Rise Against at The Forum–July 11, 2009
Punk rock took center stage Saturday night at The Forum in Inglewood, thanks to political hardcore band Rise Against, and veteran bad boys Rancid.
Rancid warmed up the crowd with an array of tunes spanning their entire sixteen-plus-year career, and although it was a little difficult to hear from up in the colonnade section, fans in the pit seemed to be having the times of their lives, thrusting fists into the air with each kick of the bass drum. A large projection screen above the stage chronicled the band’s lengthy career with pictures, articles, and slogans the guys have adopted over the years. Surprisingly, as the hum of guitars faded out over the venue fans scattered, in what seemed to be a mass exodus of people. I assumed pairing with Rise Against would have eliminated that dreaded group of fans who don’t stick around for the headlining act, but nonetheless, it was quite a spectacle to watch people streaming out into the halls from up in the raisers.
Rise Against took the stage around 9:30 p.m. and opened their set with “Bricks” which successfully got the whole arena moving. Unfortunately for everyone who wasn’t sitting floor level, the sound in The Forum was horrible. It was virtually impossible to hear what singer Tim McIlrath was singing, and the way the sound was bouncing off the walls of The Forum even made it difficult for someone who was familiar with Rise’s music to decipher which song was being played. Despite the poor sound quality, Rise Against delivered a solid set packed full of old favorites, and newer staples from their latest release, Appeal to Reason. Some of the night’s highlights included “Paper Wings” which inspired one of the largest circle pits I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing, and “Audience of One” to which the entire arena seemed to be singing along to. Of course, Rise played staples like “The Good Left Undone,” “Chamber the Cartridge,” and “Drones,” and then took a minute to collect themselves, while McIlrath played “Hero of War” and another new acoustic tune. New favorites like, “Savior,” and “Long Forgotten Sons” were incredibly well received, and Rise wrapped up their set with one of their most popular singles, “Rooftops.”
Not only was last night’s show a celebration of all things punk rock, but the intrinsic power of music was front and center in the heart of Inglewood. Although there seemed to be a bit of a disconnect between Rancid and and Rise Against, there was a common theme to the night after all. In the chaotic simplicity of a massive circle pit, and the swaying fists of hardcore fans the unifying affect of “music with a message” took The Forum by storm. The energy was intense, and it only made the show more entertaining. As a fan of Rise Against I can say they really pulled out all the stop for last night’s show. I just wish The Forum would get their act together, or hire a different sound guy so their seated customers actually get what they’re paying for.