After a small warmup show in Cleveland, Rise Against began their tour with the Descendents at NYC's Rooftop at Pier 17 on Friday (7/30). It was not only the first night of the tour, it was also the outdoor venue's first show back since the pandemic, and it couldn't have happened on a more gorgeous evening.

Rise Against and Descendents are, of course, a perfect pairing; not only did Descendents' groundbreaking, melodic approach to hardcore pave the way for bands like Rise Against, but Descendents drummer/songwriter Bill Stevenson has co-produced several Rise Against albums (including their newest one), and he's been called the band's "fifth member." Making the show a killer triple bill was LA's Spanish Love Songs, a much newer band whose catchy, anthemic punk fit right in. They kept their set entirely to songs off Brave Faces Everyone, which came out on Pure Noise in February 2020 just before the world went into lockdown. (They were on tour with The Wonder Years when live music got cancelled.) They sounded great -- super tight, and Dylan Slocum's shaky voice soars as much live as it does on record. Spanish Love Songs were on board for the first three dates of the tour, and after that, the shows will be opened by The Menzingers.

Descendents took the stage next, and as always, they ripped. They're true lifers who never slow down, and they tore through 25 songs in about half an hour without ever missing a beat. They played tons of classics ("Hope," "Suburban Home," "Bikeage," "Everything Sux," "I'm the One," "Clean Sheets," "Coolidge," "I Like Food," etc), and they also treated the crowd to a few songs off 9th & Walnut, their album of songs that the band's original lineup wrote between 1977 and 1980, finally recorded in 2002, and released last week after Milo Aukerman added his vocals to the songs during lockdown. The new-old songs fit right in with the non-stop adrenaline rush of fan favorites. Even 40+ years into their career, Descendents remain one of the best punk bands you can see.

Descendents are no easy act to follow, but just as the sun went down, Rise Against took the stage, and they immediately took command over the crowd, which was clearly full of diehard fans. They opened with "The Numbers," a powerful call to arms off their new album Nowhere Generation, and right off the bat, they had the crowd cheering and singing as loudly as they would when the band broke out their classic hits like "Give It All," "Ready To Fall," and "Savior" later on. Rise Against may not be as omnipresent in the mainstream as they were in the 2000s when punk's popularity was peaking, but they haven't lost their bite, and their fanbase has stuck with them. A lot of songs in the set came from more recent albums, and there wasn't a single moment that the band wasn't firing on all cylinders and the crowd wasn't reciprocating. Like the Descendents before them, Rise Against are proving to be lifers.

Multiple times throughout the night, Tim McIlrath expressed how much the band missed playing in front of an audience, and how grateful they were to be back, and you could really tell the band was feeding off the crowd's energy. The show was a reminder that live music accomplishes something livestreams can't. The band needed the crowd just as much as the crowd needed the band. Even on a big stage on a big rooftop in NYC's financial district, it had the intimacy of a small punk show where the band and the audience both have crucial roles. From the timely messages of their new album to the power of their current live show, Rise Against made it clear that they're still the humble, inspired punk band they were 20 years ago. They might make longevity look easy, but they don't seem like they take any of it for granted.

Pictures, videos, and setlists from Pier 17 below. Nowhere Generation is available now on limited picture disc and flame colored vinyl in our shop.

photos by Nick Karp

Spanish Love Songs Setlist (via)
Routine Pain
Self-Destruction (As a Sensible Career Choice)
Generation Loss
Losers, Pt. 2
Brave Faces, Everyone

Descendents Setlist (via)
Sailor's Choice
I Wanna Be a Bear
Rotting Out
I Don't Want to Grow Up
Clean Sheets
Coffee Mug
Victim of Me
On Paper
My Dad Sucks
Nothing With You
Like the Way I Know
Without Love
Everything Sux
Global Probing
Suburban Home
I Like Food
I'm the One
Thank You

Rise Against Setlist (via)
The Numbers
Re-Education (Through Labor)
The Violence
Broken Dreams, Inc.
Audience of One
Ready to Fall
Nowhere Generation
I Don't Want to Be Here Anymore
Help Is on the Way
Under the Knife
Talking to Ourselves
Give It All
Swing Life Away
Make It Stop (September's Children)
Prayer of the Refugee


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