Rise Against, 02 Academy, Birmingham

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18 years in to their career, and Rise Against come back to the UK to prove that they are still as powerful as ever.

With their UK tour kicking off at the o2 Academy Birmingham, we were lucky enough to catch the chaos as it happened.

Opening up the evening was punk band Pears, who have got to be one of the craziest live bands out there. Before the first note had even been played, frontman Zach Quinn had already taken his shirt off, suggesting that things were about to get sweaty. A fun and interesting start to the evening, Pears are definitely a band to catch if you ever get the chance.

Continuing the evening was the highly anticipated Sleeping With Sirens. As a distinctive amount of the bands t-shirts could be seen among the hundreds of Rise Against merchandise, it was clear that Sleeping With Sirens still have the same loyal following that they accumulated when they first started back in 2008. A chorus of screams could be heard as the band walked on to the stage, and the band impressively smashed out an array of old songs and new in the half hour slot they had allocated. Frontman Kellin Quinn voice was still as definitive as ever, as was his impressive vocal range. There was never a dull moment watching the pop-rock quintet, as even guitarist Nick Martin went for a wonder around the venue!

As the wait for Rise Against shortened, the buzz of excitement grew. As the lights went off, the screens came on to show animations in almost a story like form. This just made the audience more excited, as roars and cheers became louder and louder. As the band came out, it was instant go time, as they hit straight in to Chamber the Cartridge. Constant movement around the stage, it was safe to say that Rise Against were ready to put on an impressive performance.

“We’re excited to be playing our new stuff in Birmingham for the first time!” frontman Tim McIlrath exclaims, and was responded with another large round of cheers. There wasn’t one moment where any of the band members looked as though they were bored, as each one had a large smile plastered on their face at any given moment. It’s truly a spectacle to watch when a band puts as much energy as they can in to their live shows, the moment that they really connect with their music and their fans.

As the night progressed, fans were treated to a different variety of old hits and new bangers. Prayer of the Refugee got one of the bigger reactions of the evening, before the band walked off, and McIlrath entered with an acoustic guitar. “This, has definitely been the perfect way to kick off the UK leg of this tour” he claims, as he begins to play Swing Life Away.

After McIlrath powered through People Live Here and Hero of War on acoustic, the rest of the band had slowly joined back on stage. The band took a moment to look out to the audience, before McIlrath dedicated Survive to Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington. “And to us, the survivors”. An emotional and raw performance that had the audience singing at the top of their lungs.

After then powering through Wolves and Give It All, it was time to bring the main set to a close. As the crowd begged for more, the band graciously came on for the encore, performing Audience of One and, of course, Saviour.

Rise Against are a band that have truly proven they have every right to be where they are. The whole night was high-energy start to finish, and Rise Against really outdid themselves.


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