During "Like the Angels", a wheelchair attendee crowdsurfed across the venue to a roaring applause. Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath couldn't help but join in on the congratulatory celebration. Even though the Chicago punk band have traveled the world for 15 years, moments like
Rise Against made their way to the Garden State for the first time since their 2012 trek with A Day to Remember, and the packed house, which featured some folks that drove from Philadelphia, were eager to catch the band in action. With the word "Rise" spelled out in glowing letters on stage, the band kicked off their set with "Ready to Fall" from their 2006 album The Sufferer & The Witness before Tim made his way to the barricade for "Give It All", their first track to make it onto the U.S. rock charts. With so many hits to choose from, the band gave their new album The Black Market, which debuted at number three on the Billboard Top 200, some time on their set with the single "I Don't Want To Be Here Anymore".
Tim dedicated "Alive and Well" from their debut album The Unraveling to New York City hardcore band Sick of it All, who took the band on tour with them over a decade ago (Rise Against would return the favor by bringing them on the road a couple years ago). The vocalist, along with guitarist Zach Blair , engaged in an short acoustic encore, which included the frontman breaking his string during "People Live Here". For their second finale, Rise Against jammed through "Make It Stop (September's Children)" and "Savior", which featured a hefty extended bridge packed with solos.
Touche Amore brought a ton of passion to their 40 minute set, but the crowd weren't that concerned. The band's set was mostly split between their 2011 release Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me and last year's follow up Is Survived By, but they did manage to bring the opening ("And Now It's Happening in Mine") and closing ("Adieux") tracks from their debut album To the Beat of a Dead Horse. While most of the crowd gave a pretty lukewarm reaction to the band, there was a small group of folks bouncing around in the front. Jeremy mentioned the evolution of the New Jersey music scene ("From Springsteen to Thursday") before dedicated their final track "~" to New Jersey indie rock duo The Front Bottoms.
Opening the night were Missouri punk act Radkey , who we managed to catch at the 2012 Afropunk Festival. The trio of brothers have been making huge moves in the U.K with performances at the Download Festival and strong press from NME. Bassist Isaiah Radke, who hopped around all night, nonchalantly introduced each song ("This song is called "Red Letter", and it's a fucking song") , while guitarist Dee Radke channeled Glenn Danzig with his vocal delivery. The band's sound and overall stage presence has grown tremendously over the years. Ending their set with the arena ready punk number "Romance Dawn", Radkey are further solidifying that their time isn't running out. They've only just begun. (Terrance Pryor)