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Rise Against - Live Review

Rise Against, Sleeping With Sirens & PEARS @ O2 Academy, Birmingham 01/11/17

If there were three bands you probably wouldn’t put together on paper- Rise Against, Sleeping With Sirens and PEARS are possibly those three bands. However we eagerly entered the O2 Academy, ready to see those three bands hit the stage for the first night of Rise Against’s ‘Wolves’ UK Tour.

Somehow (for not the first time) due to security and queues we end up missing the start of PEARS set, which being big fans of the band and knowing what they are capable of is massively disappointing. Thankfully we manage to get into the venue about half way through the set, so the mixed crowd of Rise Against and SWS fans is getting nicely warmed up by PEARS blistering energy. As a band, PEARS carry the energy similar to the likes of The Ramones and The Descendents, but with a slightly heavier edge to them. Front-man Zach is the second coming of Iggy Pop (we are aware Mr Pop is very much alive and well), his body contorting and convulsing as he jumps around on stage. PEARS are a sight to behold, if you get the chance a live show is a must. 

It would be remiss to not acknowledge that a good portion of the nights crowd were there to see Sleeping With Sirens, and those that were there for that reason would not have gone away with a voice. Potentially aware of the crowd split, Sleeping With Sirens tore through a set of greatest hits, despite the fact that new album ‘Gossip’ only came out a few weeks ago, perhaps an indication that Sleeping With Sirens could be back in the UK sooner rather than later with their own headline tour. The tracks they did play, seemed to be from the heavier end of their catalogue leaving out some of the softer ballads and acoustic tracks, which for a casual observer of the band isn’t the worse thing. The crowd would have loved whatever songs they chose to play, but these tracks did go down a storm. We imagine even the non-fans would have at least come away acknowledging what a good live band SWS are. 

You can’t ignore what Sleeping With Sirens bring to the table, the fact that they can “hang” with a band like Rise Against but also have the ability to bring new blood and fans to venues is essential to the music industry. Without a band like Sleeping With Sirens, the next generation might not discover bands like Rise Against, Every Time I Die or Letlive. Sleeping With Sirens are doing a free show (and meet and greet) on 9th November in Camden, London at the Vans shop, this should be an amazing event, check it out if you can.

The sound that Rise Against make is bigger than a venue like the O2 Academy, and the message that Rise Against carry is bigger than any stadium that their brand of melodic hardcore could fill. While contemporaries like Green Day have moved onto playing actual stadiums, Rise Against, somehow filling a venue like this with their big rock sound makes the show feel somewhat intimate. The current tour is in promotion of album ‘Wolves’ which came out in June, managing to stand out against a whole host of brilliant albums because Rise Against aren’t carrying a message of hope, they are carrying a message of defiance, anger and aggression. 

In an interview with The Shrine Auditorium Frontman Tim McIlrath said of the album and the band live shows “Wolves isn’t about creating a safe space, it’s about creating a space that’s dangerous for injustice” and this is just how the show feels. Rise Against are here to whip up a storm, sending those who were in the crowd out into the world to fight fascism, racism, bigotry and homophobia. This angst and passion could be felt exuding from the guys on stage, as they smashed through their explosive set and left heads spinning. 

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