Rise Against

support The 20Belows
author PP date 31/10/09 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

When Rise Against originally announced they'd be playing their first ever Danish concert at the 500 capacity Lille Vega, I wasn't worried, because each time an awesome punk band has played around here before, the shows have mostly taken place in even smaller venues without being close to selling out (Anti-Flag at Loppen anyone?). At the end of July, however, over three months before the show, Vega had to announce a waiting list for more tickets as the show sold out ridiculously fast for a band in this genre. A few days later, an upgrade to the 1500 capacity Store Vega was imminent, but even that wasn't enough. Precisely one month before the show people were running amok on the internet trying to find someone selling a spare ticket to the Danish event of the year on many measures - which was now sold out. Where are these people normally when punk rock bands come to Denmark? Maybe if they would've known just the Guitar Hero tracks and maybe the singles from the new album, it'd make sense, but as we shall soon see, it's as if the people attending were hardcore Rise Against fans who knew every song the band had ever put out.

The 20Belows

But first, lets get warmed up with some feel-good, easily-accessible pop punk courtesy of Denmark's own The 20Belows. What an opportunity this support slot was for them, warming up for 1500 punk fans as opposed to playing in front of crowds who either don't care or aren't familiar at all with the genre like they usually do when supporting foreign bands over here, especially because the people in the crowd who knew the band from before seemed to be in the minority from what I could see. So what's the verdict, were they able to turn the crowd to their side and thus utilize the chance for their advantage? Well, kind of, but not as much as I would've hoped for. I was loving every bit of their set, but it didn't seem like the rest of the crowd was eating up their songs. My guess is that big of a stage is still a relatively new thing for the guys, and as such they don't feel as comfortable, and subsequently as energetic as in the smaller spaces they normally play. A little bit too much standing still contributed to a somewhat... I don't wanna say lackluster, but not as happy-go-lucky atmosphere as is definitely possible when these guys are at their best. More energy and using the space to their advantage would've surely induced the crowd moving along a little more. Still, it's great to see that even though vocalist Ulrich handles almost all the vocals during their show, the other guitarist Kasper sports one big smile and sings along to every word away from the mic, and I bet a whole bunch of people checked them out on Myspace after the show.

Rise Against

Not even in my wildest dreams could I have expected the mass sing along that erupted immediately from the first lines of "Collapse (Post-Amerika)". I was half expecting people to know only the singles and "Give It All", but even the oldest "Revolutions Per Minute" songs had decent sing alongs tonight. I guess Danish people do know good music, after all. Now I've seen Rise Against five times prior to their first ever Danish show, and let me tell you this folks, tonight's show was another brilliant example of why I keep coming back time and time again. The band hasn't written a single bad song yet (well, aside from the mediocre 7" with Fat Wreck Chords last year), which is why they can freely spread out their setlist to cover everything from the classics for the die hard fans to the more mainstream new songs. But even at their most mainstream, Rise Against shines every meaning of the word punk, from their encouragement to circle pits to their hyper-active stage performance with the guitarist flying all over the stage and vocalist Tim acting like he's on a fucking trampoline. There's simply something for everyone, whether you're into Tim's lengthy explanations about meanings of songs like "Swing Life Away", into chanting "RISE, RISE, RISE" with the band, or just watching how the band draws an incredible amount of energy from the crowd whenever people are moving.

Moving might be an understatement though, because the MASSIVE circle pit that stretched from side to side of the venue must have seen at least 50 to 60 people circling the room. Shoes were being lost in every direction, lyrics were being screamed in ecstasy, and pumping fists were all over the place. "Show me a Danish circle pit", screams Tim, warming my old punk rock heart when I'm participating in the fun with people who normally aren't into this kind of stuff (See around 1:15 of this video). And did I mention yet that people were singing along to every single song tonight - or that the sound overall was one of the best I've heard in a live setting to date? Even the ballads sounded fucking amazing tonight thanks to the thunderous roar of the crowd that more or less drowned Tim's voice underneath it, but especially during "Give It All" which saw not just one of the biggest sing alongs but also another huge mosh pit erupting as the song kicked off.

A quick encore took place before "Give It All" and the band came back to play the song and "Ready To Fall", in the process convincing people to take to the streets for the climate change conference coming up in December. As I reflect back on the show, there were just so many memories for years to come, thanks to an amazing setlist which contained an absolutely ridiculous amount of good songs. I know less than a handful of bands who are able to play 19 songs in a row and have the crowd love every single one of them. And you wonder why Rise Against is the band with the most live reviews on Rockfreaks.net? We love to go see this band - one of the most honest and hardworking ones out there - and this show proves precisely why. If you missed it, now's the time to be jealous.

Setlist:

  • 1. Collapse (Post-Amerika)
  • 2. State Of The Union
  • 3. Re-Education (Through Labor)
  • 4. Paper Wings
  • 5. Long Forgotten Sons
  • 6. The Good Left Undone
  • 7. Chamber The Cartridge
  • 8. Drones
  • 9. The Dirt Whispered
  • 10. Audience Of One
  • 11. Blood To Bleed
  • 12. Savior
  • 13. Survive
  • 14. Blood-Red White And Blue
  • 15. Prayer Of The Refugee
  • --Encore--
  • 16. Swing Life Away
  • 17. Hero Of War
  • --Encore 2--
  • 18. Dancing For Rain
  • 19. Give It All
  • 20. Ready To Fall

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