By JAKE ROBINSON
This is one of the few places where you may see a guy in a wheelchair crowd surfing.
Rise Against played an enthusiastic set at the John Labatt Centre in London on Oct. 2. The band brought with them energy and their moral beliefs. They are very vocal about equality and individualism which brings audience members into a new level of comfort while attending their show.
The show was opened by two other well-known bands, The Black Pacific and Flogging Molly.
The Black Pacific is a punk super group consisting of Marc Orrell (Dropkick Murphys) and Jim Lindberg (Pennywise). They brought an old-school punk vibe to the stage and got fans moshing early. Midway through their set they honoured The Ramones and played Blitzkrieg Bop with as much enthusiasm as The Ramones themselves would have played it with.
Flogging Molly followed with a riveting set of their own. The audience sang along as they began the show with their hit song Drunken Lullabies.
The singer, Dave King, apologized to the audience about Team Canada being eliminated in the Rugby World Cup then said that Ireland will take care of New Zealand in the finals. He followed his speech with a heavy version of Float and Oliver Boy.
As they exited the stage you could hear a quiet whisper rising from the crowd, “Molly, Molly.” A portion of the audience wanted an encore from the opening act. However, the lights went up and the fans made their way back to the merchandise table and beer stands.
Fifteen minutes later, the lights went down and the audience roared as Rise Against took the stage.
They began their set with Re-Education (Through Labor); from the rise of the intro it was evident that it was going to be a loud show.
They followed with Satellite which is off of their new album Endgame. They went on to play a set containing mostly older songs.
Tim McIlrath, the band’s singer, gave the audience a speech halfway through their set. He asked the audience to scream with him to let out any frustrations that have been building up. He talked about not letting anything get you down and to respect everyone for who they are. After his speech, the band went into Survive; audience members got excited when they saw a person in a wheelchair crowd surfing because that act of courage was exactly what McIlrath talked about.
The band left the stage near the end of the set as McIlrath slowed things down with an acoustic guitar. He began with Swing Life Away; the audience sang along word for word. He followed with Hero of War as the rest of the band joined him mid-song for a powerful ending.
The band ended their set with Ready to Fall and waved goodbye to the audience. After a few minutes of screaming and cheering, the band returned to the stage to play their encore set. They sang three more songs and left the audience with ringing ears.
The band’s Canadian tour ended Oct. 12 in Vancouver.