Reviews

A Day to Remember + Rise Against: 5 May 2012 - Cincinnati, OH

A Day to Remember

The same thing that makes the bill of A Day to Remember and Rise Against odd, also serves as an opportunity for a rather interesting shared experience.

Rise Against

A Day to Remember + Rise Against

City: Cincinnati, OH
Venue: Riverbend Music Center
Date: 2012-05-05

More than a few eyebrows were raised late last year when tour plans were announced involving the pairing of Chicago punk rock act Rise Against and Ocala metalcore band A Day to Remember. Certainly, both bands stood to benefit from the sheer enormity of the ensuing crowds that would flock to each date along with the opportunity to gain new followers from each other’s rabid fan-bases, but there was a strangeness surrounding the coupling of two bands with such differing voices. That peculiar feeling fades away quickly, however, when thrust into the experience itself. Somehow, this mixture of bro-core revelry and punk rock activism manages to blend in more ways than you might expect.

There’s no such thing as a casual Rise Against fan – if you’re a fan of this band, you’re all in. That concept actually makes quite a bit of sense when you consider the band’s outspoken political and ethical views. Rise Against has made no bones about where they stand on issue ranging from debatable topics such as animal rights (the band are avid supporters of PETA and are all vegan) to more universal claims such as anti-bullying and anti-homophobia (the band’s recent single “Make it Stop [September’s Children] references teen suicides within the LGBT community). The band were also active in the Rock Against Bush campaign during the 2004 election and have regularly voiced their opinions on issues abroad. In short, the band encompasses so many of the underlying values that gave punk a voice in past decades.

Much like Rise Against, A Day to Remember has a rather devout following as well, albeit for different motives. Although their detractors have regularly pointed out the band’s hard-headed insistence on melding pop-punk with hardcore elements into an admittedly strange, yet unique mixture, it’s been that very headstrong mindset that’s made them poster-boys for the current Warped Tour scene. For every person out there who’s yearning to “stand for something” or has “something to prove,” A Day to Remember offers just that opportunity; even better if you can achieve as much while in the mosh-pit as a given song’s breakdown hits its crescendo. Perhaps its best to say that A Day to Remember offers a more open-ended approach to action than Rise Against, just as long as you make sure to stay the hell out of the way.

Due to a sold out, standing-room-only crowd crammed into the amphitheatre setting of Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, OH, the crowd was interspersed evenly with fans of both bands. Everyone in attendance nodded along politely, both to opening act Title Fight and to the Beastie Boys songs played over the speakers in between bands. It didn’t take long for A Day to Remember to change the mood with their signature vocal mimic of the opening breakdown in “The Downfall of Us All” leading into the onslaught of the song itself. The sea of people located in front of the stage would continue to move amoeba-like throughout the entire set. Fans adorning both A Day to Remember and Rise Against attire could be seen stumbling out of the pit in glee for a few moments before diving back in. Many other Rise Against fans with less affinity for bruises could be seen looking on from afar with approval.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing about seeing A Day to Remember in person is that it’s extremely difficult to not enjoy the experience in some form or another without feeling like a complete snob. Even if you’re not into the chugga-chugga drop-D tuned riffage interspersed with lead vocalist Jeremy McKinnon’s snarled verses and poppy choruses, the event is a spectacle in and of itself. Whether it be the band’s full body synchronized head banging, the giant beach balls tossing about the crowd, the delightfully light and playful stage banter, or the undeniable sense of unity amongst the band’s fans, it’s hard to escape how engaging the whole thing is. Whether you’re in attendance to mosh out your anger or bounce about in joy, there’s room inside A Day to Remember’s performance for whatever form your expression takes.

The mood has shifted greatly by the time the lights dim and a video packed to the brim with socio-political clips and narrative begins playing on the screen before Rise Against takes the stage. Aside from a handful of A Day to Remember fans sitting at tables just outside the amphitheatre chattering about the band’s performance, it appears that hardly anyone has headed for the exits. By the time Rise Against lead man Tim McIlrath steps up to the mic, the mayhem has begun again, though this time it is accompanied with pumping fists, stern looks, and a choir of an audience singing along to every word.

Rise Against’s set is focused, rapid-fire, and damn-near technically perfect. Tim McIlrath’s vocals are something you have to hear in person to fully appreciate. Whether the band is playing a newer cut like “Help is on the Way” at full force or playing an older track like “Give it All” during a stripped-down acoustic portion of their set, each song is played with sincerity and urgency. Many of the same fans who were just bouncing blissfully to A Day to Remember have now taken on a more serious and pressing posture toward Rise Against’s songs of action. The band’s set is just as engaging to watch, but for reasons less tangible than stage presence.

Punk fans have a knack for being a bit pretentious (I’m including myself here), which makes situations such as odd band lineups and unlikely collaborations the sort of topics that will stoke a fire for days on any given internet forum. On the other hand, the genre also has lends itself to strong communities of listeners and thinkers alike, offering room for differing ideas, perspectives, and motives. The same thing that makes the bill of A Day to Remember and Rise Against odd, also serves as an opportunity for a rather interesting shared experience.

A Day to Remember:

Rise Against:

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image