Last Night: Bad Religion at House of Blues

Categories: Aftermath

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Photos by Amanda J. Cain
Bad Religion's Greg Graffin
Bad Religion, Polar Bear Club, Dead Rabbits
House of Blues
March 13, 2013

At this point, part of Bad Religion's appeal is their utter reliability. Tour after tour and album after album, the consummate L.A. punks have trained audiences thoroughly to know what to expect from them: chainsaw guitar riffs, pointed social commentary and irony-free live performances.

Thirty-three years later, it can all seem a little routine at times. In practice, though, punk rock and routines rarely coexist for long. Bad Religion's legendary consistency was put to the test by some touring setbacks Wednesday night at House of Blues, but the band displayed the veteran savvy necessary to hang in there and face down a few curveballs without striking out.

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Dead Rabbits
The first big curve was the absence of scheduled tourmates Against Me!, who had to cancel their participation after parting ways with their drummer earlier this month. Bummer though that was, local Celtic-punk superheroes the Dead Rabbits got the last-minute call to help warm up the early birds -- a task for which they proved spectacularly suited.

If you've got plans to catch the Rabbits at Griff's on St. Paddy's Day, expect to hear a lot of fine plucking from the band's string section, which includes banjo, mandolin and acoustic guitar. All that wraps around their thumping electric core of guitar, bass and drums quite nicely to produce a huge, boisterous pub-punk sound that practically lifts the booze to your lips for you.

That sound filled up the House of Blues with ease on Wednesday, but the Dead Rabbits proved they didn't need all those instruments to win over a crowd when they showed off some nice vocal harmonies on the a cappella pirate shanty, "Roll the Wood Pile Down." Judging by the number of punks clapping along, the band appeared to make some new fans.

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Polar Bear Club
Up next was the Polar Bear Club from Rochester, New York. All eyes (and ears) immediately turned to singer Jimmy Stadt, whose dynamic pipes cut straight through the group's big, bouncy riffs. Reminiscent at times of a white 'n' nerdy Cedric Bixler, Stadt's energy onstage proved infectious, and the audience listened with interest.

Stadt profusely thanked the crowd for every clap and cheer. A number of PBC's slightly poppy, post-hardcore tunes sounded like they could've made for some great mass sing-alongs, had anyone known the words. Maybe next time.



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5 comments
fftk1
fftk1

Nice write-up. Fuck Armageddon... is from How Could Hell Be Any Worse, though, not Suffer.

idylwino
idylwino

Also, it must be said that I was super happy they played the "slow" version of Generator.   I have been forever in love with that version ever since I got the Tested live album.

tumbleweedlights
tumbleweedlights

the drummer's name was Steve Port. He is a huge Bad Religion fan who stepped up to fill some pretty big shoes, and did it almost flawlessly.

It was a true dream come true night for him- he said he was nervous before the set, and elated afterwards.

as technicians, we get to work with our favorite bands all the time, but watching a drummer step in and totally kick some ass with his favorite band was a pleasure.


and THAT was the story of the show last night. The "reviewer" missed it.

idylwino
idylwino

The fill-in drummer for Bad Religion was the drummer from the Polar Bear Club.  Graffin had a comment about the dude coming in that afternoon to learn the tunes.   It was a great show.   Graffin and company make it look easy.

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