Rancid is back on the game... No LEADING the game!


Set 27 2009, 5:01

When bands come to town they seem to come in waves, and always in fall for some reason. Thursday 24 Sep was Rancid, Authority Zero, and Resistor Radio.

I saw Resistor Radio a few months ago when they were here and they're really good, not at all what I'd expect from the "local bands" that usually open shows. It's not going to take long before they get more popular; in concert they have alot of energy and even though they only have one indies EP out (currently unsigned) it's a good disc with some really good music.

I've heard a bit of Authority Zero but always as part of a compilation disc like "Warped Tour '03" or something so I'm not really up on their music. I was amazed! The band has great energy and reminds me of going to shows back around the 1998-2002 timeframe when I was listening to alot of bands like Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly who's music was going from "walk to run".

It made me nostalgic for those days of being 20, in college, spending the nights partying with my friends, and catching punk shows as often as my low paying job would afford me to. And like Less Than Jake, Dropkick Murphys, and Street Dogs it's always great having a lead singer (Jason DeVore) that focuses specifically on singing and getting the crowd riled up. Not that leads with a guitar aren't as good but there's something to be said for climbing around the speaker stacks encouraging the people on the balcony to get moving.

Although as much attention that is paid to the lead singer and guitar players it was the drummer (Jim Wilcox) that I thought was really amazing. People always groove the the guitarists grinding away on the axe but if you watch the energy, speed, and precision that a drummer cranks out during a highspeed song you start to realize how much talent it takes to get a good drummer.

In The Venue isn't being as big of dicks as they have in the past. The bouncers were a bit more relaxed and were helping people have a good time rather than playing the "Respect my Authority" game with the people who paid to be there. Even tossing out bottles of water to the kids in front and in the pit (water which had to be bought in back at the "21 and under" bar near the entrance. Giving water out is probably good insurance against possible lawsuits from kids with heat stroke too but before they seemed comfortable to watch you suffer or add to it.

Rancid was off the Friggin' hook this time. I was a bit critical of them last time they played here because they were so joyless and un-engaging with the crowd. Enough to officially declare they lost the position of my favorite band to Street Dogs.

That tired, old Rancid didn't show up to play this time.

Instead in their place was a powerful veteran Rancid that came in to show everybody why they're arguable once of the most influential punk bands in the 1990's and 2000. Ok, they're a bit past the time where they could climb up and do backflips off the stacks but they could belt out their definitive punk anthems with and energy that shook the walls. And even though Tim and Lars get plenty of acknowledgments it's the bassist Matt Freeman that I think really deserves alot more attention. Bassists and Drummers are often relegated to the background but watching Freeman's technical abilities is amazing at times, keep an eye on his hands when you see these guys and imagine trying to do the same while making it look easy.

There was a good mix of old songs from "...And Out Come the Wolves" for all the causal fans here to see legends, plus a good smattering of songs of the newest album "Let the Dominoes Fall". Tim and Matt's ska influence from "Operation Ivy" showed through at times, plus they slowed it down for a few acoustic songs from the new album (be sure to buy the deluxe version so you get the acoustic disc!).

Alot of my favorite songs from Let the Dominoes fall we're played. "East Bay Night", "Last One to Die", "New Oreleans", and the tribute to the troops (which hits home especially hard for me) "Civilian Ways". Finally after coming back out for the encore Branden Steineckert (drums) came out in a Real Salt Lake football* jersey, probably given to him by the team who had VIP seating for the show. I'm guessing that being born in Provo Utah Branden really is a fan of the team of his home state and not just pandering. Lars came out the San Jose Earthquakes jersey on, obviously staying true to HIS home team. But it's nice that they had some fun with the local football team.

I'm glad that the definitive punk band Rancid can still perform, I was afraid after the last show that they had passed their prime and were in decline. Luckily it seems that they were just having a bad night that one time. Although no matter how they play live Rancid is still one of the few bands that I can quite honestly say that each consecutive album has set the bar higher than the one before it.

CDs Bought:

Authority Zero

I already have all the Rancid CDs.
Although while I'm on the subject I want to mention that Rancid is following the method I recommend for maintaining physical CDs in the digital climate:
-Releasing singles of key songs that will appear in the forth coming album as they're written.
-Then when the album comes out with those singles, plus some new songs (that aren't filler).
-Plus releasing a "Limited Edition" of the album with additional bonus tracks and a DVD of the music videos and/or live footage.

This is why indie labels are maintaining while the dinosaur big four are dying.

*Football being the world famous game played by kicking a BALL with your FOOT. Not the often confused American game "HandEgg" where and EGG shaped ball is carried in a players HAND.


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