The sea of fans flowed into Margaret Court Arena for a night of moshing and madness, the security checks on entrance becoming the new normal at gigs as we were wanded and waved through.
Our offerings in the support department were Pagan and Bare Bones, both sensational warm ups for the main event, and an awesome platform to gain a new following. Many punters had turned up early which is always the case in Melbourne, we love our live music and are always supportive to new bands rising through the ranks.
The fans flooded the floor and it became the proverbial sardine tin, with fans packed tighter than I have ever seen. I pitied any punter who dropped their phone or the like as there was no room to move for retrieval. To my amazement as the lights dropped the masses surged forward, packed tighter than I imagined was humanly possible as Chamber the Cartridge rang out. The fans went crazy, and instantly a mosh pit formed front and centre. The sweaty participants losing their minds in the craziness that only a mosh can deliver. Give It All saw singer Tim McIIrath take to the crowd and balance on the fans as he finished out the song, an awesome interaction before he quickly jumped back up on stage and launched into The Violence from the latest album Wolves. It was around now that the first casualty of the mosh was carried past me, she seemed bent but not broken and I am sure she will return to slam again in no time.
Sensational lighting set the tone for the stage as these seasoned professionals worked their way through the hits of their extensive history together. Tim singing through a megaphone and twirling his microphone, making it look like child’s play, his contact with the fans was fantastic and he was truly humbled by their adoration. The Good Left Undone and Collapse both whipping the fans into a frenzy, with plastic cups and jumpers being hurled skywards as they spiralled into overdrive. Drummer Brandon Barnes was a machine and kept the night running like clockwork, his precision drumming bang on all night.
I was a bit miffed as we went to complete black out, people started murmuring, looking around unsure what was happening, then from out of nowhere Tim popped up at the sound desk on a small stage, just a guy and his guitar to treat us to three acoustic gems. While all were amazing the standout was definitely Hero of War, its poignant lyrics sending shivers though the arena. Beautifully emotive as the singing from the crowd echoed Tim himself, it’s message not lost and one that will stay with me for a very long time. Tim also took the time to thank his fans for coming, thanking those who have had to travel and just being grateful to us all. Musicians could definitely take a leaf from his book in showing appreciation to the fans it was a fabulous gesture.
Back to the main stage and super shredder Zach Blair was in fine form as they jumped into Help Is On The Way, add to the mix bass player Joe Principe who is the glue that makes this tight knit unit so bloody awesome and you have Rise Against at their finest. Wolves, the title track from the album of the same name was killer, followed closely by Satellite which nearly blew the roof off Margaret Court. As the band retreated for a brief reprieve the fans started chanting for one more song and their wishes were granted with the final song of the night, Savior. The perfect finisher as the hoards lost their minds one last time. Then add to that yet another terrific fan experience with the guys passing out the set-lists, picks and drum sticks to the fans, shaking hands and high fiving as they left the stage.
This show delivered from start to finish, no stone was left unturned, they were the ultimate professionals on every level, and as the fans filed out into the fresh air I have no doubt they would be back again in a heartbeat should the opportunity arise.
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale