"Every chorus calls for raised fists, and each track receives the respect it deserves."
A frenzied scream rings out from over the hill. It’s clean, strong, unrelenting. When the centre of the pit is found it gets more intense, and we have to check our heads as Outright go buck wild on the big stage. Jelena Goluza is an absolute brute – crushing it on the microphone and stalking the surrounds with fire in her eyes. Members of the headline act are watching from the wings and they seem suitably impressed too, and rightly so.
More riotous Melbourne punk is on the menu with Clowns also making the trip north to dominate. Vocalist Stevie Williams is his usual unpredictable self, but with few structures to scale he’s left to simply writhe around at ground level, while recent add Jarrod Goon does his best Cousin Itt impersonation with guitar in hand. A bit of intensity is lost away from the intimacy of a club, but the band still confirm they’re one of the best young heavy acts currently doing the rounds.
We’re already chanting Rise Against as the Chicago four arrive to a hero’s reception, and it’s anthems from the outset with The Great Die-Off, Satellite and Give It All getting an early airing. After briefly feeding our hunger back in February with some short support sets on Foo Fighters’ stadium tour, it’s amazing to get the full experience – a vibe the band are clearly feeling as well. Every chorus calls for raised fists, and each track receives the respect it deserves. Tim McIlrath is a freight train – regularly tangling with the crowd with a big smile and wide eyes – and while Zach Blair and Joe Principe cut various angles as they rip through their riffs, it’s the frontman who demands your attention.
The one-two Sucker punch of Chamber The Cartridge and Prayer Of The Refugee is bang-on, while Help Is On The Way and Ready To Fall are both frantic and dripping with emotion. The inevitable acoustic section is expectedly powerful. Hero Of War is arguably the biggest singalong in an evening made larger by full voices, while Swing Life Away still holds every shred of sentiment it did a decade ago. The band briefly leave us to linger beneath the red and yellow glow of the supersized RISE lettering before we get a surprise airing of Dancing For Rain. The night then concludes with a kicking version of Savior, and a few more “whoa-ohs” for good measure. Tonight, Tim urged us to turn the hands of history. After 90 minutes spent with Rise Against, we actually feel like we can. And given the current climate of global unrest hanging over our heads, that’s incredibly fucking powerful stuff.
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