Rise Against is one of my top five favorite bands. They’re currently on a co-headlining tour with Deftones, which is interesting to say the least. I don’t know Deftones, and I know Deftones fans who don’t know Rise Against. It’s weird like a festival where you don’t know who’s actually a fan of what band, except even weirder because both bands are headlining. How does that work?
Thrice opened for the two bands on half of the tour, while Frank Iero and the Patience will open the latter half of the tour.
Rise Against is also in one of my close friend Anna’s top however-many favorite bands, so we’ve been talking about seeing them together for about as long as we’ve known each other. It’s finally time, which means I have to make the trek to the East Coast so we can see them together.
I flew into Jersey where Biz picked me up, and the next day we hit the road to Philly with Anna and Cram for the show. They’re playing at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, an outdoor venue that holds 6,500 people.
There was one other band on before Thrice at this show, Three Trapped Tigers. However, my group got distracted by Paddy’s Pub (ya know, the one from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia?) while walking to the venue, so we missed their set completely, which was okay with me.
“The Gang Goes to Rise Against and Deftones”
Most of the group stayed back near the barricade at the entrance while Biz, Cram, and I made our way into the pit for Thrice.
The most I know of Thrice (and Deftones too, for that matter) are songs that Biz played me in his car the day before, so I know he’s a fan. He told me he wouldn’t be surprised if Thrice influenced Rise Against (to which I said maybe it went both ways, because Rise Against’s first album dropped in 2001) so I wanted to keep an open mind with them. If they sound anything like this band that I adore, then I’ll probably at least like them.
And I was into them. I want to look up some of their older music, because I think I would really like them after seeing them live. I’m not sure why they haven’t been on my radar before.
Apologies for the shaky camerawork on this one. Biz was trying to flick me off in the frame but was unsuccessful because I was zoomed in so much.
When Thrice’s set was over, Biz left to go fetch some of the others and said he’d be right back with them.
Well he disappeared and I assumed that was the end of that. Cram and I have this technique perfected where if our friends are looking for us in a crowd, he picks me up and puts me on his shoulder as a beacon so they can find my red hair and make their way to us. Everyone was slowly filtering their way toward us, so Anna and Blake used me as their beacon to find us in the pit.
The beacon technique worked so well that even other people around us were asking if I could sit on Cram’s shoulder again so their friends so locate them as well.
This was a huge crowd, mind you. A really huge show. So there were a lot of people to push through to find us.
Before they even hit the stage, Blake told us that Steve was bitching about Rise Against. I understand that you’re here to see Deftones, but that’s no reason to be rude. I’m guilty of it too (sorry, Glassjaw), but this is one of my favorite bands we’re talking about. I had full intentions of staying in the pit for Deftones and trying to have a good time even though I’m not familiar with their music, but he was acting like Rise Against was so beneath him to the point that I was pissed off before he ever even rejoined us in the crowd.
Bands choose who they tour with for a reason. They generally pick bands they like and respect themselves, and bands that they think their fans will appreciate. Rise Against and Deftones don’t have the same sound, no, but they’re headlining this tour TOGETHER. They chose each other. So why not try to have a good time before judging?
Before we even parted ways I heard some of his complaints.
Steve: “They only know four chords.”
Me (in my head or out loud? I can’t remember): “YEAH WELL GREEN DAY PLAYS THREE CHORDS AND THEY’RE MY FAVORITE SO FUCK YOU.”
Deftones is heavy, but they’re also really chill. Rise Against is a lot more versatile. So seriously, fuck the haters.
Biz decided to stay with Steve and his wife Lexi, so despite what he told me earlier, he didn’t come right back. I told him what I told everyone else: When you’re ready to find us, let me know and I’ll sit on Cram’s shoulders.
It was really muggy and hot out. Outdoor venues can be rough. But it was also raining off and on, which was more than welcome. The downside was the area just outside of the pit was all muddy and one guy trying to mosh in it was pissing everyone else off around him. Whoops? You do you, guy.
I had told Cram before the show that I wanted to spend most of the night in the air crowdsurfing. My first ever crowdsurf was five years ago at a Rise Against show right as the band went on. “Survivor Guilt” was playing and I went up right as the intro broke into music, and I still think of it as one of my best crowdsurfs. But when the time came and I realized how big this crowd was, I was afraid to get separated from my friends this early on, so when the band opened with “Ready to Fall,” I settled for sitting on Cram’s shoulders (again) rather than surfing.
