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Rise Against’s latest Las Vegas show can’t live up to the past

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Rise Against’s Joint show needed more Tim McIlrath, less political distraction.
Photo: Eric Kabik
Jason Harris

The Details

Three stars
RISE AGAINST
October 1, the Joint.

Rise Against is one of the best live acts I’ve seen recently. That was my assessment when I saw the political punkers last December, playing a blistering set of nonstop noisy scream-along jams inside the Joint. Monday’s show in the same room didn’t match that 2011 beast.

The main problem this time: far too many video and audio interludes with political overtones—showing injustices throughout the world or offering speeches from pop-culture sources like The Newsroom. Had it been some type of performance-art show or an edited film statement, that could have been effective; as transitions from one concert block to the next, it destroyed momentum, leaving the crowd with too much time to breathe. The band that first played Las Vegas in the Huntridge Theatre lobby in 2000 clearly holds this town in high esteem. But on this night, songs like “Drones,” “Wait for Me” and “Savior” would have been better served without all the interference.

On the poppier side of punk, opener The Gaslight Anthem has upheld New Jersey’s strong rock tradition. The band is admittedly heavily influenced by Jersey’s most famous rock ’n’ roller, Bruce Springsteen, but Brian Fallon & Co.’s friendly indie-punk style also owes something to that other Garden State giant, Bon Jovi. Fallon shares many of Springsteen’s lyrical motifs—cars, girls and “glory days,” but Gaslight’s music itself is sleeker and more produced, like Bon Jovi’s. “American Slang,” “The ’59 Sound” and “45” are solid amalgamations of the two. “Do you guys like The Killers?” Fallon asked the Vegas crowd. Okay, so maybe he’s not as smooth onstage as the Boss or the Jov. But hey, he’s just a kid from Jersey.

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