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Bad Religion
with Less Than Jake
March 1, 2002
Verizon Wireless Theater - Houston, TX

Samuel Barker
Senior Editor
Roger of Less Than Jake (picture by Samuel Barker)

The buzz was in the air. Kids were gathered around the entrances at the venue discussing the “reunion” of Bad Religion and Brett Gurewitz. Everyone knew they were going to see the set they have spent years been waiting for. Too bad that wasn’t the case.

The show started with a set from Less Than Jake, who is co-headlining the tour with Bad Religion. As always, Less Than Jake came out the gate running. Roger and Chris were running, jumping, and posing. The set kicked off with “Automatic,” and never looked back.

The joy of having Less Than Jake as a co-headliner is the luxury of a longer set. The weird thing about the set was an absence of the usual craziness of costumes and the roaming of Mr. Skull. This was instead replaced by televisions playing various footage of the band members doing various acts or just colors changing slowly.

Since the band had been off for a while, the fans were treated to a few new songs written during the hiatus. The first of which was “Slow Fuse Burning.” Everyone went wild, happy to hear the some new songs from the band. The other new song was entitled “Plastic Cup Politics.” Everyone went just as hard for that song, taking joy in hearing the new material.

Less Than Jake wasted little time during the set. They said their share of zany banter with audience and kept the vibe friendly, but they filled their hour set with 16 songs.

After a rather extended break, Bad Religion took the stage. During set up people were commenting on the fact that only two guitar amps were on the stage, but they never expected Brett to no show the tour. Well, it happened.

Greg Gaffin of Bad Religion (picture by Samuel Barker)

Bad Religion came out with strong energy and the crowd responded for the most part, but upon seeing at the end of song number one that Brett Gurewitz wasn’t on the stage. This led to a lot of people screaming “Where’s Brett?” throughout the night. This really put a downward spiral on the energy of the audience and the vibe of the set.

The attending members of Bad Religion tore through the set with ferocity and never looked back or showed annoyance with the chants. However, one couldn’t help but notice the steady line of people heading home after realizing Brett stayed home.

Personally, the musicians who attended the show weren’t as important as the songs that were played. Bad Religion did a great job of playing crowd favorites such as “21st Century Digital Boy” and “You.” The set was filled with classic punk rock, newer favorites, and the occasional filler song.

The night was full of high energy music played by people who knew how to rock, but the absence of one ex-member led to an feeling of disappointment that was irreversible. In the end, just enjoy the songs you came to see, don’t bank on seeing a single person who will just play guitar anyway.

Less Than Jake Set List: Automatic, Gainesville Rock City, Flag, Jen, Short Fuse Burning, Motto, History, Doug, Nervous, Mark Cruse, Johnny Quest, Plastic Cup Politics, Look What Happened, Liberty City, Help/Save, All My Best Friends Are Metal Heads

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