The day has come and passed and despite the fact that I have been unbearably sick for the last week I was undeterred in getting to St. Louis for one of the best touring lineups of the fall. Rise against came to town with Alkaline Trio, Thrice and the Gaslight Anthem.
The Gaslight Anthem opened with a booming set for an opener. From a band that I have only heard one song from previously, the put on a great set. They kind of sound like a mixture between maybe Bruce Springsteen, and a little Alkaline Trio. The songs all had great lyrical quality and didn’t get old quickly. I would like to note also that the guys were nice enough to hang around afterward despite the fact it was freezing outside.
Thrice came on next and put on a great set heavy on new material, but awesome nonetheless. They played several songs off of the Fire disc, of their Alchemy Index series, that all went over great with the crowd. In particular “Firebreather” went over great, with lead singer Dustin Kensrue wailing, “tell me are you free?” I was slightly dissapointed they didn’t get into some of their lighter acoustic stuff, however a cover of the Beatles “Helter Skelter”, more than made up for it.
Alkaline Trio failed to thrill me with their style of Chicago pop-punk. Though a good half of the crowd seemed to really love the band, I just didn’t get the appeal.
Rise Against came to the stage absolutely on fire. New guitarist Zach Blair is an absolute thrill to watch work the stage and play the guitar. Tim McIlrath is a great stage man as well when not tied down by a guitar. The heavily political band was in great spirits and self proclaimed “we all have a lot to be grateful for,” McIlrath said, before explaining, “the George Bush era of America is OVER.” The band ran through a great mix of new and old, as well as remembering their first days in St. Louis at the Creepy Crawl, and noting that it was their, “literally biggest show” in the city.
Right after the band briefly left the stage for a breather, McIlrath and Blair emerged quickly for a brief acoustic set featuring new song, “Hero of War” as well as “Swing Life Away”. The band ended the set with an explosive version of “Prayer of the Refugee” which unleashed the entire floor of the Pageant into a large mosh.
As McIlrath said early in the night, “this is what its all about, everyone right here, together, enjoying themselves and getting a break from daily life.” There was certainly no better way to accomplish that goal/.