Rise Against – Manchester Academy

By Spud

Right. The circumstances which lead to Rise Against playing Academy 3 rather than anything larger need mentioning, before we go any further. The gig sold out weeks and weeks ago, but Nizlopi (yep, the band that became ?famous? for singing about earthmoving equipment?) were booked into Academy 2 and refused to move down, despite having only sold 300 tickets. This led to Rise Against playing a venue of 450 capacity which was easily oversold beyond the 500 mark. Glorious.

Berri Txarrak were first support and received a surprisingly raucous reception after every song. Coming from the Basque Country, and singing in their native tongue, this clearly wasn?t the most accessible opening band that the tour managers could have chosen. But they were warmly welcomed and rightly so. Go and check their MySpace, but live they sounded like what would happen if you took three quarters of the Foo Fighters, a quarter of Alkaline Trio, and told them to play a sort of hardcore-enfused grind. Some of the breakdowns were completely off-kilter and driven so hard that it was something to behold. Definitely different, and very refreshing.

The crowd turned into an absolute riot when A Wilhelm Scream appeared. Playing most of my favourites (and what seemed like most of the crowd?s) they were absolutely top drawer. The actual passion that goes into some of the lines (e.g. ?TIE ME UP TO THE RAY-DEE-AYY-DOR.? ? as Ben @ likes to quote) really has to be seen. This is a band who are at the very top of what they do; technical, intricate guitar work delivered against the backdrop of a brutal vocal attack. Vocals could have done with being louder (same for Rise Against, though). Less shit, more A Wilhelm Scream, please. 9/10

Tim McIlrath makes his second appearance on the stage, having appeared to perform guest vocal duties for Berri Txarrak?s last song, and launches Rise Against into a tripartite salvo: the opening three songs from their most recent three albums, as has become a trend for their setlist during recent dates. There?s absolutely no let up and the band themselves are fantastic, just the odd couple of sound issues rearing their head ? but far from being detrimental to the overall experience, and those of us down at the front didn?t really notice. The band spent all their time rocking out, keeping the talking to a minimum. Tim did his brief ?give PETA a quick look? speech, but it was exactly that: brief. A few assumed ?must plays? were omitted from the set list ? ?Life Less Frightening? and ?Heaven Knows? being two notable exceptions, but that?s really the only criticism (aside from the minor sound issues) I can level at them. Superb. 9/10