The band had this elaborate setup with TV-like screens. I didn’t remember ever seeing anything like this in the past four times I’ve seen them. My crew joked about how they’re acting like Coheed now. But I countered that with “Maybe they’re just trying to do what Deftones does.” I have no idea what Deftones does, but that makes sense to me. Yeah?
The view from the sky was pretty great. I took it upon myself to find the best spot in the crowd, and wasn’t disappointed to find what appeared to be an entire sea of people dancing and having fun, clearly there for Rise Against. There was also a mosh pit. I need it. So when he put me down, I told my crew I was migrating and they should follow me.
But then I surfed during the next song, “The Good Left Undone.” And it was great. A sign of a good crowd: When you accidentally crowdsurf into a mosh pit, so you’re falling, but they grab you by your hands and feet before you hit the ground and throw you back in the air without missing a beat.
Again, it was a huge crowd, so I went from sitting to laying on my back to laying on my stomach by the time I made it to the stage. Then I got tossed a little too hard over the rail, and I about had a heart attack when I realized my phone was no longer in my possession. But a guy on the rail saw it happen and pointed it out to me. Thank you, random dude. You’re a lifesaver.
My phone managed to survive with only a scratch to it rather than a full blown shattered screen. Small victories. And the surf was pretty epic, so I’m not complaining a bit.
Cram recorded us in the pit singing along with “Satellite.”
Rise Against’s new album Wolves has only been out for a week and a day at this point, so not many people in the crowd knew it yet. However, I’m a crazy person and it’s basically all I’ve listened to since I got the download code in the email from the presale, so I knew every song. They were only playing three this tour, “The Violence,” “Welcome to the Breakdown,” and the title track “Wolves.”
The mosh pit was all larger dudes, mostly shirtless because heat, so it seemed a little rough. When they started playing “The Violence” though, I was right in the middle of it.
“I like the new songs because it’s calmer in there.”
So calm that I felt like maybe I was the only person in that pit who had even listened to the new album at all. But they played along well regardless, and I felt like my energy hyped them up.
Speaking of shirtless, did I mention how hot and muggy it was? It was really hot and muggy. Cram took his shirt off and I had mine tied up to my bra. If I had been wearing a sports bra I probably would’ve taken mine completely off too. Too many layers. Ew.
It was about halfway through the set, during “Give It All,” that I finally got a message from Biz asking if I could sit on Cram’s shoulders again so the last three stragglers could find us in the pit.
Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath happened to also be on top of the crowd toward the end of the song, so I had AMAZING view of him from my spot in the air. That worked out very nicely.
Once back on the ground, I said my hellos to Biz and Steve and Lexi, then the band broke into “Welcome to the Breakdown” and I peaced out to the mosh pit again.
A big mosh pit with not enough people dancing in it means I’m just running around it like a crazy person.
Biz: “You’re like a golden snitch in there!”
I was pretty much dead after that song. Whoops.
I had to part ways with the pit after that because Steve and Lexi wanted to surge forward to be as close to the front of the crowd as possible for Deftones. It was during “Survive,” and I went from being able to dance and breathe and run around to being trapped amongst a sea of people in the muggy heat. Eesh.
And that’s when the accident happened.
Ya ever puke in your mouth a little bit? Most times it stays in your mouth and you can kinda control it, right? Apparently I’ve gone to enough concerts at this point that it was bound to happen at one eventually. And now is the time.
I blame my inability to control it on the fact that we surged forward. There were so many people around that I didn’t have time to think about what was happening, and all of a sudden there’s a little bit of puke in my hand.
“WHAT DO I DO. I CAN’T RUN THROUGH THE CROWD LIKE THIS.”
All my friends are just looking at me like I have a third eye at this point, while I’m standing there freaked out by the fact that I have puke in my hand and I’m surrounded by too many people to really do anything about it.
Finally Cram realizes that it’s puke in my hand and not blood (he was asking where I was bleeding from), and then coming to my rescue, wipes my hand and mouth off with his shirt that he was already not wearing. Savior. (Yes, that is a Rise Against joke, thanks for noticing.)
I felt gross. My stomach was fine, but my hand was not. Ew. Why am I like this?
Thankfully it was a slow song next, “People Live Here.”
“Deftones couldn’t do a song like this, could they?”
I don’t remember who said that, but I appreciate you.
I tried to get my crew to hug and dance together for this one, but most people weren’t cooperating, so it ended up just being me and Cram slow dancing and singing to each other.
