Bad Religion played 2 MHOW shows w/ Plague Vendor (pics, review, setlist of ’21st century’ night), 2 more NYC shows to go
photos by Mathieu Bredeau, words by Andrew Sacher
Bad Religion @ Music Hall of Williamsburg – 6/10/15
Bad Religion are currently in the midst of a sold-out four-night run in NYC, which had them playing all 20th century material on Tuesday (6/9) at Music Hall of Williamsburg and all 21st century at MHOW last night (6/10). They’ll do the same concept tonight and Friday at Bowery Ballroom. I went last night, and before you say “who would go the 21st century night?” here’s why: 1) It was the only night I could go, and I wasn’t going to miss Bad Religion play a place like Music Hall of Williamsburg when their last few times in NYC were at Terminal 5. And 2) I know their 1981-1990 period is their most classic (well, maybe except for Into the Unknown), but Bad Religion are one of those bands who are really good at doing what they do on every album, and their albums since Brett Gurewitz rejoined as a songwriter in 2001 really are often as spirited as their early stuff.
That said, unlike the rare appearances Brett made with the band at Coachella and their Coachella sideshow earlier this year, he wasn’t with them for these shows. (Despite continuing as a studio member, Brett mostly stopped playing live again in 2007.) His presence would’ve been a nice bonus, but even without him the band was killer.
is he giving him a noogie?
We got 29 songs in about an hour and a half, and the energy level was exactly what you’d want out of a punk show, which is pretty amazing considering how long these guys have been doing it. The under-two-minute, double-time songs were as sharp as they are on record, and the thing that always separated Bad Religion from their peers — those three-part harmonies — were flawless the entire set. We got quite the selection of songs too: “Kyoto Now!,” “Supersonic,” “Los Angeles Is Burning,” “Fuck You,” “Sinister Rouge,” “Heroes & Martyrs,” “Sorrow,” and plenty of the other favorites from the past 15 years. And the band seemed genuinely happy to be playing these songs. Bassist Jay Bentley couldn’t stop smiling the whole set, and Greg Graffin kept making remarks throughout the night about how the previous night’s crowd was probably jealous that we got to hear “Sorrow” or about how the 21st century is “really when Bad Religion became rock stars.” (Though I assume he had just as many positive things to say about the 20th century on Tuesday.) Greg also mentioned that these shows were their first in Brooklyn in 35 years.
Opening the show (and this whole leg of the tour) was a much younger California punk band, Plague Vendor, who are on Brett’s label, Epitaph Records. Their 2014 debut album is mostly raw garage punk, so I was surprised at how theatrical they came off live, with a singer who’s more Davey Havok than John Dwyer. They were tight though, and definitely knew how to get the crowd going.
Like we said above, tonight and Friday’s NYC shows at Bowery Ballroom are sold out, but you can still grab tickets to their NJ show happening this Sunday (6/14). More pictures and the setlist from last night, below…
BAD RELIGION @ MHOW – 6/10/15 SETLIST (via)
Can’t Stop It
Los Angeles Is Burning
Heroes & Martyrs
Dharma and the Bomb
New Dark Ages
Wrong Way Kids
Let Them Eat War
Before You Die
Robin Hood in Reverse
Beyond Electric Dreams
Dept. of False Hope
Past Is Dead
Fields of Mars