LIVE: Rise Against / Milk Teeth @ The Garage, London

By Christopher Lee

Chicago punk rock heroes Rise Against return to London for the smallest show they have played here in a long, long time. Having recently been playing a number of very small club shows over in the US prior to the release of their eight studio album ‘Wolves’ the guys decided to head over to Europe for two tiny shows in Berlin and luckily for us, The Garage in London.

Support for the evening comes from the Gloucestershire punks Milk Teeth who seemingly go from strength to strength with every live show. Playing to an already full, and extremely sweaty room they waste no time in warming up the crowd expertly with a furious set that sees the room clapping and bouncing along throughout but even more so during ‘Owning Your Okayness’. Their huge sound coupled with fantastic harmonies only go to prove that Milk Teeth can kick it with the best of them and sharing the stage with huge acts such as Rise Against will only swell the bands already stellar fan base.

As great as Milk Teeth are you can feel the anticipation in the air as soon as they leave the stage for what’s about to come. It’s rare that a band as huge as Rise Against are play venues as small as this one and when they do they normally provide unforgettable moments and this does not disappoint. Storming the stage and immediately kicking off proceedings with ‘Give it All’ frontman Tim McIlrath almost immediately throws himself into the crowd.

What follows is a career spanning set, literally. There’s at least one track from each of the bands eight albums and then some. Every fan favourite you can imagine including a lovely salvo of ‘Survive’ followed by ‘Prayer of the Refugee’ and the adoring crowd lap up every minute of it. With tickets for tonight like gold dust it’s no wonder that every single word of every song is sung back at the band twice as loud and the energy is electric. Not even the sweltering heat is enough to stop the crowd from losing their minds.

McIlrath and Blair’s vocals are perfect throughout and the former’s are even better during a beautiful acoustic section that sees him dedicate ‘Swing Life Away’ to the late, great Chris Cornell and ‘People Live Here’ to those who sadly lost their lives in the Manchester terror attack. Both are a poignant reminder that Rise Against have a way of perfectly connecting to their fans through music.

As an incredible evening draws to a close the crowd give everything they have left with ‘Blood-Red, White & Blue’ and lastly ‘Saviour’ see huge mosh pits that almost completely fill the tiny venue. Rise Against’s credentials are undoubted and their energy tonight is wonderful to see after so many years, this was definitely one of those ‘I was there when’ moments that are few and far between.