Live Review

Live Review: Rise Against at the O2 Academy, Birmingham

It isn’t every day that a band the likes of Rise Against come to town and it’s even less often they bring a band like Sleeping With Sirens in tow. Rise Against are at a stage in their career now where they can bring smaller support with them and still sell the majority of the bigger venues out but it’s nice to know they’re happy to give their fans a full night of entertainment.

Turning up as Sleeping With Sirens took yo the stage it was evident how popular a combination these two are. Squeezing in to the right if the stage I managed to get a spot where I could see through the mass of heads and hear with perfection. Bounding out onto stage like pop-punk puppies it wasn’t long before SWS were in full flow, though it was evident that not everyone in the crowd were familiar with the band and what they do. Having We Like It Loud so early in the set gets the crowd moving and the demand for a circle pit, despite not really be in adhered to, raised the energy in the crowd again.

A short stop to talk about how fragile we can be and how you are not alone felt completely genuine and it is so important that a band as influential as this talk about mental health. Better Off Dead followed this heartfelt speech and it set a high point for the band. I went into the set without much of an opinion of the band. The vocals don’t hit home all the time, but the way they conducted themselves on stage has made me respect them. The energy they started with was there throughout and they left to the teen screams that had adorned them throughout the 45 minutes they were on stage.

The changeover for the Rise Against set felt like one of the longest I’ve experienced and only the interesting array of merch and then a nice ledge to lean against made it bearable. When the Chicago based 4 piece took to the stage it was to a hero’s welcome, with all of the near two and a half thousand people cheering them on before a note had been played.

Kicking off the set with Chamber The Cartridge had it’s usual reaction and from their the Americans set about a relentless mix of old and new. Tracks like The Violence from most recent album ‘Wolves’ really set the tone for the evening though, proving what we already knew: Rise Against have still go it and may even be getting better.

What was refreshing with this set compared to so many other bands is that when the electric is turned off and Tim Mcllrath is left on stage with his acoustic guitar another level is reached. Tracks like People Live Here emphasise just what it is that makes Rise Against so special. They may still want the crowd surfers during acoustic songs, but quite often people just need a few minutes to stand and reflect. The middle section of this set truly was something special and Hero Of War starts the beginning of the end.

With a track in the encore like Saviour to end on there is no pressure on the band for the last few songs of the main part of the set and you can feel that coming from the stage. This is a band at their peak doing what they love with a crowd living off it. There is plenty more to come from Rise Against.

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