Rise Against

support Andy The Band
author PP date 17/06/18 venue Kulturbolaget, Malmö, SWE

Kulturbolaget has been sold out for a couple of months in anticipation of Rise Against's first show at the Malmö venue, and you can really feel it: the venue is steaming hot, there's barely any place to stand anywhere with a view of the stage, and going for a beer mid-set means you're not coming back to the middle for sure. It's as packed as I've ever seen it and for good reason. Not only has Rise Against sold out Store Vega in Copenhagen twice in a row and Amager Bio once, but last I checked, their most famous YouTube video has over 96 million views. In comparison, Green Day's "American Idiot" has 114 million views, so it's a rare treat to see the band at a venue as small as 750 guests.

All photos courtesy of Peter Troest

Andy The Band

Andy The Band

What an opportunity this is for Andy The Band to be opening a sold-out KB. It's the solo project of Andy Dahlström (Satanic Surfers, Terrible Feelings) where he introduces the group as himself and some dudes playing with him. That's about the last interesting thing you can say about this group based on tonight's set. Things get off to an awkward start with a lengthy silence between first and second song for tuning that suggests the band aren't rehearsed at all. The music is somewhere between alternative rock and punk, recalling the type of music that Beatsteaks plays, just without the songs to back it up. The sound is nondescript and boring, and so when he tries to get the crowd singing along the lines of "wake up, time's up", people aren't buying it, and most people have tuned off a long while ago. A mediocre, totally forgettable set with static scene show and no highlights to mention.

5

Rise Against

Rise Against

This ought to be good: the band is used to playing huge festival shows and arenas across Europe, so coming back to a small club should be something special. Vocalist Tim McIlrath recognizes as much early on during the set: "we were born in places like these, in the Chicago underground with sweaty venues like this, sound like this", he explains, letting us know he's been looking forward to tonight's set for a while now. In the meantime, the temperature in the crowd is already creeping up towards 60+ C sauna levels as the floor becomes one constant trampoline and mosh pit hybrid, given the strong start to the show with "The Violence", "Satellite", "Survive", and "I Don't Wanna Be Here Anymore" all getting people moving.

Rise Against

All songs tonight are met with a sing-along, but there are the ones which pierce through earplugs and thunderously echo around the venue: "Ready To Fall" is one of these where everyone's jumping; The "to the sound of the heartbeat pounding away" parts of "Re-Education (Through Labor)" predictably also get the crowd singing from the top of their lungs, and "Give It All" is as massive as it always is.

Despite all this, if you're not in the pit going crazy, the same issues persist as I've come to recognize during the last few times I've seen Rise Against. The lack of a primal rage, the all too clean vocal interpretations of the older songs, the career musicianship that feels like another day in the office. All of these are in stark contrast with the shows that they played around the release of "The Sufferer & The Witness" and even its follow-up, "Appeal To Reason", where it looked and felt like the band were playing for their lives and the dynamic between them and the crowds was palpable. These days, it's always the same songs, the same acoustic interlude with Tim alone on stage doing "Hero Of War", "Swing Life Away" and a couple of others, and only a few variations on the setlist. In fact, comparing to their Halloween show in Copenhagen last year, only 6 of the 19 songs, or 31%, have been swapped out. Going back a few years further to their 2014 Copenhagen show, it's the same six songs that have been swapped out on the set list. No wonder I feel like I've seen this exact same show quite a few times by now. Or maybe I'm just jaded considering this is my thirteenth time watching Rise Against live.

Rise Against

Among the highlights tonight were "Welcome To The Breakdown", which sees Tim liberated from his guitar and charge across the stage armed only with a mic and a megaphone at one point, and "Give It All", during which he stands atop the barrier to reach into the crowd. It's moments like these that make the show great, I just wish there were more of them.

Still, it's hard to critique the show further because it looks like everyone else in the crowd is having an absolute blast. The sing-alongs are huge, the energy is great, and the venue is boiling from all the jumping and mosh pit movement. So if this was your first or second Rise Against show, it was probably one for the ages. But if you've seen them quite a few times, well, nothing new under the sun.

Rise Against

Setlist:

  • 1. The Violence
  • 2. Satellite
  • 3. Survive
  • 4. I Don't Want to Be Here Anymore
  • 5. House on Fire
  • 6. Ready to Fall
  • 7. Help Is on the Way
  • 8. Welcome to the Breakdown
  • 9. Give It All
  • 10. Blood-Red, White & Blue
  • 11. Re-Education (Through Labor)
  • 12. Savior
  • 13. People Live Here
  • 14. Hero of War
  • 15. Voices Off Camera (Piano Version)
  • 16. Swing Life Away

— Encore —

  • 17. Make It Stop (September's Children)
  • 18. Like the Angel
  • 19. Prayer of the Refugee

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