This just in: Nothing Beats A Punk/Hardcore Show
After going and seeing Rise Against, A Day To Remember and opening act Title Fight, this statement could not be made truer. Being a veteran of metal shows, I had expected things to be at least a little intense. Boy was I right. So after a great night at San Jose State University, here we go:
Pre-show: Hours And Hours In The Sun
10 AM – 6 PM was spent in the sun in front of the college’s event center, with not much activity really until somewhere between 5 and 6. There was a group of people that had been there since 5 AM though. That’s dedication if you ask me. Or maybe it’s just insane. Is there really a difference to fans? Oh, and a few of us actually met A Day To Remember. They were out back making fun of these frat guys across the street, and let us take some pictures with them. Overall they seemed to be pretty chill guys. Gonna lie and say that I wasn’t a little bit starstruck upon meeting them.
Opening Act: Title Fight
After being let into the building, we proceeded to have to sit on the hard floor for about another hour before the first band was ready to play. Title Fight is a band from Kingston, PA, and they sound, for the most part, like Strike Anywhere (just not as good). Either their equipment wasn’t set up right, or maybe they just aren’t good live in an open space, but I just really didn’t enjoy their 7 song set. The rest of the crowd seemed to enjoy it though, and most of them knew the lyrics (which for the most part were completely undecipherable), so at least they had some support. And they did a pretty ok job at getting crowd built up. Definitely my least favorite part of the night’s show, aside from the sunburn on my neck.
Transition 1: The Only One Worth Mentioning
And I say it’s the only one worth mentioning because the entire arena had a giant sing-a-long to System Of A Down’s “Chop Suey!” when it came on over the PA. Probably on of the greatest things I’ll ever experience, and one of the best moments of the night.
Second Band: A Day To Remember
We saw the setlist in advance, but it still didn’t prepare us for them opening with the song that’s basically become their calling card, “Downfall Of Us All”. Introducing beach balls to the crowd was a nice touch too. Their set was about 13 songs, took material from 3 of their 4 albums, blended it together amazingly, and resulted in rolls of toilet paper fly around, balloons falling from the rafters, the most extreme crowd surfing I’ve ever seen, and sing Jeremy McKinnon crawling inside of a giant hamster ball and rolling around on top of the crowd. Biggest crowd reactions were to “Downfall Of Us All”, “All Signs Point To Lauderdale”, and “The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle” (which was an almost perfect way to end the set). The band loves to involve the crowd, and apparently Gumby joins them on tour…
Headline Act: Rise Against
Surprise surprise, they got the biggest reaction of the night. After not playing at SJSU for something like 10 years, the fans welcomed them back with open arms. With a 14 song set, a 4 song encore, and multiple video screens, they put on one DAMN good song. I actually had to leave the crowd for the set, and watched from the bleachers for a good portion of it. They had the crowd so riled up it was borderline dangerous. But it was also absolutely amazing. They played everything you’d expect them to, and more! Sure, they only played 2 of my 5 favorites, but after watching that performance, it doesn’t even matter. The mixture was great. While the rest of the band took a break, singer/guitarist Tim McIllrith brought out an acoustic guitar and treated us to an acoustic version of “Audience Of One” and the timeless classic “Swing Life Away”. Biggest crowd reactions were to “Re-Education (Through Labour), “Prayer Of The Refugee”, and “Give It All”
Overall: Best Show I’ve Been To
Previously that ranking went to Atreyu, but after this, it’s not even a question anymore. Anyone who wants to go see a great show, see either of the big bands immediately. And maybe see Title Fight if you like Strike Anywhere. Maybe.