Due to the siren vocals of Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath getting strained, the band had to cancel their Austin and Houston dates on their tour to promote their new album Appeal To Reason. Interscope’s melodic hardcore puppets were unable to stop their tourmates (The Gaslight Anthem, Thrice, and Alkaline Trio) from giving their Austin fans the show that they deserved.
The original show with Rise Against as the headliner was supposed to take place at Austin Music Hall which has a capacity of up to 4,400 people. The last-minute show was moved to Red 7 which has a capacity of 500 people.
News spread around Austin the day before the show, so many fans of these bands had no idea of the change until it was too late. My brother informed me late into the night before the show. We made sure to show up to Red 7 earlier than usual. The doors opened at 6PM, and the show was scheduled to begin at 7PM. We arrived a little after 5PM, and the line had around started to wrap around the block. We finally ended up in the venue half past six.
I listened to The Gaslight Anthem on the inside stage from the outside area of Red 7. The band did not have much to offer except for cookie-cutter song-writing to a point where the songs practically sounded the same. They have a cool name but came off like one of those bands that Austin spits out a dime a dozen.
Next up was Thrice. They opened with Firebreather. They played Music Box, which was a pleasure to hear since I haven’t heard them play it in a while. They played a couple energized songs like Betrayal is a Symptom and Blood Clots and Black Holes. When they said they were going to play song by the Beatles, I thought it’d be Eleanor Rigby, but to my surprise, they played a cover of Helter Skelter. They closed with The Earth Will Shake. They left off a bunch of their staples including but not limited to: Deadbolt, Red Sky, and The Artist and the Ambulance.
Dustin asked the audience if the flash photography could stop for a couple songs. (This guy doesn’t use flash when takes pics at shows.) Of course, the audience didn’t listen, and a star-struck d-bag in the audience had to click a few pics with flash.
Alkaline Trio closed off the show. It’s interesting how both bands use a variant of describing “3.” Their set was excellent. They opened with Cringe (surprisingly) followed by Calling All Skeletons. Somewhere in the middle they played Goodbye Forever and rolled it directly into Emma. They closed their set with Radio, which is what they do but they do it well.
The best part of that song is when they stop playing in the right place, and the energized chorus of the crowd chants, “I’ve got a big fat fû¢k!n6 bone to pick with you, my darling.” Pat Skiba’s (He announced to the crowd that’s his new band nickname.*) lyrics are genius. That line from Radio isn’t representative, but trust me on the statement I just made.
The sound engineer did not do a good job representing their sound, but they still played a solid set. The show was like a section of the show they played at the White Rabbit in San Antonio a couple years ago on their Occult Roots tour.
The crowd just didn’t seem to be into the overall show as I was expecting them to be. I noticed the vibes in the venue seemed a little off. The fact that it was planned last minute contributed to the strange crowd of die-hard fans and grapevine listeners. The vibes came off as some sort of secret show that not everyone who was planning on attending the original show with Tim & Co. would be able to attend this show. The potential energy was not going to completely convert into the kinetic energy from all of the fans that could have been at the show.
Tim needs to learn how to channel his energy to his voice better. He must have been consumed in the passion in his music when he finally did a number on his voice, but he should also realize that he’s a working professional in the industry and cancelling a couple big shows on the account that his moneymaker went out is bad news. The least they could have done was go on with show and play an acoustic set. Maybe it would not had gone over so well, but it couldn’t have been any worse than what they actually did in cancelling altogether.
I’m a much bigger fan of Thrice and Alkaline Trio, and they both have parts in many of their songs where they belt out in powerful screams. You can notice when Matt can’t do the loud cries sometimes, but the audience has his back. Dustin was given a gift in how he screams. Tim, ask Dustin what his secret is.
Rise Against let a bunch of their Texas fans down, but at least they apologized through their MySpace profile moderator. A personal apology on a MySpace blog or their official web site would have been the more professional action to take, but I guess Interscope is a bridge that controls them from truly reaching out to their fans with a personal touch other than their lyrics that have plateaued.
Anyway, it was great to see two of my most favorite bands play a show together in a cozy venue. I’m glad it was not completely cancelled, and I look forward to see Thrice and Alkaline Trio again next year.
*He was joking, of course.