It’s Valentines Day, the most romantic day of the year. You spend the day showering your loved ones with flowers, chocolates and beautiful dinners at the most expensive Teppanyaki restaurant in town. Or you could spend all your hard earned cash on one of the best concerts to hit Brisbane this year and have the best night of your life. That’s right, Rise Against, one of Chicago’s greatest punk rock exports have hit Brisbane tonight for the final show on their Australian tour.
Sydney hardcore outfit Bare Bones warm the crowd for the main act tonight. And they set the place on fire as they hit the stage and bombard right into it. These guys have been carving their name in around Australia lately and it’s really showing why tonight with the performance they give. Their riffs are ball breaking and the songs just tear through you, it’s some proper solid punk/hardcore writing. The crowd are more than ready at this point.
The crowd are on edge waiting for tonight’s main act to hit the stage. As the the stage lights up green and the boys run out, the crowd throws it into overdrive and go absolutely insane. Front man Tim McIlath grabs a mic and jumps straight to front centre on a riser as they crank straight into the opening track from their 2006 hit album ‘The Sufferer & the Witness’. Tim throws himself from one side of the stage to the other, engaging with every last person in range, screaming every word with genuine happiness plastered across his face. The rest of the band matches all the energy, making this an incredible opening for the show. They don’t stop there, rolling straight into ‘Give It All’ where McIlarth makes his way off stage and down to the crowd, climbing up onto the barriers and singing face to face with adoring fans.
The set follows through with some huge tracks like ‘Re-education Through Labor’, ‘Prayer of the Refugee’ and ‘Dancing for Rain’. It’s a highlighted moment as Tim jumps to the riser and announces the next track “Collapse (Post Amerika)’ and begins to swing his microphone by the lead helicopter style up over the crowd over and over again for a solid 20 seconds.
We reach a point where the lights have gone to zero and there’s dead silence from the stage as Tim makes his way back on alone, bringing with him his trusty acoustic. The stage stays dark, all but a few spot lights sit dead on him as he takes the crowd through a 3 tracks emotional roller coaster playing ‘People Live Here’, ‘Hero of War’ (which is the real heart clincher of the set with it’s storytelling of a young man being seduced by war.) and ‘Swing Life Away’.
But we don’t sit on the acoustic tracks long as the rest of the band take to the stage again, McIlarth screaming “Don’t worry Brisbane! Help is on the way!” counting straight into ‘Help Is On The Way’ and the crowd go from beautiful serenading mode into freak out mode once again. We get a quick speech outlining the meaning behind the latest album ‘Wolves’. “You can put your tail between your legs and your head in the sand….or you can become the wolves!” leading us into the opening track of the same name to the Chicago quartets latest album ‘Wolves’.
Finishing with ‘Satellite’, the lights once again go down, leaving what you could call the common “encore lighting” present. The crowd is treated to 2 more old school songs. They begin with ‘Behind Closed Doors’, a song that only Brisbane will be treated to for the entirety of the Australian tour. And they end the night with ‘Savior’ from 2008’s ‘Appeal To Reason’.
It’s been a mighty hot night, but this hasn’t stopped the crowd from erupting The Riverstage into a frenzy. They have stayed true to Valentines Day and flooded the band with a sea of love, making this possibly the best Valentines Day to date. I even saw a couple, sitting lovingly together on a picnic blanket watching one of the worlds most iconic punk bands. That’s how you do Valentines Day people. That’s how you do it.
Photos by Dan Maynard