Rise Against are a band made to be experienced live

In 2017, I was very pleased to interview Rise Against about their eight album Wolves, and the announcement that they would return to Australia for this tour.

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Image source: 
bandAnna Photography

In that interview, Joe Principe remarked that the band’s primary goal in the current political climate is creating a space in which injustice, cannot exist. During that interview, of the many kinds of injustice that the band wishes to snuff, he noted violence, misogyny, and homophobia. 

With that in mind, my primary query heading into the much-debated Margaret Court Arena for the show, was whether or not the band would acknowledge the controversy surrounding the venue, and the significance to the LGBTQI+ community.


Before they launched into a brilliant encore and final track in ‘Savior’, frontman Tim McIlrath made a call out to the crowd to make change for the better before the band returns, finally proclaiming “What’s it going to take to fucking rename this arena?” to a thundering applause.


That and opening track ‘Chamber in the Cartridge’ bookended a typically political show, without ever treading close to cringe. Rise Against were extremely entertaining, with the band’s just shy of 20 years together evident in their precision and ability to captivate the crowd.


The show was divided into three clear acts, each separated by darkness and silence. Opening act played like a greatest hits, with ‘Give It All’, ‘The Violence’, ‘Dancing for Rain’, and ‘Prayer of the Refugee’ punctuating a tight, procession.

Act two saw McIlrath make his way to a b-stage at the back of the floor for an acoustic interlude, much to the sing-song delight of every crowd member. It seemed almost everyone in attendance sang each and every word of ‘People Live Here’, ‘Hero of War’, and ‘Swing Life Away’.


Finally, for the third and final act, they returned to the expert blend of loud and proud activist punk – the line between band and audience blurred in a brilliant display of musicianship.


30 hours since I filed into the halls of Margaret Court Arena, and my companion to the concert was still remarking at how exceptionally entertaining Rise Against were.


Highlight: The acoustic setlist was just gorgeous, and I shan't soon forget the feeling of singing some of my favourite tunes with a stack of other Rise Against lovers.

Lowlight: The arena had way too many empty seats for such a brilliant show, it was a shame.

Crowd Favourite: The old faithfuls.