Rise Against at Fillmore, with the Gaslight Anthem and Hot Water Music, 9/24/12
Aaron Thackeray Tim McIlrath of Rise Against last night at the Fillmore Auditorium. Slide show: Rise Against at the Fillmore
RISE AGAINST @ FILLMORE AUDITORIUM | 9.24.12
If there was a single moment where Rise Against came alive -- really, sincerely began to lose their minds, feeding off the audience's vast stores of energy -- it happened late in the game. The crowd had been decidedly awestruck after opener the Gaslight Anthem's performance, and who knows, maybe the Rise Against dudes were giving the kids a break, biding their time before letting loose with a barrage of punk anthems. When they finally did go apeshit, somewhere between "Satellite" and "Wait for Me," the audience responded in kind.
The night was theirs to lose. Earlier in the evening, at the decidedly un-rock hour of 6 p.m., a thick line of fans stretched around the block wearing enough Rise Against T-shirts to fill a moving van. This was the kind of old-school band adoration you might expect at a Van Halen concert, circa '84. Judging by the crowd's excitement, lead singer Tim McIlwrath could have executed kittens onstage later that night, and the kids would have loved him still.
Aaron Thackeray Hot Water Music last night at the Fillmore Auditorium. Slide show: Rise Against at the Fillmore
Gainesville, Florida hardcore titans Hot Water Music played an early set that was memorable only for its time capsule-like novelty. This was the sound of Florida hardcore back in the '90s, and Hot Water Music -- one of the premier acts of the era -- has changed very little in the decades since.
Aaron Thackeray The Gaslight Anthem last night at the Fillmore Auditorium. Slide show: Rise Against at the Fillmore
The Gaslight Anthem however, was another monster entirely. Merging elements of rootsy '90s punk (see: Social Distortion) and its New Jersey homeland (see: Bruce Springsteen's "woah-a-oh's" from "Thunder Road"), this band has added varied elements to the Warped Tour sound that's become so hackneyed. Singer Brian Fallon was at times a dead ringer for Archers of Loaf's Eric Bachmann, and, like that North Carolina outfit, is unafraid of throwing the occasional twangy vocal in front of the mountains of fuzzed-out guitars. "Here Comes My Man" and "Keepsake" were especially rousing numbers, likely leading many in the audience to wonder if Rise Against would be able to top it.
Aaron Thackeray The Gaslight Anthem at the Fillmore Auditorium last night. Slide show: Rise Against at the Fillmore
Well, Gaslight Anthem didn't have the light show or long-familiar songs that the headliners did, and, better songcrafting aside, the spectacle of Rise Against pretty much trounced the openers' collective stage presence. The stage projections showed videos on four giant panel screens, featuring all sorts of odd topical stuff -- is that footage from the Arab Spring uprising? Who are those people crying in jail cells? -- while the band, dressed in all black (naturally), tore through a mix of old favorites and more recent fare.