Rise Against: Christmas in Texas

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“No one is going to bed tonight until there’s a circle pit out there!” Tim yelled out at the crowd early on in their set. Rise Against was cordially invited to play the annual How the Edge Stole Christmas Festival in Dallas, Tx this past week. Co-heading the event was Rise Against and Weezer. The venue holds close to 6,300 people and I don’t know the exact ticket count, but there was well over 3,000 people sitting in the balconies and crammed into the pit that night. 

The moment the lights went down the entire venue went up in a roar as the members of Rise Against sprinted out to their places on stage. These guys are always full of energy and happiness, and it’s guaranteed to highlight someone’s day every time. I have to admit, it was a little weird seeing them in a massive indoor venue when I remember their days of Warped Tour. It’s amazing how far they have come, not to mention the fact that their music has been consistent in genre and theme since 2001. 

Behind the band on stage was a backdrop with The Black Market’s cover on it (their most recent CD release). Joe and his drum set were set up between a massive stage set up that included 15 foot letters to spell out their slogan “RISE” and were lit with color changing LEDs that changed throughout the duration of the night’s set. I say slogan because the band’s name is so much more than just a simple title. It embodies everything they stand for and everything portrayed in their lyrics. “Rise” is such a powerful word and it continues to encourage the common man to rise above and rise against.

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Tim McIlrath (vocals),  Joe Prircipe (bass), Zach Blair (guitar), and Brandon Barnes (drums) make one of the best four pieces in pop punk music today. Not only has Tim been the front man since the beginning, he has been the foundation for the guitars. A singer/songwriter/guitarist is one of the truest signs of a strong and talented band. Joe has been at Tim’s side since the band started in 1999. He puts on a killer show; like it’s the most effortless thing in the entire world. Brought on in the era of The Sufferer & the Witness, Zach fits into the band no less than perfect. Zach and Joe are always running back and forth on stage, switching sides, and always hanging out with Brandon in the back. I love the fact that both of them take their time from the front of the stage to go back and jam with Brandon. 

In a world of Facebook notifications and fake articles spreading the web like wildfire, most Millennials take way more time than needed with their phone at most rock concerts. Hell, even my mom was recording songs half the night when we went to see one of her favorite artists. The era of phones is here to stay. You’re thinking, yeah what’s your point? You KNOW it’s a killer show when there are more fists in the air than brightly lit screens hovering above everyone’s heads. It reminded me of being at Warped Tour with how many of the kids were crowd surfing and how many phones I didn’t see. This is something I wish would happen more at every show I attend!

By the end of their set, the room temperature had soared due to how much activity was going on in the pit and throughout the rest of the seats. For a comparison on how stoked everyone was for Rise Against… when Weezer entered the stage and began the beginning of their set the crowd the crowd was nothing like it was for Rise Against. Rise Against isn’t an easy band to follow.




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