs and they have the antics, just let those two attributes speak for themselves and I think they will do just fine. A little more mystique with the energy and I think you have a combination for intrigue that could really drive both the image and the music, or maybe fuse them together completely.

The other opening band of the night, well I’m not even sure if you can call them an opener as they have one hell of a fan base in their own right, was Killswitch Engage. I’ve been a fan of these guys for quite some time. Their live show is absolutely brutal and to be honest I’m not really sure they fit on this bill. While I did love their set, I think they might have absolutely pulverized the punk rock kids in the front row.

All in all, a great show—and an odd line up for a triple bill.

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