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w/ Rise Against
March 23, 2002
Fitzgerald's - Houston, TX

Samuel Barker
Senior Editor
Rise Against (photo by: Samuel Barker)

Some of the best shows in the world are only seen by a few people. There are numerous bands out there who never get a large audience, but still pour everything they have out for the few who are lucky enough to wander into the show. This night was a perfect example.

I arrived as Rise Against was getting ready to begin. Having seen this band before, I knew I could expect a quality showing from them. I was also intrigued to see they had added a new guitarist to the band.

As the lights dimmed, Rise Against wasted no time getting the show going, vocalist Tim McIlrath introduced the band and they went into "Stained Glass and Marble." The small crowd responded by running in unison and thrashing about. It was refreshing to see a young crowd willing to give as much as a band on stage, especially a band who isnít the headliner.

Bassist Joe Principe jumped around while McIlrath catered to the crowd by letting them sing along. McIlrath even took a few moments to gets some high air off of the bass drum to emphasize the urgence of the music.

Despite playing to a crowd of 50 kids, Rise Against gave it their all and left nothing behind. They even changed up their set list to accommodate the group of hardcore fans in the front. A good example of something found only in the independent music scene, mutual respect between audience and band.

The next, and final, band of the night was Los Angeles based hardcore band, Strife. I had never seen this band before, but was blown away nonetheless.

From the opening chord, the set was shear insanity, but what could you expect from a band that hasnít toured for the past four years. Fittingly, the band opened with "Rise Again," and the fans responded by singing in unison with lead vocalist, Rick Rodney.

The insanity continued as Rodney, during "Untitled," threw his microphone into the audience and allowed the crowd to sing for him. Then after a few moments, he dove in to sing with them. After a minute of screaming into the mic, the sound came to an end, the mic cord had broken. Not the be easily defeated, Rodney jumped on stage and pushed guitarist, Andrew Klineís, microphone into the audience.

Combine this energy with a set list of crowd favorites and one is left only to enjoy what they have seen. The small population punk show is something that should be experienced often, itís good to get back to the roots of music. Come to the pit, youíre always welcome.


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