Soon enough, Biz, Steve, and Lexi surged even farther forward in preparation for Deftones. I wasn’t about to follow them this time. I thought I wanted to try to have fun in the pit for Deftones, but because Steve was being a jerk during Rise Against, I didn’t really want to be around him for Deftones. Not to mention I also wanted to wash my hand and get some water. So Anna, Blake, Cram, and I left the pit completely.
Cram also loves Deftones, but he was more concerned with getting me water, so he didn’t hesitate to leave with us. He’s kinda the best.
He tried to get back in the pit during Deftones, however, but was unsuccessful. He said their fans were even more of a wall than the Pierce the Veil fans were when we saw them (almost exactly) a year ago. So we watched together from the outskirts of the venue.
I recognized a few of the songs from Biz playing them for me either in his car or at his work the day before. I also listened to their album Diamond Eyes prior to the show, so I knew those songs as well.
Cram explained the lyrics of one song to me, “Digital Bath.” Apparently it’s about drowning someone in a bathtub.
Is “Ew” a theme of the night?
Cram: “Does it make me a bad person to like this song even though I know what it’s about?”
The four of us decided the best time to hit the merch table would be during Deftones’ set, so that’s where we headed. We were wrong. The line was still long. But Cram and I were both in need of new shirts after my little whoopsie, so we stuck it out.
Before we even made it to the front of the line, Biz was there hugging us. I had been a little mad at Steve for bitching all night, but Biz told us that the two of them couldn’t survive the front and had to bail not too long after the band hit the stage. That made me less mad. Karma. It was just kinda funny to me that after all of that, they couldn’t even handle it.
Biz survived the front up until “Phantom Bride,” when I think he crowdstood, got a good view of frontman Chino Moreno, and then peaced out himself to find us.
It seemed like it must’ve been a really rough crowd. I’m glad I didn’t try to brave it.
Back to School
The guy at the merch table gave me a hard time for no reason. I asked what Rise Against shirts he had a small in, and he told me none. Okay, well do you have any mediums? Only smalls in men’s sizes, not womens. Okay, that’s fine. I just asked about smalls, I didn’t specify a gender. Then he brings me back a Thrice shirt. He seems very pissed off at this point just because I asked about sizes. I tell him I said Rise Against, not Thrice, so I ask about the sizes again. We have all of them. Oh, all of them? Pick a number. Umm gimme a second, you just told me you didn’t have any.
Not my fault, dude. You could’ve just answered my question the first time I asked rather than give me such a hard time, and I wouldn’t have wasted so much of your time. Not like you really had anything else to do besides sell merch, though. I’ve done it too. I’m not your worst customer, I will bet money on that. He was just rude and unhelpful.
Finally with a clean shirt in hand, I changed right there out in the open. We all did. We were all gross.
“I need to do this now, here. I’m gross. Sorry not sorry.”
Their set didn’t last too much longer after changing clothes, so we reunited with the three we were missing (I didn’t mention Peter yet, but there was also a Peter somewhere in the crowd who never found us throughout the entire show) and headed to another bar for post-show eats.
First time for everything, and the puke in my hand was definitely a first. Rise Against gets all of my firsts, it seems. They’re worth it.
I have a ticket for my local show at the Concord Pavilion, but I have a scheduling conflict that night and I’m not sure I’m gonna make it or not. I’m currently leaning toward I really want to be there, though. I love this band, dude. One show is not enough. Before this show, it had been close to two years since the last time I saw them. That is not okay. And I’m not about to wait another two years before I get the chance to see them again.
Update: I did it! I ended up having THREE other shows I wanted to be at the night of my local Rise Against show, but I’m weak. Round 2 it is.
It was only an extra $5 to get a Skip the Line Pass, so I did that. I was in the pit for the Philly show, so if I was gonna do it again, I needed a barricade experience. Automatic barricade for $5? Yes, please. It’s $400 to guarantee barricade for Green Day. There’s a big difference.
So I got to the venue around 4pm and had absolutely no problem getting the perfect spot. Front row center.
Before doors, I heard two young girls in line behind me talking.
“I like sitting quietly and watching a show.”
This is not the show for you, honey boo.
It was 95 degrees in Concord. Barely 45 minutes away from San Francisco, where it was only 65 degrees, and there was a 30 degree temperature difference. I was heckin’ confused. And dying. But it was worth it.
There was a girl next to me on the barricade who was SERIOUSLY dying though. I couldn’t tell by looking at her, but she had to peace out from dehydration before Frank Iero even hit the stage.
Oh yeah, instead of Three Trapped Tigers at this show, it was Frank Iero and the Patience. Yes, the guy from My Chemical Romance.
