We Know It’s Only Rock N’ Roll But We Like It

rise_against.jpgBY DAVE ALLEN A two-night stand is a rare thing, and a preview yesterday of this mini-Warped Tour lineup, with left-wing ragers Rise Against headlining, wouldn’t have done any good — Night One was sold out. So here’s the top five reasons to check out Night Two tonight at the E-Factory.

1) Any moment iron-throated Rise Against singer Tim McIlrath roams the stage without a guitar. It’s been said that mics are for singing, not for swinging, but McIlrath makes a strong case for their non-vocal use. With him stationed behind the mike stand with a guitar, they’re just another band, but with McIlrath leaping, twirling and delivering rants at top speed, they’re a much more powerful entity.

2) The earnestness and energy of Asbury Park, N.J.’s the Gaslight Anthem, who cop some of their grit and iron-clad strumming from another more famous resident of Asbury Park. Only a few diehards were shouting along and pumping their fists to the set-opening “Great Expectations,” but by the end, the sold-out crowd was converted.

3) The whiplash-inducing transition from those nice Jersey boys to California hardcore vets Thrice, who reproduced some of their most rhythmically-complex thrash tunes with lockstep precision. All four players had complete mastery of their instruments – Ed Breckenridge cranking out knife-like basslines, his brother Riley bashing polyrhythms with surprising ease, Dustin Kensrue and Teppei Taranishi delivering Gatling gun riffs.

4) Two parts beer-fueled bar band, one part doomy goth-rockers: the venerable Alkaline Trio. Their formula hasn’t changed much over time – hard, fast, and sludgy – but singer/guitarist Matt Skiba is always dapper – last night, he sported a leprechaun-green vest with boots to match – with a crazed glint in his eyes.

5) Cleverly-veiled leftist politics, with Rise Against’s McIlrath telling the crowd that they all know why they’re here and that they’re all part of something so much better, then inviting them to shout “Why?” with fists pumping in unison. Plus, the backdrop of gas-masked drones in business suits, unveiled before the chugging anthem “Re-education (Through Labor).” If you’re more angry than tired with the status quo, Rise Against’s set is a good place to vent. But go armed with lyrics, or risk getting left out of the impressive shout-alongs.

Rise Against, with the Gaslight Anthem, Thrice, and Alkaline Trio. 8:30 PM, Electric Factory. Tickets still available.

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