Gig Review

Rise Against
Thursday, Poison The Well
Brixton, Academy
21st November 2009
Photo Of Poison The Well © Copyright Joseph StephensIt might be a windy and exceedingly wet night in Brixton, but that hasn’t stopped the queue outside the Academy stretching well into the hundreds even hours before doors are due to open. The reason, however, is simple: Rise Against are in town, and they’ve brought their friends with them.

Despite hordes of people still filing in from the great British weather outside, Poison the Well take to the stage and soon get the ever-expanding crowd going. With their short set heavy on material from latest album ‘The Tropic Rot’ the Florida hardcore mob live up to their reputation as a fearsome live act, taking some of the more unsuspecting members of the crowd by surprise. Frontman Jeff Moreira stalks the stage like a school bully patrolling a playground, looking for the next section of the audience at which to aim his fearsome growl, while his bandmates provide suitably ferocious backing. Though their time to impress is short, it’s clear that they have made a considerable impact on the watching throng.

Like Poison the Well, Thursday waste no time in getting the greatly enlarged crowd onside. Bursting on to the stage, the band’s enthusiasm and energy immediately transfers to the audience, with singer Geoff Rickly especially eager to get up close and personal with those watching. As they launch into ‘Understanding in a Car Crash’ everyone in the Academy is already hanging on Rickly’s every word and, as if that wasn’t enough, a surprise appearance from Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath to join Rickly on vocals for ‘Resuscitation of a Dead Man’ raises the volume inside the packed venue even higher. The only real disappointment of Thursday’s set is that it lasts just half an hour – but it’s half an hour that is sure to live long in the memory.

Photo Of Thursday © Copyright Joseph StephensAny disappointment is soon forgotten, though, because tonight Rise Against seem to be on a mission to prove why tonight’s gig is a near-5,000 sell-out. They don’t need to, of course – in the decade since they formed few bands have toured harder or put more effort into their art, but that doesn’t stop the four-piece playing as if this show could be their last. No album is left untouched as the band make the most of an extensive back catalogue, yet despite the brilliance of older tracks like ‘Blood-Red, White and Blue’ and ‘State of the Union’ it’s songs from Rise Against’s latest album, ‘Appeal to Reason’, which are greeted with the biggest cheers and most exuberant singalongs over the course of the evening.

As finely crafted as the songs are, though, tonight is all about the energy that Rise Against put into their performance. McIlrath is rarely stood in the same spot for more than a few seconds, even when playing his guitar and singing at the same time, while guitarist Zach Blair and bass player Joe Principe leap into the air and swap sides of the stage innumerably. The sheer effort put into the show isn’t lost on the audience, who echo McIlrath’s words down to the last syllable. Even when the frontman pauses between songs to speak with the crowd, he is stopped mid-sentence by 5,000 voices cheering and hollering their support for whatever it is he might have been about to say. Rise Against have been banging away for a long time but, if tonight’s showing is anything to go by, it seems as though people are really starting to listen.

Review By Joseph Stephens

 Rise Against

Tim McIlrath
Joe Principe
Brandon Barnes
Zach Blair


Geoff Rickly
Tom Keeley
Tim Payne
Tucker Rule
Steve Pedulla
Andrew Everding

 Poison The Well

Jeffrey Moreira
Ryan Primack
Chris A. Hornbrook
Bradley Grace
Brad Clifford

 Band Related Links
Rise Against Myspace
Thursday Myspace
Poison The Well Myspace
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?