In the midst of their summer tour, Rise Against performs a high-energy, unforgettable show in the heart of Oklahoma City at The Criterion.
Senses Fail started the evening by walking out to a distorted, convoluted backing track of the famous song “Jack and Diane” before joining in with their instruments and beginning their song “Rum Is For Drinking Not For Burning.” The band came out dapperly dressed, and with high energy. The singer swung his microphone around skillfully, creating an exciting spectacle for concertgoers. They announced that they have just released a new album in mid-July, titled Hell is in Your Head. The third song they played was called “End of the World/A Game of Chess” and is from their latest album. Singer, Buddy Nielson, explains that he wrote this song about generational trauma. This is the first song of the evening that features Nielson’s screaming abilities. They end their set with a compilation of heavy-hitting fragments of covers, featuring “Down With The Sickness” by Disturbed, “Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit, and “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine.
Second to take the stage is the legendary emo band, The Used. Their stage was adorned with a pride flag as a major focal point, and a scarf hanging from the singer’s microphone that read “Palestine.” They began their set by hitting on some nostalgia and playing some older hits, “Maybe Memories,” “Take It Away,” and “The Bird and the Worm.” When they got into their fourth song, “Sound Effects and Overdramatics,” mosh pits erupted all across the crowd. Following this song, Bert McCracken invited a kid named Zander, a lucky concertgoer, on stage to rock out with the band for the next couple of songs. During their performance of “Blow Me,” the band stopped playing mid-song because they thought there was an altercation going on in the crowd. However, it turns out that a fan had exposed themselves. The band expressed their distaste for having to stop their set due to this. Following this song, Bert took a moment to talk about their upcoming album. He stated that it would not be a happy record, but that it would be an emo record. The band revealed their new backdrop for the upcoming record, which is the first-ever reveal of the backdrop. At one point in the evening, Bert had the crowd break out into a circle pit while he recited a soliloquy from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. This led into the song “Blood on My Hands.” They ended their set with “A Box Full of Sharp Objects,” which featured an intro riff and chorus from Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
Rise Against wasted no time delivering some of their most popular hits. They started with “Prayer of the Refugee,” “The Violence,” and “Satellite.” Throughout their set, Rise Against was illuminated by an immaculate light show. Flashing lights, complex overlaps of red and white, and a large backdrop displaying their logo made for striking visuals. It was apparent that the audience consisted of die-hard Rise Against fans, as they knew every word to each song. Following the intro to each song, the crowd would let out thunderous applause in approval, proving that the setlist was well thought-out and included all the hits that would be expected at a Rise Against show.
One notable song from the evening was “I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore,” which vocalist, Tim McIlrath, said was for their good friends in Senses Fail. Towards the end of the song, Tim stopped to speak of the weight of the lyrics and how they relate to everybody in some way. He encouraged the crowd to sing along to the rest of the song loudly with him, to which the crowd happily obliged. At one point in the evening, Tim talks about how Rise Against writes songs about revolution, and how revolution does not include racism, sexism, or homophobia. Their impactful, poetic lyrics support this.
Their powerful set was thirteen songs long and ended with an encore consisting of “Survive” and “Savior.” Fans were ecstatic to hear these two tracks being included in the encore, as they were excitedly waiting to hear them all night.
Rise Against is in the middle of their summer tour which will end on August 18th. Tickets for the remaining dates are selling quickly, so don’t miss your opportunity to see this killer line-up.Words by: Mallory Forsgren
Photos by: Tyler Williams