Rise Against: Hardcore For The Masses At Showbox SoDo

Rise Against at Showbox SoDo (Photo: Arlene Brown)

Rise Against at Showbox SoDo (Photo: Arlene Brown)

The moshers came out in full force last Friday at the Showbox SoDo for hardcore pop-punk band Rise Against. The venue was stuffed to the gills with studs, tattoos, and the need to get physical. There was plenty of opportunity for the latter throughout the night; security went home drenched in sweat, always the sign of a successful show.

Los Angeles’ letlive came out guns blazing, and there was crowdsurfing from the start. In the course of the first song, lead singer Jason Aalon Alexander Butler metaphorically screamed his head off. He then gathered up every inch of his microphone cord and then chucked it over a stage set support high above. He then took the dangling mic and traversed the stage with the cord stretched taut from the ceiling. After treating the mic as a punching bag he hauled it back down only to take a running leap off the stage into the photo pit and then over to the side of the venue, where he scaled band equipment cases and then made his way back through the center of the audience to the barricade, where he continued to scream animatedly until flopping over the rail and clambering back onto the stage proper. Needless to say, the photographers in the pit were unceremoniously kicked out during the second song because the place had become a safety hazard.

Killswitch Engage, a prominent band in the history of metalcore, was next, and they focused on thrashing the heck out of everybody. Horned hands were thrown, hair went on a rollercoaster ride, and guitars were held aloft. Both Killswitch Engage and Rise Against featured guitarists and bassists that liked to switch places; sometimes it seemed like metal musical chairs. Bassist Adam Dutkiewicz sported a, well, sporty look, complete with an American Flag doo rag, athletic shorts, and a decorative knee brace to go with his Will Ferrell looks. The band started off with fan favorite “My Purse!” and powered on through a set of songs that raced along to the conclusion of their set.

The crowd was practically frothing by the time Rise Against began to play. Playing against a backdrop that featured huge lighted letters that spelled out “RISE,” the band high-kicked and rock-jumped their way through their set as their fans shoved around in a large mosh pit. Older fans cheered things on from the bar area, crowding the open side of the bar that looks over the venue space. Although Rise Against is entering its sixteenth year as a band they showed no signs of letting up. They did, however, show a softer side when lead singer Tim McIlrath broke out an acoustic guitar and had his own mini version of Storytellers before breaking into a rendition of “Swing Life Away,” which the crowd loudly sang along to. The full band returned for an encore, closing with the song “Savior,” and the crowdsurfing reached a resounding crescendo as the band left the stage one by one, and everyone went sweatily home, done in and well spent. Below are photos taken by SMI contributing photographer Arlene Brown.

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Christine Mitchell has been poring over album liner notes pretty much since she acquired the skill of reading, and figured out the basic structure of rock songs at an early age. Whether it’s the needle popping into the first groove of the record, the beeps that signal the beginning (or end) of a cassette tape, or digital numbers ticking off the seconds from zero, music brings Christine happiness, ponderous thought, opportunities for almost scientific study, and sometimes a few tears. When she started attending live shows two decades ago, a whole new piece of the puzzle clicked in and she has been hooked ever since.