One of the security guys came up to the group of girls on the barricade and told us to hold on for dear life during the show so we don’t get busted teeth from crowdsurfers.
1) Not my first rodeo.
2) You could just like…catch the crowdsurfers? So they don’t kill us? Maybe?
Thankfully they did a good job during the show, though. I only got crushed by security guy stomach once, and of course, my first thought was that if I have to die by security guy stomach, it had better be Jason’s. Jason being a COTF and one of my favorite humans who works security at Jones Beach in New York. But he’s not in California, so I better not be dying tonight.
Frank Iero & the Patience
It blows my mind that Frank Iero’s fans were teenage girls when I was a teenage girl, and now, ten+ years later, his fans are STILL teenage girls. How does that work?! Where did you even come from?!
He still sounded very MCR, which is totally not a bad thing. I much preferred this set as opposed to the one I saw at Riot Fest last year. Death Spells I think was the name of that project. That one was weird, but Frank Iero and the Patience just brought me back to middle school a bit. I can dig it.
The one big downside to his performance though, was that his mic was too low. I hate when I can’t hear the lyrics. I don’t know the songs obviously, but I’d still like to make out what he’s saying.
After the dehydrated girl left the barricade, another one had taken her place. She looked pretty young and told everyone in our general vicinity before the show started, “I’m just here for Frank.” But then she sings nothing? And doesn’t dance? And it seems like she doesn’t know his music at all? I’m so confused. And then she left the barricade to try to go find him? Like in the crowd? What is even happening right now? Are you even really a fan? I know I shouldn’t judge, but… if my sister were present, I think she’d be shouting “FAKE FAN!” right about now.
I mean, I still like them to a certain extent, but I think it was more entertaining watching Biz in Philly. I didn’t really have any Thrice fans near me that I saw, so I couldn’t even people-watch fans enjoying themselves.
Although I do need to give them a chance for real. I wish I knew more of their music before seeing them.
Despite the warning from the security guy about potentially losing teeth, the barricade was actually pretty calm. Up until about halfway through the show when obnoxious people started shoving their way to the front.
There was one guy in particular we tried to get taken out by security. Yeesh. That’s never fun.
Watching from the barricade is a much different experience. This time I got to take in all the background scenes and the band members themselves.
I adore Tim McIlrath. I absolutely do. So much. Ugh my heart.
Here’s a fun story:
I once met Rise Against at a record store signing in Boston. I told Tim, “Hi I love you,” and he said, “I love you, too.” The end. Great story, right? I’ve been told it’s a better love story than Twilight.
Tim stood on the barricade at the end of “Give It All” just as he did in Philly, but this time I was right there. I wasn’t close enough to the middle at this point (because people shoved, ya know) so I couldn’t touch him, but he was RIGHT THERE.
I decided during “Survive” that it might actually be my favorite song on the setlist. I’m glad puking didn’t ruin it for me this time.
Being able to see everything was nice. There was a cartoon on the TV screens during “Wolves,” which I loved, and there were a few different giant banner images. First was an image of the Wolves cover, and then midway through the set it change to a huge text that said RISE.
Tim gave a shout out to people in the crowd who kept seeing them and dancing.
He also gave a shout to to Frank before “Satellite.” He said something cheesy about how they’ve crossed paths like satellites a lot, so he’s happy to be touring with him.
Another perk of being in the front: people seem to know the music a lot better here than they did in the pit. I was really happy to be surrounded by Rise Against fans.
Ugh. I just love them so much.
There was so much smoke during “People Live Here.” I definitely did not see any of that in Philly.
I remember thinking toward the end of the night, okay, there are only two songs they haven’t played yet. “Make It Stop” and “Savior.” They close with “Savior” so “Make It Stop” must be next.
They went straight into “Savior.”
What?! They dropped “Make It Stop”?! Rude.
I guess that’s it.
These guys have been one of my favorite bands for the past five years and I’ve only seen them six times now. That doesn’t feel like nearly enough to me. I need another tour pronto.
A bunch of us got taken out of the pit after their set was over. I was one of them. A security guy asked me if I was okay as I walked away from the stage area and the only words I could think to blurt out were, “Yeah, I’m just done!”
I couldn’t do it. I thought about staying in the front for Deftones, but I saw it as a blessing that Rise Against played first. This gave me the perfect out to go get water and not die. So I sat on the lawn and watched a few songs until I had downed a water bottle and peaced out. It was such a different experience watching from the lawn. You don’t realize how big a venue is until you’ve been in both locations. Front and back. This is a friggin big venue.
Philly Deftones pics by Biz