The first night of any tour is always a gamble. It’s either going to be a mess with technical difficulties and possibly even the realization that the bands on the lineup don’t mix well. Or it’s going to awesome. Luckily for the first night of Rise Against’s Spring 2012 US tour, which took place at Austin Music Hall, it was the latter.
The Menzingers, a punk rock band from Scranton, Pennsylvania, opened up the show to a pretty sizeable and eager crowd. The Menzingers are one of the bands that you have to see live to really experience their energy. While their recordings are all very good and really capture their punk rock roots, their live performance has a whole other element: an almost Touché Amoré-ish(http://toucheamore.com/) grittiness that takes their show to a different, harder level. It was this level that conjured up a very unexpected yet respectable circle pit about halfway through the band’s set. Unfortunately, The Menzingers’ energy fizzled out towards the end of their set, and they lost the attention of a majority of the crowd.
However that all changed within the first seconds of A Day To Remember’s opening song, “The Downfall of Us All,” which caused the energy level in the room to go through the roof and the entire crowd to smash up against the stage. The Florida pop punk band has a garnered a reputation for putting on one of the best shows in the scene, and this night was no different. The music and vocals were spot on for every song including crowd favorites “2nd Sucks,” “I’m Made of Wax Larry, What Are You Made Of?” and “The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle,” and the band was exploding with energy, running all around the stage. Also to the crowd’s delight, the band didn’t forget to bring their typical fun and games like the flood of inflatable beaches balls and toilet paper rolls thrown into the crowd and lead singer Jeremy McKinnon climbing into a huge clear ball and running around on top of the crowd.
Rise Against closed out the show with a performance that honestly could have been better. The punk rock band did a great job getting the crowd pumped up and shouting along, especially with help from guitarist Zach Blair and his crazy high kicks, and they played a very good variety of old and new songs including “Prayer of The Refugee,” “Audience of One” and “Like the Angel.” But their show was ridiculously loud. I’m not talking 70-year-old, turn-that-gosh-darn-rock-and-roll-racquet-down loud. I’m talking so loud it affected Rise Against’s sound quality. The vocals were turned up so high, you could just barely make out individual words, and the rest was just fuzzy, indiscernible distortion. Hopefully that was just an opening night malfunction or a fault of Austin Music Hall, or else that is going to be one long, deafening tour.
(Rise Against performed at Austin Music Hall on January 17, 2012)