I was literally thinking about opening up a P.O. Box at the Tower Theater at this point. It was my third show doing photography there in a week – I was really going to ask the security guys to set up a cot for me in one of the dressings rooms. It was quickly become one of my favorite venues not only to do photography, but to view shows in general in Philadelphia. Rise Against was coming to town and that’s always a good thing. Fans came decked out in their Black Market t-shirts – the same that matched the band’s backdrop for the show. What can I say – Rise Against is a band that stands for many things. In my desire for a Rage Against The Machine reunion (spotting a unicorn is more likely at this point), it’s refreshing to see a band that steps out to couple great music with a great message – especially during a 13-year timespan.
I had gotten to the venue to see Touché Amoré , a post-harcore band from California. I don’t think the show was quite right soundwise yet as there was a lot of muffed feedback, but their set was rather intense. The EQ on the vocals could have been slightly louder to match the guitars. It set the tone for that night because the fans in the crowd were more passionate and unhinged than I’ve seen with the previous shows I have gone to during the week. There was a lot of crowd interaction and a bunch of crowd surfing over the barrier during the harder songs. I wasn’t particularly familiar with Touché Amoré before the show, but a good show begets curiosity. I’m currently checking out more of their discography (Is Survived By is not a bad record so far).
Fans got to catch their breath just in time for a headliner set from Rise Against. Right from the start, they went heavy into hits like “Ready to Fall”, “Give It All”, and “Re-Education (Through Labor)”. There wasn’t a person in the entire theater sitting down. Guitarist Zach Blair tried to defy gravity at points jumping in excitement throughout the set. During “Give It All”, lead singer/guitarist Tim Mcllrath jumped into the crowd a few feet from me and belted out the chorus with fans. I love that type of interaction. During “I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore” there was a fan who was literally screaming his lungs out during the chorus. Picture a cartoon when you saw someone getting angry and the outline of their veins- it’s a crazy picture right?
That’s what a great show does. It inclines you to not sit still, and lose yourself for a few hours in a blast beat or guitar riff. Hell, sing your lungs out. During the last two songs “Swing Life Away” and “Savior”, the crowd drowned out Mcllrath at points. I had seen Rise Against in a supporting role for other bands, but this was the first time I had done so as a headliner. It made me wonder – what the hell was I doing all those other times? This tour is the antithesis of how I felt about The Black Market album. Both are consistent, familiar and continues the longevity of a band and it’s fan base.