Friday, June 21, 2024

Rise Against (Acoustic) @ Pryzm, Kingston

If you’ve seen Rise Against live, you’ll know how energetic and electric the atmosphere can be. With over 20 years of performance and an enviable back catalogue to draw on, their powerful and political punk has been enjoyed live by hundreds of thousands of fans around the world. November 2021, the music of Rise Against made a welcome return to UK stages since Download Festival 2018 – but with a difference. In the last of just three intimate UK gigs, Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath and Zach Blair treated fans of the bands to a stripped-back evening of some of the band’s biggest hits, reimagined in an acoustic session.

Opening with ‘Prayer of the Refugee’, it quickly became clear that even without the layers of backing, McIlrath’s voice truly set the band apart, with levels of nuance and tone that have been perfectly honed over the band’s long history. Between songs, Tim and Zach chatted away, interacting with both each other and the audience with a relaxed ease that felt more like hanging out in their living room than a sold-out venue. 

While the crowd further back were happy to stand and bask in the moment, the core contingent at the front proved that ‘acoustic’ doesn’t have to mean ‘quiet’. During ‘Saviour’, Kingston saw a rare acoustic moshpit break out – and yes, there were even crowd surfers (and yes. I may have been one of them…). 

While the evening gave the band a chance to change up some of their electric-laden tracks, it also provided the perfect setting to showcase some of Rise Against’s more stripped back songs. The poignantly political ‘Hero of War’ and delicately moving ‘People Live Here’ were made for this kind of show, with near-note-perfect and emotionally charged vocal delivery. Meanwhile, ‘Like The Angel’ became a beautiful lament, and recent tracks from latest release ‘Nowhere Generation’ were given a warm welcome by their new audience.

Acoustic shows wouldn’t be the same without a cover or two, and a cover of Danzig’s ‘Mother’ paid acoustic homage to their punk-rooted inspirations. The Kingston crowd were also treated to a rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Fortunate Son’ to begin the encore. 

Closing the set with the surging singalong, ‘Swing Life Away’, the evening showed that losing the noise doesn’t have to take away the passion and energy from such a beloved punk act; an ode to their versatility and ongoing appeal to audiences. Whetting our appetites for a full-band return to British shores for next year’s Download Festival, Rise Against have proved their ability for crafting punchy punk songs and delivering a captivating performance hasn’t gone anywhere.

17 November 2021

Milly Youngman
Milly Youngman
'Grown up' emo kid and pop punk lover (with plenty of everything else in the mix too). Life and style blogger at and former arts writer and editor.

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