[Overseas Features] Part 1: The Homecoming // Rise Against – Live at Aragon Ballroom Chicago

<海外報導特集> 第一章:
Rise Against 的凱旋而歸 — Live at Aragon Ballroom Chicago


There’re two kinds of shows I always have extra anticipation for — 1. Nostalgic comeback of a broken up band, 2. Glorious homecoming of neighborhood faces, On this warm September night, Chicago homeboys Rise Against are coming back with their heavy-hearted protest songs.

有兩種節目我總是抱有額外期待的:一是已解散樂團破鏡重圓的復出、二是熟悉面孔光榮而歸的壓軸表演。在這個溫暖的九月晚上,芝加哥 hardcore punk 樂團 Rise Against 帶著他們的沉重抗議歌曲回來了。 

Photo Recap 現場相片 – Rise Against – Live at Aragon Ballroom Chicago

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We decided to pick this highly-anticipated, sold-out concert as the first part of our Annual Overseas Features for a special reason. Long story short, Rise Against is the first band we reviewed in 2004 in UK. Watch them emerging from the indie scene in the Chicago neighborhood during 2000s to scoring a Billboard No.3 album 15 years later has proven what we wrote was fairly right “tomorrow’s Bad Religion with a mainstream fusion”. Also, by making our way back to Hong Kong, our hometown, to set up an independent magazine, we find the commonality of both underground musicians and media for devoting sleepless nights and countless efforts to make the most with limited resources. Therefore, we find this homecoming concert the perfect start of our annual special Features.

我們選擇這個備受矚目、全場售罄的音樂會作為我們的年度<海外報導特集> 的首個節目是有特別原因的。話說2004年我們首篇在英國媒體刊登的評論文章就是關於 Rise Against 的。看著他們由00年左右的芝加哥地下獨立樂團進化為今時今日在美國 Billboard 大碟榜取得第3位的成績證明當時我們所寫的已經成真:「⋯⋯有潛質成為明日主流版的 Bad Religion!」同時,多年後的今天,我們以獨立媒體形式回到香港,那種以時間和投入以換取滿足感的運作方式與地下樂團的宗旨十分相似。因此,以這個衣錦還鄉的演唱會作為這次 <海外報導特集> 作開始是最適合不過的。 


Now in 2014, Rise Against is no longer the small band in town. But do they still show the same kind of struggle-for-life aggression? As an official pre-Riot Fest event,  the whole Midwest punk rock community are looking up to the band to open the curtain for arguably the shiniest punk rock festival in the area.

時至今日,Rise Against 不再是他日的小樂隊。但他們仍否能展示同樣為生活而的鬥爭的怒氣呢? 作為芝加哥 Riot Fest 的官方預演活動,整個中西部的朋克圈子都期待著 Rise Against 為這個音樂節揭開序幕。 


Kicking off with Ready To Fall, Give It All and Re-education (Through Labor), three songs that Rise Against pave their road towards mainstream success at different career stages, the band push the atmosphere straight to the top with no gimmicks. Singalong is so loud and proud from all the long-time followers. Compared to last time when we caught them at House of Blues in New Jersey few years back then, you won’t be surprised why they can rise above from the underground within a relatively short time. The catchier melody shift, fiercer confidence in live and stronger political messages let them easily become the voice of freedom of the new generation.

樂團以 Ready To Fall Give It All Re-education (Through Labor) 三首在不同時期為他們打開主流之路的歌曲作起首,立即把現場氣氛推至高峰,完全沒有多餘的噱頭。長期追隨者的和唱非常響亮,一字一句充滿著自豪感覺。比起幾年前我們在新澤西州 House of Blues Rise Against 的現場報導時,你不會感到驚訝為何他們可以在相對短的時間內由地下走向主流成功。旋律加入更多流行元素、現場演出更發揮自如以及歌曲中更強大的政治信息讓他們很容易成為新一代追求自由的聲音。 


On the 2-meter high stage, frontman Tim McIlrath stands up like a leader screaming the truth about the society to his believers. The mic becomes the megaphone for proclamation while music becomes announcement of social alert. Unlike other stops of their current promotional tour for The Black Market, where Tim enjoys coming down from stage and bouncing around, here at Aragon Ballroom he is restricted by the unusually high stage that keeps him and the band from interacting with the crowd.

Tim’s vocal development, or intended style shift, from the husky shout to the polished scream with a stadium rock expression, both in their studio recording and live performance, can be noticed quite clearly.

