With the turn of the autumn equinox comes apple picking, ever-shifting shades of foliage, seasonal draft beers and, for the Capital Region’s concertgoing demographic, the roughly-annual return of Rise Against.
The Chicago-based punk outfit have been steadily touring since their initial formation back in 1999, and managed to draw a dense crowd of mixed ages to Northern Lights with special guests the Black Pacific.
The Black Pacific presented a set that was difficult to gauge and predict, although it was strongly rooted in the pop-punk genre. The band jumped around in timbres and tempos, playing a varied set of originals and covers. Former Pennywise frontman Jim Lindberg led his band (also including former Dropkick Murphys guitarist Marc Orrell) in a smorgasbord of distinct covers, ranging from LCD Soundsystem to Jawbreaker to the Ramones. At times it seemed as though the covers were better received than their originals, save for their set closer of politically fueled rock ballad “Put Down Your Weapons,” which is reminiscent of Lindberg’s past perspective and direction in Pennywise.
Once Rise Against came out to play, any inhibitions vanished and the crowd reacted with youthful energy, as temperature and condensation levels rose. Perhaps adding to the energy of the night was the public knowledge that the band was filming the audience for live concert footage. As Rise Against powered through their too-quick set, the front to middle areas of the crowd exploded in mild waves of carefree moshing, with the occasional crowd surfer disrupting the flow.
The band reflected on the last time they played Northern Lights, expressed how at-home they feel and that a place such as this venue is exactly where their songs belong. Asking the audience to sing the lyrics to songs such as to 2008’s gem “Collapse” at the top of their lungs resulted in the audience doing just that—and shouting for more older songs, a request that was honored with several tracks off of Appeal to Reason. The night would have been incomplete without fan favorites “Ready to Fall,” “Audience of One” and “Hero of War,” all songs showcasing that their music has a message behind it, a message that is meant to be belted. As they capped the night off with “Savior” around 11 PM, it became clear that the audience was left thirsty for more from the seasoned musicians.