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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Four Bands…One Amazing Show

I arrived at the Worcester Palladium just before 7:00p.m. Fact: The Worcester Palladium has a fire-department mandated capacity of 2,160 screaming fans. Observation: It must have been pretty damned close to capacity on October sixth, as there seemed to be no place to stuff another rabid audiophile.

The crowd was energized, enthusiastic, and ready for some auditory love. The excitement was contagious, and the big three (Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, Thrice) came in with many reports (my own among them) of giving great live shows. The bar was set pretty high from the outset. Would Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, Thrice, and the relatively unknown Gaslight Anthem be able to meet my expectations?

Yep.

I had not heard of the Gaslight Anthem prior to reading about this tour; they were a pleasant surprise. The jangly guitars, straightforward drums, and strong vocals all combined into a retro aesthetic that did not feel at all gimmicky. They were a perfect opening salvo: quick, unexpectedly intriguing, and timely in getting off the stage.

Up next, Thrice was the picture of restraint. Drawing primarily on their Alchemy Index: Volumes I – IV, most of the set built slowly, with short bouts of intensity. The decision to go with deliberation and tension over speed was a strong one, though a couple of harder oldies made it into the set. The crowd responded well to this ramp-up-and-release dynamic, swaying, singing, and yelling along where appropriate.

The Alkaline Trio started promptly at 8:50p.m., opening strongly with fan favorite “Private Eye,” following it up with “Calling All Skeletons” from their latest album, Agony and Irony. Their sound was rich, full, and loud. Lead vocalist and guitarist Matt Skiba’s howling played off the drums of Dan Adriano even more impressively than on recordings. The set was built around new stuff from Agony and Irony, though oldies (“I Lied My Face Off” and “Goodbye Forever”) were also performed. Another nod was thrown to older fans when Skiba screamed, “This song is for anyone who owns a record called Goddamnit” before playing “Cringe.”

Finally, at 10p.m., Rise Against took the stage: their set took off like a Roman candle, and the crowd loved it. From twenty seconds deep into the first song, the entire front 2/3 of the crowd was jumping and fist pumping. Lead singer Tim McIlrath was jumping around while masterfully going back and forth between singing and yelling, not dropping any of the lyrics. He enjoyed the crowd’s enthusiasm, remarking “I’m proud to be in front of this many people who still give a shit, who still care about the music.” The crowd continued to flip out during the many anthems in Rise Against’s set, particularly “Don’t Hold Me Up,” “Rooftops,” and “Life Less Frightening.” In addition to the frenetic energy and well-maintained vocals, Rise Against executed some guitar solo work and drum fills that were great. Rise Against left the stage and came back for a five-song encore, two of which were acoustic; it was a fitting cap to an energetic, well-executed set.

The atmosphere had that perfect concert quality, the fans displaying not only an excitement but also an eagerness to be involved. This was not one of those shows where fan favoritism meant that many people left after “their band” had performed. By my rough count, zero people left in between sets. By 11:05p.m., after an evening of rockin’ out, the show was over. If you weren’t there, you absolutely missed out.