2米高的舞台上,主唱 Tim Mcllrath 站起來像一個領導者向他的音樂信徒叫喊著社會的真理。麥克風變成了擴音器,音樂則成為喚醒你對社會警戒的工具。 與他們目前為新專輯 The Black Market 的宣傳巡演不同,Tim 並沒有在芝加哥這站從走下舞台,也沒有作很活躍的走動,可見這個異常高的舞台限制著他和樂隊與觀眾互動的可能性。 

Tim 舊有的沙啞聲線變成細膩的叫喊,無論是因聲樂訓練或是風格轉變,在他們的錄音室錄音和現場中均呈現明顯的 stadium rock 影子。


Guitarist Zach Blair’s signature athletic jump is always the stunning moments to catch. In contrast, bassist Joe Principe and drummer Brandon Barnes prefer 100% focussing on their instruments and quietly laying down the backbone for the hardcore songs.

This homecoming show is filled with all the Rise Against hit songs in the last 15 years. The 2-hour long flashback is set to remind you what the band is about; it includes some unexpected old tunes like Reception Fades off their debut The Unravelling and 2003’s indie hit Like The Angel (from album Revolution Per Minute), plus to their latter anthems Prayer of the Refugee, Audience of One and Satellite. Vigorous mosh pit, insanely-wild crowd surf and thunder-like sing along from the crowd drive the band to perform harder and stronger.

結他手 Zach Blair 抱著結他的標誌式跳躍總是令人驚嘆。相比之下,低音結他手 Joe Principe 和鼓手 Brandon Barnes 選擇全神灌注在他們的樂器上,悄悄地築起歌曲的骨幹。 

Rise Against 選擇以過去15年的所有代表作在這凱旋而歸的晚上作演奏出來。 近兩小時長的表演就像是他們職業生崖的回顧,歌單中包括少有在現場出現、首張專輯 The Unravelling Reception Fades 2003年獨立樂圈中的名曲 Like The Angel (來自專輯 Revolution Per Minute) ,以對近年熱門歌曲 Prayer of the Refugee, Audience of One Satellite 等。台下瘋狂的mosh pit、一浪接一浪的 crowd surf 和雷鳴般的和唱使 Rise Against 在台上更盡力演出。


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The emotional acoustic session of Hero of War, People Live Here and Swing Life Away get the tiny little bumps over your skins. Some find the calmness moment the perfect time to instagram-ize their concert photos, while some react extremely sentimental. As the traumatic lyrics come off, a lady next to me has her hands covering her face with tears slowly dripping through her fingers. I gave her a hug later saw she screaming every single words of Survive and Savior during the following encore set, the sadness gently pass by.

Rise Against 第一部分的演出以木結他伴奏清唱出 Hero of WarPeople Live Here Swing Life Away 作結,令人有雞皮疙瘩之感。雖然有些人利用這個平靜的時間立即把演唱會照片上載到社交媒體,也有些觀眾顯得非常傷感。當 Tim 唱出描述戰爭痛苦的歌詞時,小編身旁一位女觀眾以雙手掩面,淚水慢慢地從指間滴下,那時我只好輕輕搭著她的肩膀。隨著 encore 時她把所有情緒都放在歌曲一字一句的叫喊中,悲傷亦輕輕溜走了。


Rise Against successfully prove their uprising punk rock superstar status with a high-flying political flag. This band can always offer a bit more than others; that little more of emotion, social message, invincible energy, hardcore spirit, etc. Though it is a memorable concert with every elements expected, that at-your-face, true aggression Rise Against once famous seem to be gone with the growing crowd. Sometimes, intimate interaction with the crowd is what you need in a hardcore show.

Rise Against 以飛揚的政治旗幟成功證明自己的punk rock 巨星地位。他們總能比其他樂手展示多一點點,無論是情感、社會信息、現場感染力、hardcore 精神等。雖然這是一個頗難忘的演唱會,但 Rise Against 那直接了當的霸氣卻因壯大了的觀眾群而消失了。有時候, hardcore 表演所需的就是與觀眾的近距離互動。

Photo Recap 現場相片 – Rise Against – Live at Aragon Ballroom Chicago


1. Ready to Fall
2. Give It All
3. Re-Education (Through Labor)
4. Behind Closed Doors
5. Long Forgotten Sons
6. The Good Left Undone
7. Like the Angel
8. I Don’t Want to Be Here Anymore
9. Help Is on the Way
10. Chamber the Cartridge
11. Last Chance Blueprint
12. Prayer of the Refugee
13. Reception Fades
14. Audience of One
15. Satellite

16. Hero of War
17. People Live Here
18. Swing Life Away

19. Survive
20. Savior