Words Dave Mullins.
When U.S. band Rise Against announced that they’d be doing their one and only solo show in Australia just a week in advance, the people of Perth rejoiced. These days it’s rare for a band to tour Perth at all, let alone single the city out for such an event. While fans in other cities protested at having to pay $170 for a ticket to watch them support Foo Fighters, fans in Perth were lucky to get tickets at all; they sold out within 5 minutes.
Amplifier is a great live venue, albeit a little on the small side for such a popular band. But seeing the venue jam packed with screaming fans was a magnificent sight. But before Rise Against could take to the stage we were treated to the always entertaining Dan Cribb & The Isolated. Apart from being one of the nicest people in music, Cribb is also a wonderful songwriter. The band, currently working as a three-piece, harmoniously melds punk and folk with rock and pop in a way that makes it impossible not to enjoy. The whole band looked as happy to be there as everyone in the absolutely packed crowd.
It was great to see the local boys being able to hold the attention of the excited crowd throughout their set. They have a single launch just around the corner, so this sort of attention can only do wonders to further their expanding fandom around the country.
With barely anyone leaving the front of stage between bands, the venue was heating up. Spilt beer, sweat and the white noise of a few hundred punters, the trademarks of any good show, all created a tension that could be sliced with knife. An enormous cheer rang out as Rise Against took to the stage. Bursting into a stellar performance of ‘Give It All’, the entire crowd turned into a gigantic mosh pit. Feet flying through the air, bodies literally hitting the mesh ceiling, it was chaos. Frontman Tim McIlrath announced that “Tonight we’ll being playing a lot of songs that we won’t be playing tomorrow”, which was met with the expected applause. There had been speculation that seeing them support the Foo Fighters would be slightly unfulfilling for long-time fans given that they’d be playing newer songs, a more ‘radio friendly’ set. But it wasn’t the case for this show. There was a great selection of songs from favourite albums; ‘Satellite’ and ‘Make It Stop’ from their 2011 album Endgame and old songs including ‘Like the Angel’ from their 2003 album Revolutions Per Minute.
The band nailed every song with immense grace and style, they really understood the importance of the music to the fans, and engaged them at every possible point. McIlrath, when not playing rhythm guitar, would lean into the crowd encouraging the audience to sing along. Even when a lucky fan managed to get on stage McIlrath gave him the mic, letting him sing until security lead him back to the floor. It’s often hard for fans to have a real interaction with the bands, but it seemed to be as important to Rise Against as it was to the crowd.
With the set drawing to a close, McIlrath promised that Rise Against would be back in the near future to play more of these smaller, intimate shows. With any luck this is a promise they can keep, as it was truly one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. The band closed out the set with an extended version of ‘Saviour’, guitarist Zach Blair showing off his (slightly under-used) chops in a splendid breakdown solo.
All in all this was one of the best nights I’ve had out in my life. I think that this is a sentiment shared by everyone in the crowd. There’s a mantra, spread by the likes of AJ Maddah, that Perth isn’t good for live music. But the sold out venue, the screaming fans and the amazing performance only proves that rock belongs to the hearts of the fans, not the promoters who only see a dollar value. Music is alive and thriving in Western Australia, and this was just another example of why that is so important.
Catch Dan Cribb & The Isolated at Four5Nine Bar at the Rosemount Hotel on Saturday March 14th for ‘The Last Time’ Single Launch. Check out the Facebook event HERE.