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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Rise Against’s riotous — if sometimes monotonous — rock enraptures Orpheum

Chicago punk-rock outfit delivers satisfying show, but may have been beat by impressive opener Letlive
Andrew Salewski
Rise Against.

The Orpheum became one giant protest Friday night, organized under Rise Against’s high-octane songs of rebellion and progressivism. But the Chicago punk-rock outfit would struggle to retain the same energy as their impressive opener, Letlive.

Sonically, Rise Against got the crowd rioting with blistering verses fueled by skate punk-inspired drumbeats and chord progressions. These progressions would then build into cavernous scream-along choruses that would always have the crowd chanting with the band.

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On stage, the band was always active. When lead guitarist Zach Blair wasn’t helping out with backup vocals, he was running back and forth, jumping off monitors for some high-flying antics that brought an explosive energy to the stage.


Moreover, frontman Tim McIlrath did a great job of engaging and connecting with the crowd. Between songs, McIlrath would preach the band’s message of acceptance and civil disobedience to give the crowd’s energy a sense of purpose.

During the set, the band dipped into songs both new and old that spanned across the entirety of their discography. But by about the fifth song in Rise Against’s performance, it sounded like they had gone through every trick in their book, and the set suffered from a severe absence of any attention to pacing and dynamics.

Rise Against decided to pick every breakneck-paced punk song to try to keep energies high, but when every song moved with such a similar pulse and cadence, it made the performance feel tired and static.

Throughout the performance, Rise Against’s physical energy was firing on all cylinders and they executed their songs with veteran finesse, but nonetheless their actual sound struggled to stay fresh.

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What was perhaps the most interesting part of Friday night’s show came roughly two hours before Rise Against even took the stage, and it came in the form of opening act, Letlive.

It was pretty apparent when Letlive took the stage that very few people in the crowd had ever heard of the West Coast punk rockers — let alone cared about them — but they were determined to change that.

Letlive’s electric ferocity, combined with their eclectic jazz and soul-infused sound, made for a performance that had the following acts paling in comparison.

Letlive’s set was chaotic. Nothing in their set felt rehearsed, planned or scripted. Rather, on stage the band just felt their music, and jived on stage accordingly. It was an attitude that made the performance feel authentic and refreshing.

Frontman Jason Butler moved around the stage with what appeared to be borderline insanity. When he wasn’t delivering his impassioned screaming vocals, he was engaging in exhilarating (and somewhat reckless) stage antics.

Whether he was whipping the mic around his body, wrapping himself in and climbing the Orpheum curtains or at one point front flipping into the crowd, Butler never ceased to entertain.

What was even more impressive was how the band was able to tangibly win over the crowd.

During the first song, the crowd was almost stationary, but by the band’s last punk banger “27 Club,” a circle pit that encompassed almost the entirety of the Orpheum had broken out. Those in second-floor seating were on their feet and at the edge of the balcony.

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While Letlive may have stolen the show, it didn’t mean that Rise Against’s performance was necessarily inferior in any way. Rise Against gave an extremely engaging performance from a visual standpoint. They simply failed to create a setlist that exemplified the range of sonic output they are capable of.


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