29-02-12

And now for something completely different.

Hey guys, guess what?! I went to a rock show. A legitimate rock show. It was insane. In different ways. Here's the story.

My destination was the Ancienne Belgique (AB) in Brussels. A mega big venue, fit for rock shows. I've only been there one other time, for Broadway Calls/Alkaline Trio a couple years ago and that was fine. That was a punkrock show. But this was different. I arrived on the corner and saw all these people standing outside. Well, I'll be damned. I had to fucking wait in line to get in. It was like in the movies! Super bummed of course, what the fuck was up with that.
Anyway, I got in after a few minutes of waiting. I showed my ticket, everything alright. I walk up and what the flying fuck, I'm being checked. Like, the patdown they do on the airport. Holy smokes, guys, I though I was going to a rock show, not another continent. My bag's checked as well cause god forbid if I'd brought a drink in. I'd bring the whole place down to bankrupcy. Fucking hell.
I'm finally inside of the venue and I realise why they check people for drinks. Drinks at the bar were fucking € 2,5 a piece. I can have a nice pizza for the price! I'm not a cheap prick but that's a bit much, no? Another impression was the Rise Against merch guy. I think he used to be a marketcramer (dutchism) because he was all yelling and selling t-shirts for 20 fucking euros. The fuck. At this stage I was almost regretting I ever came to a rock show in the first place. It's not my natural habitat. I had no company either, like a lot of times but it's pretty hard to meet people when there's 2000 of 'em, it's pretty hard to find people who you know are there to chat a bit, the show sold out in like 2 hours so some of my buds didn't get a ticket, and it's downright impossible to just sit at the bar and drink because I'll go out flat broke. I don't care about going to shows by myself, but it's pretty silly at such rock shows.
Anyway, cool thing about rock shows: they're organized damn swell. "19h15: first band" You can count on it. So no running late and ultimately missing some band because you need to catch a train. Nope, that was good.

Now, for the fun part of the evening: the bands. First up was one of my favourite bands nowadays: Touché Amoré. It's a complete enigma how they got on that tour but I'm stoked for them they get such a chance. I talked to their singer, Jeremy, for a minute after the show and he was also completely confused.
The show, as said, started at 19h15 and they blasted right into it with a song I didn't expect (i.e. not ~ or And Now It's Happening In Mine) but I don't remember which one. They were tight. They were amazing. Played through almost all of their songs in half an hour. Song by song they got me singing along, being glad to see 'em. It was intense. Of course, the entire stage was about as big as the venues they normally play, but that didn't affect their performance. They played a new song and that was probably the best part of the entire set. Epic, a long song for their standards and it got me goosebumps. "At least I tried." Wow. Then they raged through another batch of songs from both their albums and finished in style with Honest Sleep, something I did expect. What an amazing song, what an amazing band.
The 'kids' had no idea they had just seen the best band of the evening.

The next band was Architects. I had seen them at Ieperfest 2009 and I guess I though they were alright. So I was up for checking it out. Well, I guess 18-year old me was a silly fuck because holy smokes that was pretty bad. So I can be short about Architects: "not my thing".

The last band was Rise Against. They are a popular band now. I mean, they'd gotten pretty popular when they signed to Geffen for Siren Song I guess, but it seems to me Appeal To Reason and Endgame (for the people who stopped caring: those are the last 2 records) skyrocketed them into mainstreamspace. They played Rock Werchter, they have music videos and they can pull off selling shirts for 20 euros to hundreds of 'kids' (I saw an abundance of Rise Against shirts, it was almost sickening). I used to have 2 Rise Against shirts actually, but I gave them to a kid who started liking them more than me. He was also at the show but I didn't find him so that was a bummer.
Anyway, With the full Belgian Rise Against 'community' shouting 10 minutes before they had to play, the atmosphere was set. I was at an official, all-round, banal rock fucking show. People had the band shirts, they had banner AND I EVEN SAW GIRLS WITH SELF -MADE TANKTOPS AND WITH "<3 RISE AGAINST" FUCKING WRITTEN ON THEIR FUCKING ARMS LIKE THEY WERE FUCKING JUSTIN BIEBER. What the fuck. I don't have business with what the fans do but that was plain ridiculous. I'm pretty bummed I didn't see any boob flashes though.
As for the show: it was alright. Sure, they didn't play really tight. Sure, Tim's voice isn't what it used to be. Sure, the new songs all sound boring as hell. But it striked me better than expected. Vocals were really alright for me, Joe Principe is a hero and I'd sing along to the songs from The Sufferer & The Witness, aka "The album that's an exact copy of Siren Song Of The Counter Culture" aka "the album from when on they shamelessly started making the same record over and over again". Rise Against is now a rock band trying to write punkrock songs. It's a shame.
The setlist was a drag, they played Broken English off of Revolutions Per Minute, the only song of that record in the entire 1,5 hour set, 3 song off of Siren Song and a whole bunch of new stuff everybody was excited about except for me and a couple other 20-somethings probably. I was also really scared that, when he got out his acoustic guitar he'd play Hero Of Warn cause I resolutely don't like that song, but then he played the first few noted of Swing Life Away And I was all...
They rattled through a bunch of other songs that were alright and finished the night with Give It All. I think. No encores, that was good. Unless they would have played an encore of, say, Halfway There, Tip The Scales and Blood-Red White And Blue*. But no. Let me be clear, it was not a bad show, I quite enjoyed it, bif it wasn't for Touché Amoré I had never gone to the show. I'll leave it for the 'kids'. The "punk rock" 'kids'.

Got back to the station alright and took the train back. I listened to Nerf Herder and thought about how I'd gladly pay 25 euros to just see them.
Note to Rise Against: next time, take Nerf Herder on tour (although that'd be difficult, since they're not quite touring anymore).
Note to Rise Against fans: get a clue.

* I almost jizzed my pants just thinking about that.

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